Bioware is one of the great developers of video game role playing games. Titles like Dragon Age and Mass Effect have been some of the most popular in recent years. However, one title that has seemingly been forgotten about just made its return to modern devices. Jade Empire was a martial arts themed RPG that was originally released on the original Xbox back in 2005. Now it's back with a special edition for iOS and is available in both the mobile and Mac app store.
Jade Empire was released at an odd time. In April of 2005, it was coming out at the tail end of the life cycle of the original Xbox. The Xbox 360 would come out in November of the same year. For this reason, many gamers were already looking past new Xbox titles and focusing on what the next generation of gaming would bring. It was a fairly drastic departure from Bioware's previous release, the incredibly well-received Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. While Jade Empire was generally well reviewed by the critics, as well as the gamers who actually played it, it didn't seem to resonate with a lot of fans and it was never picked up as a franchise. Following the launch of the Xbox 360 and the beginning of the Mass Effect trilogy, Jade Empire was left behind.
As somebody who didn't actually own an original Xbox until after the launch of the 360, I played through a lot of the consoles' exclusives during those later years. Jade Empire is one of the games that I remember the most fondly. Real-time hand-to-hand combat in an RPG was something that you simply didn't see a lot of and it made the entire experience feel unique. After about a decade away from it, maybe it's time to dip a toe back into that world.
It will be interesting to see what sort of response porting Jade Empire gets from gamers. It's difficult to say how big the audience for this title is, but certainly, there are many who would love to play it again and would love to see a sequel see the light of day at some point. Perhaps if this new version sees enough success, such a thing might be possible.
Did you play the original Jade Empire? Will you be looking to pick up the title for iOS? Let us know what you thought of the game in the comments below.