Update: The free giveaway is back following an unexpected hiatus.

EA is now giving away another game to PC owners via Origin. You can now download the BioWare role-playing game Jade Empire for free for a limited time.

Jade Empire is set in a fantasy world based on myths from ancient China. The player is a martial arts student who has to rescue his master from kidnappers. Their quest quickly lands them in the middle of a war that can decide the fate of the entire empire. The story will change depending on the player's choices throughout the game.

When Jade Empire first debuted in 2005, BioWare was more known for tactical RPG's like Baldur's Gate and Knights of the Old Republic. However, Jade Empire's combat was closer to a beat 'em up. The player directly controlled their character in hand-to-hand combat. There's not much emphasis on gearing your character so success in battle was more determined by quick reflexes and picking the right fighting style for the situation.

Jade Empire had a great story and setting but it's one of BioWare's least-remembered games due to a few reasons. The game didn't have a big-name license like Star Wars or Dungeons & Dragons attached to it. Plus, it debuted on Xbox Original a few months before the Xbox 360 launched. Perhaps the Jade Empire franchise could've grown over time but BioWare spent the past few years instead developing the Dragon Age and Mass Effect series.



Aaryn Flynn, general manager for BioWare Edmonton and Montreal, said earlier this year that we could see more Jade Empire in the future, though:
Well there's always hope.Both [Dragon Age executive producer Mark Darrah] and [Dragon Age creative director Mike Laidlaw] worked on Jade Empire, so they're advocates for it in the studio (so is Matt Goldman, DAI's Art Director). I worked on it too!

Our plate is awfully full right now, but the idea to go back to the universe does come up pretty regularly. Mark and I spent a solid two hours in my office talking about it not long ago...

Still, as Flynn admits, BioWare's plate is full. I have a hard time imagining a point where they'll be done making Mass Effect or Dragon Age sequels. Plus, they've got The Old Republic to run. I think Flynn and the rest of BioWare are sincere in their enthusiasm for Jade Empire but they have so many other, higher-profile projects demanding their attention.

Anyway, if you'd like to play this slightly obscure classic, you can download it here. You'll need a free Origin account to do so along with about 8 GB of hard drive space to install it. If you don't want to play it just yet, you can just add it to your account without downloading it.

Jade Empire is the latest in a string of games given away through Origin. Past free games included Red Alert 2, Dragon Age: Origins and Dead Space.

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