Jade Empire was a passion project for Bioware co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, not to mention the first original I.P. they launched. The studio were currently riding high on the success of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Microsoft was eager to publish what they did next as a console exclusive for Xbox.
It received great reviews but unfortunately it was towards the end of the consoles lifecycle with all eyes pointed at the Xbox 360. Bioware’s exciting new franchise died a swift death before it could even get its footing.
It took the deep story and action system from KOTOR and infused it with the Chinese Wuxian genre, resulting in a fascinating blend of distinct styles. Its world was filled with rich mythology, high fantasy and plenty of kick ass (and customisable) Kung-Fu action. It was also made during the sweet spot for the company as they moved out of niche gaming and towards blockbuster product, with it having a heathy dose of both.
An eventual PC release ignited interest from gamers who were oblivious to its existence and helped a cult reputation brew over the years. High demand for a sequel has grown, but with the game's biggest champions - co-founders Muzyka and Zeschuk - having retired, it’s not likely.