During the year of its release, Blade Runner was advertised as, "the first real time 3D Adventure game", because it used real-time 3D models for all of its characters. Westwood had decided to develop their own technology, dubbed "Voxel Plus", to bypass the need for an actual 3D accelerator card.
Throughout the game, the player directs Ray McCoy in his detective work. The main focus of the gameplay is not solving puzzles but rather searching for evidence and tracking down suspects. Various clues can be discovered everywhere and range from photographs to stray items and out of place markings. The evidence is collected and stored into McCoy's Knowledge Integration Assistant, (KIA for short, much like an in-game PDA) which allows for easy access to everything you've collected so far.
Like Rick Deckard in the movie itself, Ray can run a Voight-Kampff test on suspects. The player gets to choose what strength questions are asked (low, medium or high intensity) and when it's determined whether the suspect is human or not, the test automatically stops. During an investigation, the ESPER system (also from the movie) can be used to enhance photos and reveal further details.
A notable feature of the game is that it runs entirely in non-linear "real time", which means that while McCoy is investigating, the other characters are carrying out their own agendas. It is up to the player to decide what McCoy pursues and how he goes about each situation, thus leading into the game's thirteen endings.
Westwood went to great lengths in recreating the feel of the film. They were unable to secure the use of Vangelis' original soundtrack, so Frank Klepacki was brought in to re-record the soundtrack along with creating similar original tracks. Several original cast members from the film returned to voice their characters. These 'cameo' appearances include Sean Young as Rachel, Brion James as Leon, James Hong as Chew, Joe Turkel as Eldon Tyrell, and William Sanderson as J.F. Sebastian.
Ray McCoy - The game's central protagonist. He is a young, rookie Blade Runner who has yet to be truly tested by his job. Lives in a apartment with his dog, Maggie, who is real as opposed to synthetic.
Crystal Steele - A capable and experienced officer in the LAPD Blade Runner unit. She is extremely anti-replicant and refers to them as 'skin-job's. Her attitude toward Ray is a playful and condescending one, usually noting his lack of experience and calling him 'Slim'. Her fate is ultimately determined by the character and his actions.
Gaff - A character from the film, Gaff is a competent and seasoned veteran of the force. He usually appears to offer help and advice to Ray, warning him that his youth makes him unpredictable.
Lieutenant Guzza - Ray's overweight superior who is in command of the Blade Runner Unit, due to Bryant's sick leave.
Clovis - In a role similar to Roy Batty, Clovis is the leader of the renegade replicants. A two-faced character who at times appears to be just and peaceful, while in other moments seeming malicious and ruthless.
Lucy - A young girl who works at a pet store that is attacked by the rogue replicant's. She suspects herself to be a replicant as well and is a key witness in Ray's investigation.
Dektora - A dancer at Early Q's club, she is suspected of being involved in some way with the replicant's. Depending on the player actions, she can serve as a potential love interest for McCoy in one of the game's endings.
The primary investigation begins outside of "Runciter's" animal shop, where Ray McCoy is asked to investigate animal theft and murder. The initial characters the player can talk to are a police officer first to the scene, some witnesses held behind police barriers and the owner of the shop: Glen Runciter. After collecting evidence, the player has a choice as to the next destination they go to: Chinatown, the Police Station, or McCoy's Apartment.