Jade Empire "could make a comeback"

Its "awesome" fans want a sequel - BioWare.

When will BioWare return to the ancient China-inspired world of Jade Empire?

The Xbox original was released in 2004, and since then we've had two Mass Effect games (with a third on the way), two Dragon Age games and we're soon to have a new Knights of the Old Republic game - MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic. There have even been sequels KOTORII and Neverwinter Nights 2 courtesy of Obsidian Entertainment.

Wasn't it BioWare which said last March that it thinks of all games as franchises? And much earlier, in 2004, BioWare co-founder Ray Muzyka specifically referred to Jade Empire as "a franchise".

"Ha ha ha - we get asked that a lot," laughed BioWare's Mike Laidlaw, writer of Jade Empire, when asked about the prospect of a new game. "In fact I get asked that a lot because of my role on Jade."

"The thing with Jade Empire is ultimately it's one of our intellectual properties, it's there, and one that we're intensely proud of. It did such a neat job of building this fantastical world.

"Currently obviously nothing is announced. It's one of those things that long-term, Jade [Empire] could make a comeback."

"It may," he added, "but we'll see how time goes."

Laidlaw said there is a "really strong central core" of fans that would "absolutely love" another Jade Empire game to be made. "I just take that as a compliment," he said. "I think it's awesome."

He went on: "It's something we look at every once in a while and consider - it's just a matter of where the business is, and the team - making sure everyone is passionate about it before anything happens. It's a number of situational things."

Jade Empire broke BioWare's mould of pseudo turn-based combat, preferring instead a button-bashing action system similar in many regards to Dragon Age II. The story followed an apprentice fighter on a journey to overthrow a tyrannical ruler and packed gorgeous environments, mystical abilities and some meaty plot twists along the way.

Eurogamer scored Jade Empire 8/10. "It's a truly beautiful game, which presents a lovingly crafted and genuinely fascinating world, a host of fantastic characters and a great sense of freedom in terms of your actions in what is mostly a very polished package, and I'd happily recommend it to any Xbox owner," wrote reviewer Rob Fahey.

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