Dragon Age browser RPG revealed, Jade Empire sequel in limbo

New EA studio making flash-based spin-off to upcoming role-player; BioWare devs express desire to revisit 2005's Asian mythology game.

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With the launch of Dragon Age: Origins less than a month away, BioWare and Electronic Arts are pioneering new ways to synergize the title. Following the announcements of a comic book miniseries, prequel novel, and day-one downloadable content, the developer and publisher announced a new browser-based Adobe Flash game based on the Dragon Age IP, Dragon Age Journeys.

The Dragon Age series is journeying to a browser near you.

The news came via a post on BioWare's official blog by Ethan Levy, a producer at EA's new internal browser game studio, EA 2D. According to Levy, the shop's mission is "to create blockbusters for the browser; some will be original games created by our teams and some will be games within other EA franchises, such as Dragon Age Journeys."

Begun last November in secret, Dragon Age Journeys is a three-chapter, single-player, tactical RPG, which can be played in any Flash-enabled Web browser. Though its graphics are two-dimensional, it will feature character classes, talent trees, sound effects, music, and a user interface directly based on those of Dragon Age: Origins. The first chapter, The Deep Roads, will focus on the dwarven stronghold of Orzammar and surrounding areas "where dwarves face a persistent threat from the Darkspawn hordes," according to Levy.

The browser games' HUD will be based on the full-sized console versions.

In less tangible BioWare news, word of a Jade Empire sequel surfaced for the first time in nearly four years. In November 2005, studio cofounder and overall EA RPG chief Ray Muzyka said flat out that "BioWare definitely plans to continue the Jade Empire franchise" before hinting it would be on the Xbox 360. "We've also said in the past that we're working on not just one, but two Xbox 360 titles. Enough said." (Since then, the company has released one 360 title, Mass Effect, with two more--Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 2--officially announced for the console.)

Unfortunately, BioWare's enthusiasm for the project appears to have cooled since Muzkya's comments. Speaking with Strategyinformer.com, Dragon Age lead designer Mike Laidlaw cast doubt on whether a follow-up was in active development.

Jade Empire fans may be waiting for a long time for a sequel.

"We will certainly announce it if it's going to be coming out," said Laidlaw. "At this point, Jade Empire is a staff favorite, and a lot of us love it, so we'd love to revisit it at some point. But right now, we are very focused on Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2."

According to its official Web site, BioWare currently has one unidentified "new next gen game" in development. However, the resume of a former designer at the studio indicated the mystery title is an all-new intellectual property, not an existing series. Currently, the original Jade Empire (released in 2005) is available for download via Xbox Live's Games on Demand program for $15 (MSP 1,200).

Discussion

108 comments
Chaos1100X
Chaos1100X

Jade Empire is enchanting, there i said it. I would love playing every second of Jade Empire 2.

stevkh5
stevkh5

@shrap393 please learn how to write. Your post is incoherent rambling. And so what if you didn't like the game, no one cares. Bioware is a big enough studio to work on multiple games so there's something for all of us. Personally, I've loved every single one of their games from the beginning, but Jade Empire is probably my favorite. What was it that you didn't like about the game specifically? It would help your post if you gave us some detail at least.

shrap393
shrap393

Jade Empire... this game really sucked. I really tried to like, thought maybe something was wrong with me cause I've never had problems playing a BioWare game and I've played em since Baldurs Gate, but ya, this one was garbage. Why waste more resources on this series? Please dont bother with this crap series and if so, please assign it to your interns so your senior members can contiue work on the real games like KotOR, Dragon Age and whatever else you have coming down the pike. Jade Empire2? What a waste. Did BioWare really make it or was it something they backed from some third world devs?

frazzle00
frazzle00

@alibabba13 The strangers I generally meet whilst online gaming tend to be young, obnoxious or both. I am not saying this is always the case, but it happens way too often for my liking. So yes, when it comes to MMOs, I stay away 8).

OfficerDonNZ
OfficerDonNZ

The picture of Furious Ming mediating is from one of the early trailers for Jade Empire. Yeah I know, uesless info. Let's hope one of these days we see a JE2 :).

filmboy85
filmboy85

Jade Empire is good, but constantly clicking the left mouse button (PC version) is something I'd expect more from Diablo, rather than BioWare, who generally have great combat in their games (KotOR, Baldur's Gate/many of the Infinity Engine Games, Mass Effect, etc.). Can't wait for Dragon's Age and ME2. Both are gonna be awesome.

alibabba13
alibabba13

@Frazzle yes your absolutely right the only people that play MMO's are annoying kids and you should definately stay away.

Shadow_Fire41
Shadow_Fire41

they better make a sequel. i also don't remember the main guy meditating either Un_Ordinateur, nice observation.

Un_Ordinateur
Un_Ordinateur

I really do hope that Jade Empire is going to get a sequel; The first one in my opinion was great (Not as good as KotOR, but still awesome) and is a steal for $15 via steam or Xbox live. I would love to be my wolverine-clawed, dual sword-wielding, fire launching spirit monk just one more time (I mean, hey, how many games let you transform into a giant flaming horse and set your opponents on fire?). Edit: That picture looks pretty high-res to be from the original... Even though it does look like two rivers. Anyone recall your character meditating there? I certainly don't...

zeniftan
zeniftan

@ ZIROPC360: They keep saying Star Wars: TOR is going to be KOTOR: 3, 4, 5, 6 , 7, 8 and so on. And based on Biowares history, I kind of believe them. Kind of... That being said, I choose to be a naysayer and wait until 2 months after Star Wars: TOR's release to find out if it's really worth it. I've never played MMORPG's before outside of Star Wars: Galaxies. And everybody know's about THAT games track record. So I'm STILL going to be wary, but I'm very interested too... :-)

westernomelette
westernomelette

Ok the browser game does sound sweet, but.... is it free? And while I did play and beat Jade empire I wasn't that impressed with it, I don't think it should have a sequel as much as I'd like to see another KOTOR (not MMO) game.

Marder-I
Marder-I

The Browser game loks interesting, I may have to get this!! Cheers Tom

Blazius2
Blazius2

I've never played kotor, but a sequel to Jade empire is what i'd like most to see.

Snipes_2
Snipes_2

@ frazzle00 I couldn't have said it better.

frazzle00
frazzle00

I think Rottenwood is right. MMOs are the more profitable option and it is easy to see Bioware eventually shifting their focus in that direction (especially now given they are part of the EA family :(). I was horrified to learn that they think that an MMO like Old Republic will be a suitable substitute for KOTOR 3. Despite all the claims that it will have "more" story than a traditional RPG, I can't help but fear it'll just degenerate into a dungeon crawling w**kfest populated by characters controlled by annoying kids.

Doxxie
Doxxie

KOTOR 3 and SWBF 3 titles that haven't been released and there really isn't any logical explanation unless they are making them now and making them awesome patience is a virtue but if we dont see/hear about these titles soon it's a serious error in judgement

jokers_anarchy
jokers_anarchy

jade empire would be cool but what i really want is a knights of the old republic 3.

Senor_Kami
Senor_Kami

I only want Jade Empire 2 if their goal is to mix RPG with Fighter/Action to the same degree and quality level that Mass Effect and ME2 mix RPG with 3PS.

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

@GrumblingElite Well, the transition certainly won't happen overnight. There are millions of gamers who cannot or will not sign for an MMORPG, and as you said, there is still a small fortune to be made in making retreads of StarCraft and Diablo. But even as we mention those two titles, what else is Blizzard working on? A new I.P. for an MMORPG. StarCraft 2 and Diablo 3 will be profitable, but they won't come close to the fortune Blizzard has made from WOW. The day of the single game purchase is fading. Even StarCraft 2 is adopting an MMORPG model of sorts by being sold in installments.

Hailfire704
Hailfire704

I hope there's a sequel for Jade Empire in the works, it's easily my favorite game

GrumblingElite
GrumblingElite

@Rottenwood : I disagree. Just look at Blizzard. The kings of the MMO market are still making Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2. Why? Because 1) They like making good games, 2) (and this is the big point) They're going to make *tons* of money off of each of those games. I seriously doubt EA will ever say no to ginormous piles of money.

dakan45
dakan45

I hope jade empire gets a sequel...

xeridae
xeridae

@ Janpieterzun You make good points I am not doubting you at all. I for one am just tired of the same basic concepts in this "fantasy" genre. It's always the same tired story/setting with some new and improved graphics and a small difference here or there. Now to be fair the same is true about the final fantasy series however I did not mention final fantasy, you did. Bioware has done nothing new and exciting with this game. This is the same tired formula they have been recycling with new skins since the days of KOTOR. I feel the same way you do. I personally think however that the elder scrolls games already have this genre cornered though. P.S. I can't make a list long enough of the games that fit into this genre. I noticed you said you could count the number of GOOD games on one hand but my point is that I just don't think this game is going to fall into that category. Also to your point about FPS games, that is a style of game play. I am talking about story/setting.

Janpieterzun
Janpieterzun

That's a pity Jade Empire is one of the original xbox's rare gems. Also @ Xeridae, unfortunately for you a lot of people still dig the sword and sorcery "Setting" as the one true setting for rpgs. It's close to the original formula. I am one of those purist. I'm not part of the group of people that think Final Fantasy is an RPG. Those type of games if you want to be accurate are Japanese Romance Novels. Dragon Age is in the vein of what a true rpg is, D&D. Mind you there's nothing wrong with FF and the FF fan base, i am one of them. Also are you kidding me there's not enough games in the setting, i wish there were more. World of Warcraft seems to have damaged 'fantasy' IMO i can count on ONE hand good fantasy games, ONE. How many shooters are there? Now thats a genre that was beat into the ground. No?

loshiscka
loshiscka

COME ON! bioware thanks for all the great games you've made, we are grateful. we really are. but we need jade empire2, this game was deferent than every great game you've made. Jade empire is BioWare Greatest achievement

xeridae
xeridae

I've seen the game play videos of dragon age and so far it looks terribly boring. Nothing about the settings or what I know of the story so far seems original in anyway whatsoever. How many times can we beat this fantasy genre into the ground? My comments might sound like exaggerations but unfortunately they are not. I am sure the game will be entertaining but it lacks appeal on many levels.

razorback187
razorback187

Will the PS3's crappy browser be capable of handling this flash app?

gardneed
gardneed

Sigh. I smell EA's influence here. Unfortunately Jade Empire didn't sell that well. I loved it but I guess some people were not into it.

ioannisdenton
ioannisdenton

please bring mass effect 2 on ps3.. please.....

razgriz_101
razgriz_101

who cares bout Mass Effect gimmie goddamn Jade Empire that game was possibly the greatest game on the original xbox.

FlashCharge
FlashCharge

It would be great to see a Jade Empire sequel come out in the future. With the next generation graphics and a great story this could differently prove to be a winner. Would like to see as a cross platform game to reach a wider market among gamers.

ZIROPC360
ZIROPC360

I'm hoping that The Old Republic still has a killer story - that's something most MMO's are missing. I'd like to see an MMO Story that I could get emotionally involved in. The funny thing is that MMO's aren't about story as much as about player interaction. I think it'll be interesting to see how Bioware pulls this off.

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

Unfortunately, I can see BioWare heading fullbore to the MMORPG landscape sooner rather than later. Even though their strength is in story-telling and dialogue, the MMO market is too tantalizing to stay away from. Every month you've got a million people (or more, as their name recognition is so strong) sending you real money, as opposed to dealing with pirates, used game buyers, and having to constantly make new full products. The Old Republic is just the beginning.

joeborg14
joeborg14

Man, I wish my compy could run DA:O... Then again, why would it be able to if it can't even run ME? :( Guess I'll settle for the X360.

XeonForce
XeonForce

As far as browser based RPG's go, I think I'll stick with RuneScape. I'm still buying the coll. edition Dragon Age though, I think it's gonna be an awesome console game.

frazzle00
frazzle00

@aldrenar47 It really is just a matter of opinion. I enjoyed KOTOR 2 more than KOTOR (they are two of my favourite titles of all time). I am also sure there are people out there who enjoyed Majora's Mask more than Ocarina of Time (including a few EGM editors if I am not mistaken). I was just making fun of ZIROPC360 with my original post :). I really hope they make a PROPER sequel to Jade Empire. If they go the MMORPG route with Jade Empire (as they did with KOTOR 3) I'll be bitterly disappointed.

nuttyprof
nuttyprof

Forget the browser game, give me Jade Empire 2. But it better NOT be an MMO.

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

Less Jade Empire, more browser RPG... I say boo.

ssjdagas
ssjdagas

Jade Empire was not as good as KotOR or Mass Effect, but I still liked it. A sequel would be nice. However it has to be longer, more open and with more interesting combat. I liked the story, but there was like 3 places to visit in the entire game and took less than 20h to complete which is way too short for an RPG. An RPG should be 40-60h IMO.

damodar_thade
damodar_thade

Jade Empire 2 would be great as would a bioware KOTOR3, but as long as there doing good RPGs im happy.

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

Re: Jade Empire and Mass Effect. Why is it Bioware cannot bring themselves to do a deep hardcore NON ad&d RPG?! However good you think JE and ME are, surely we can all agree they are not hardcore RPG's like Bioware's ad&d fantasy titles like Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights or Dragon Age!!

jmartinez1983
jmartinez1983

So when's the browser based game going to be available?

Rikuide_Furame
Rikuide_Furame

I found JE to very charming but I felt the RPG elements were rather basic. Still I'm more than happy for BioWare to produce RPG-heavy games and RPG-lite games, they still know how to spin a story!

jenguando
jenguando

JADE EMPIRE IS THE MOST ORIGINAL AND ACTION PACKED RPG.NOTHING LIKE IT EXISTS.PLEASE PLEASE SEQUEL IT.YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT BIOWARE.

ahpuck
ahpuck

ah, jade empire, great game with lots of little things that bugged the heck out of me. i wouldn't mind playing a jade empire 2, if it ever comes out,

lightwarrior179
lightwarrior179

EA used a similar strategy of putting out a browser version of Sims 3 a week or so before it's release. As for a sequel of Jade Empire, I would be glad to see it. The world they created was very original and immersive and something I wouldn't mind revisiting again.