In 2005, Bioware decided to try something unique and different with Jade Empire, a sprawling RPG taking place in a world inspired by Chinese culture and mythology. Since that release, Bioware hasn't revisited the series, choosing instead to focus on Mass Effect and Dragon Age. In an interview with GameInformer, Bioware creative Mike Laidlaw and general manager Aaron Flynn said the project is always kicking around in some form.
"Jade as a sequel is never dead," said Laidlaw.
"There are a lot of people still at the studio who worked on that game and want to get back to it," added Flynn. "I think one of the advantages to getting back to it after a long time is not only nostalgia is a very powerful feeling in people, but skipping a generation of hardware is actually really exciting because it feels like it's not an evolution. It's a revolution of what you can do, and I think that's the kind of thing that brings people. What if we were to revolutionize Jade Empire and brought it back in that regard? That's the kind of talk that still happens around the studio."
That's just talk though. It's likely that we won't be seeing Jade Empire anytime soon. Bioware is focused on keeping Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and Star Wars: The Old Republic running smoothly. There's not room for another team to start on another game, as illustrated by Bioware shutting down Shadow Realms early last year, moving those developers onto other projects.
Let's run down the games Bioware has released since aquisition by Electronic Arts in 2007. Mass Effect, Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, Mass Effect Galaxy, Dragon Age: Origins, Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age II, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Mass Effect 3, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Mass Effect: Andromeda. There's a pretty clear direction for the Bioware studios. Sonic Chronicles and Star Wars: The Old Republic are the only outliers.
There is an undisclosed game in the works at Bioware Edmonton, but that's a new IP, not a shot at another Jade Empire. That project was announced at E3 2014, but it seems that Bioware is close to talking about it more.
"We've been very open about the fact that Bioware is working on a new IP, and we'll get to talk about that in the not too distant future," EA executive vice president Patrick Söderlund told GI.biz in August.
It's one thing to keep hope alive and I'm sure there are developers in the company that want to work on a sequel, but such a game doesn't fit into what Bioware currently is. I'm willing to be surprised though. Please surprise me, Bioware.