Hold on to your scimitars, Spirit Monks, because Jade Empire is about to re-enter the gaming world. Maybe. EA just filed a new trademark for the hit BioWare game. This could mean a long-awaited Jade Empire sequel is on the way. Or it could just mean a remaster of the first one. It could also just be that EA is protecting its assets. The possibilities are endless, as are the chances for disappointment.
For those who didn't own an Xbox in 2005, Jade Empire was an action RPG developed by BioWare. It was made right after BioWare hit it big with Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Jade Empire had a lot of the elements that would later come to define BioWare games, such as a morality scale, party member romances, and a player-driven story. It also had a cool action game-esque battle system rooted in martial arts.
Jade Empire was very well-received, but the fact that Microsoft published it made it an Xbox exclusive. It was eventually ported to PC and even made it to mobile platforms in 2016, but by them BioWare was better known for bigger franchises (and for messing up those bigger franchises). It seemed fans of Jade Empire would never see more of that world.
Now BioWare is owned by EA, and Destructoid reports that EA is showing interest in Jade Empire via a trademark filing. The filing took place on January 22nd of this year. It seems like auspicious timing considering BioWare is right on the verge of releasing Anthem, which could be a huge game for both BioWare and EA. Perhaps EA is hoping to bank on renewed interest in BioWare by bringing back one of its old games.
But is there really time for BioWare to make a Jade Empire sequel? The studio will have their hands full with Anthem for a while, as they mean to support that game well after launch. Then again, they could use a smaller team for post-launch Anthem. Even then, however, there's the mysterious Dragon Age project that's supposedly underway.
The better bet is EA releasing remasters of old BioWare games. Yoda knows they could do with fostering goodwill with Star Wars fans after canceling so many Star Wars games. A KOTOR remaster would definitely help. Maybe a Jade Empire remaster could join it.
The saddest outcome is that it's just EA doing upkeep on trademarks. Nintendo fans are well aware of the dangers of speculating at trademark filings only to be left disappointed when F-Zero and Golden Sun are nowhere to be found in the latest Direct.
So feel free to be optimistic, but not too optimistic. Basically the same way you should react to every BioWare-related announcement.