Jade Empire Interview

Eschalon: Book II

Developer:BioWare Corp.
Release Date:2005-04-12
  • Action,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person
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GB: Will there be more in the world to interact with compared to KotOR? We understand there will be improvisable weapons. Aside from containers and these weapons, what else in the world can be interacted with?

Ray: The idea of improvised weapons really adds a lot to the fantastic real-time combat system in Jade Empire. If you find yourself weaponless, you may just be able to put those two fine hams on the food cart to work by pummeling your opponents senseless with them! An improvised weapon doesn't always have to be something you can wield in your hand there are a number of occasions where you can interact with your environment to defeat enemies that are resistant to your attacks for example, knock down a pillar and bring the weight of the world down on a large foe. There are also a number of shrines around that allow you to recharge your Chi, Focus, and health as you explore the vast world of Jade Empire.

GB: Can you give us a couple examples of the more powerful artifacts (weapons or armor) that we may come across in the game? Will each piece of equipment have a history of its own listed in the inventory screen?

Greg: In Jade Empire players will have the opportunity of boosting their character's attributes with the Dragon Amulet, an artifact you can upgrade throughout the game to facilitate additional improvements to your character. You will find gems throughout the game (you may find these gems during your travels, or even be given these gems as rewards for completing quests) which you can affix to the Dragon Amulet to grant your character increased health, Chi, and Focus, special armors and other unique abilities. As you advance through the game, you will be able to attach an increasing number of gems to the amulet, fulfilling your destiny of becoming a martial arts master. You will also have the ability to level up each of your weapons. Even the basic weapons you find in the game are legendary in the context of the world of Jade Empire, and the additional weapons you find and upgrade to are even more impressive the weapons have individual back-stories. While leveling your character you can choose to level up your weapon skills. When you do this, you can choose to do more damage, use less of your focus energy, or increase the speed of weapon attacks.

GB: You've stated that the Marvelous Dragonfly can be armed to defeat enemies in the air or on land. Can you explain how the player increases the vessel's firepower and how this sort of combat plays out? Are there any other forms of transportation aside from the Marvelous Dragonfly?

Ray: Once you acquire it, the Marvelous Dragonfly is your primary method of transport across the world. The mini-game it triggers which can be skipped plays as a top-scrolling arcade shooter. You will gain permanent upgrades to your weapons, allowing you to play to your foes' weaknesses by choosing more effective weapons, as well as traditional power-ups you'd expect from such a shooter, with temporary effects to increase your firepower, for example. The combat in the Dragonfly itself is very reminiscent of the classic top down shooters from the arcades.

GB: Do you still plan to offer any content for Jade Empire via Xbox Live? If so, what sort of content do you plan on offering and how long after the game's release do you anticipate such content to be available?

Greg: BioWare is concentrating resources on delivering the best single-player game experience possible, and as a result Jade Empire will not be Live-enabled.

GB: If Jade Empire sells well for the Xbox, is there anything that would necessarily restrict you from porting the game to the PC? If there would ever be a PC version of the game, are there any particular features you'd like to tweak or enhance given the opportunity to take advantage of more powerful PCs?

Ray: We haven't announced any plans pertaining to a Jade Empire PC version, but there is a possibility we will consider a PC version in the future. If we do decide to develop a PC version, we will be sure to make the interface PC-friendly; we'd ensure a high-quality product as a result.

We appreciate your time, Ray & Greg!