Jade Empire is a role-playing game by Bioware released on X-box in 2005 and PC in 2007. It centers around two spiritually gifted martial arts students on a quest to rescue their teacher from the emperor and collect the pieces of an amulet that will allow the spirits of the recently deceased all across the kingdom to pass, set in an orientalist fantasy world inspired by Chinese history, cinema and myth, featuring a constructed language.
(Note: these are only choices that the player can potentially make)
- [to Kai Lan the Serpent, suggesting that Black Whirlwind fight him in his or her stead] There have been other substitutions. Mine won't be the first.
- (Note: This quote refers to Kai Lan replacing one of the Guild's fighters with a Toad Demon in an earlier match.)
- [to Sun Li]: You were a great teacher. It is a shame that your skill was wasted on evil ambition.
- [to Captain Sen, before Aishi the Mournful Blade kills him] If I help you, you'll only tell the others what I've done. I have to let you go.
- (Note: The player is repeating Captain Sen's excuse for not saving a child whose drowning he caused when he and Aishi were children.)
- [CF player about Gao the Lesser] Empty threats. Let him argue with the worms.
- [going CF] I should... I should fight more. I should spit more. I should slap the princess in her smirking face, and I should... I should...I should look at you without fear of what might happen, because if I grow to need you and if you *leave*, ancestors help me, you will regret it.
Master Li/Sun Li the Glorious Strategist
- Sometimes all you will learn in defeat is that you have been defeated.
- Your abilities have grown immensely. But it also does my heart good to see that you remember the basics of what I taught... even the flaws.
- [on Death's Hand]: You know who he is, but what he is defies you, defies your skill. He is more than Sun Kin ever was.
- [last words] You surprise me yet again. I'm a better teacher... than I thought...
- [At the end of the credits] Once, when you were a child, you fell from a great height and cut your head clean off. I told you to walk it off, because, the cut was clean. And then you could punch a mountain... from space!
- Oh dear. This will be unpleasant for someone.
- (Note: The player has found out that a merchant's wife that he/she rescued is not the "Fen" that he was searching for. "Fen" is soon revealed to be the merchant's ox.)
- I have little use for morals, but honor?
- It would be a great inconvenience if we were all suddenly slaughtered.
- Your best is not always enough. That's why it is used as a comforter after failure. "You tried your best, but death consumed the nation anyway. Sorry."
- [last words] I wasn't looking for victory... just a few seconds...
- (Death's Hand has mortally wounded Zu, but has also damaged the support pillars, causing the chamber to collapse on both of them and allowing the player to escape.)
- I have moved with you, hidden, trying to keep focus. I give you all that I am, all that I was. Restore what has been corrupted.
The Black Whirlwind
- My fill? I have been sated from battle, but never filled!
- If there is no wine, there should be fighting!
- [When the Whirlwind is killing Lotus Assassins atop the Temple of Dirge, a voice sounds every 20 kills, possibly that of a god... or just in his own head]
- Untold Slaughter!
- Bringer of Pain!
- Destroyer of Lives!
- Just Kill the Golem Already, would you?
- Hahaha! Come to my axes! All of you!
- That racket is distracting me from the cries of my enemies. Sky better have a good reason for ringing that bell.
- [upon entering the Lotus Assassin's fortress] These Lotus Assassins really aren't all that tough; they're just trained well. I've seen men a lot tougher than this run scared from a fight, but not these guys. They're like well-trained dogs, and just as dangerous... though they smell slightly better, and I'm willing to bet they wouldn't taste as good over a plate of rice. Damn it, now I'm getting hungry... and thirsty. Let's get this finished so I can get something to drink.
- So we serve Gang until we find the information we need? I'd rather fight the golem army. That would draw out their leaders, whether Death's Hand or the Emperor.
- [to the Overzealous Lotus Acolytes] You look to be worth about a silver and a half. What do we need to prove to you?
- [Acolyte threatens] A foolish, foolish mistake. You have no idea.
- [reaction to Master Gang] He thinks it's too tough, but impossible odds make the best fights.
- [after Master Gang uses the word "machinations"] He thinks we will die. That means there will be fighting. I like him.
- [in palace]I always figured if I saw the Emperor it would be for my own execution. 'Course, the day's still young.
- [after Master Gang uses the word "machinations"] He uses big words, but he seems small. He lets others fight for him.
- The Guardian says for me to be cheerful, and to not repeat what he says all the... oh.
- [to the overzealous Lotus Acolytes] Bullies will meet the Guardian... or worse.
- I think Mister Gang is a jerk.
- What do you want? I owe you a great deal for freeing me. This body should serve well... as long as it lasts. Your mortal fates are such interesting things. Such amusing toys. But if you get what you seek here, and your ambition is realized... remember a faithful servant. Ha! And if you fail... well, then I'll have your soul to toy with, anyway, as with this girl.
- [at the sight of the cut open Water Dragon] I marvel at the mind that came up with this. To cast his gaze so far above his station to his own makers is... admirable.
- The time has come, mortal! I won't share this body any longer. I'll destroy you, Chai Ka, and this girl if I have to!
- [battle with Chai Ka inside Wild Flower's mind] Grr... he presumes to trap us, too. He is too strong to fight alone, but you can use the strength of your followers. What else are they good for?
- [If the player sides with Chai Ka] You think your treachery will kill me, mortal?! As long as the corruption exists in this world, I will endure. Now die, along with this stupid girl!
- [pre Dirge battle]I don't like these odds, but death is not as final for me as it is for you, so what do I care?
Kang the Mad
- I am Kang the Mad. I make things explode, and I make things fly, and I'm very good at both. The things I fly tend to survive. The things I explode... not so much.
- You handled the guards well, with your punching and kicking. I was going to make more of an explody thing, but the kicking worked well, too.
- Next time I hide something, I'm packing explosives around it. Explosives shaped like silver bananas! Stops thieves, monkeys and monkey thieves in one fell swoop.
- The things I fly tend to survive. The things I explode...not so much.
- If you stage a combat related accident for Gao, like say, falling down a flight of punches, I'll replace the inductors on the Dragonfly and we can fly away!
- You are sure to profit from this partnership. In fact, I've never accidentally exploded anyone traveling *with* me, so that alone is a benefit of my presence.
- Interruptions... who designed that Dragonfly... build something to make his sandals explode...
- Well, it's much like the dilemma of the centipede. If he relaxes and lets things happen, he can walk naturally all day long, his hundred legs not missing a step. But, if he thinks too hard about the complexity of what he's doing, those legs might crash into the teahouse and kill everyone. A valuable lesson.
- That was astonishing! I haven't seen such martial skills in an eatery since the last time I added ginger to my wife's hot and sour soup!
- It would seem we have our work cut out for us. But as my darling wife likes to say, when things are tough... quit your whining and get to work.
- As I mentioned, I am but a simple bun master, with a dear wife who has turned my life into a miserable cesspool devoid of humor and excitement. Bless her soul.
- Life is not all bad though. I may have lost all my dignity and self-respect, along with my ability to fight or even make a tight fist, but I am a bun master of some renown.
- You’re beginning to sound like my wife. Where were you last night? Why were you talking to that woman? Why do you smell like a goat? Always with the questions!
- I still can't believe it's that easy to become a Lotus Assassin. If I had known sooner I would have joined their ranks as soon as possible. It would be brutal work, with little reward, and there's a good chance I'd die a hideous, painful death, but it couldn't *all* be better than married life... could it?
- [on being bound to the character] While my duties don't seem to have changed much, I find this form of servitude even more degrading than the kind my gentle wife imposes.
- [upon entering the Lotus Assassin fortress]I've seen many things in my life that scare me, many of them with you, I might add. This place terrifies me. My knees are shaking so badly I'm going to have bruises. These Assassins are very well trained. They obey without question, pay no heed to their pain or their needs, and they work tirelessly for their masters, with little reward. Come to think of it, they live a life much like mine. But then, they don't have to share a bed with my wife
Silk Fox/The Heavenly Lily/Princess Sun Lian
- Notice the painted face? This one only pretends at beauty.
- [upon entering the Lotus Assassin fortress] I hate the assassins. Can't they see the strings that pull at them? They are unquestioning, and even believe they do my father's bidding by following Death's Hand
- [upon entering the Lotus Assassins fortress] I never expected to see the inside of this place, and, frankly, I wish I hadn't.
The Water Dragon
- You are meant to learn, but not too much. To see, but not too clearly. To succeed, but not completely.
- If you fail in your destiny, your true enemy falls with you. And if he falls, so do we all. You must win, but in doing so, you will lose.
- [when the player has learned her true identity] Names are fleeting, given so you kind can point and say "That is mine." All words... names, history, dreams... they die on your lips.
- [when guiding you through the underworld] I am the Water Dragon, Guardian of the underworld and shephard of the dead.
- I believed the words of my brother, thinking him wise beyond my understanding. Had I known what would happen, I would have fought to stop them both.
- [when player decides to use Water Dragon's power for to rule the Empire] This is where it begins. A question of the similar intent was the start of all our grief.
- To make things better... that was our wish. We failed.
- Gate Guard: [regaining consciousness] Ugh... my head feels like a war drum, and the battle did not go in the Empire's favor.
- Minister of Culture's Servant: [to the player] Your physique seems exceptional. Clearly you are a peasant- a noble could afford sloth.
- Lucky Cho: You should have won that fight, Zheng, but you suddenly developed that blind spot, didn't you! Did the glint of silver get in your eye?
- Emperor Sun Hai: In my youth, I ruled dutifully, but nature does not respect titles.
- Pirate: Oh, certainly! We'll just sit back and let you stroll upstairs to kill our leader! Would it help if we drew you a map to his room?
- Forest Shadow: [chuckling] I had not thought to drop a mountain on my ancient foe, but your kind is always so resourceful.
- Minister Sheng: Woe to Minister Sheng, that his only ally is an uneducated simpleton!
- Student Lin: You could just be pouring honey in my ears, but that's not half as fun as other places it could go.
- Student Lin: [to male player] "Am I interested in you defeating me again, like you so often do? Oooh, of course I am! Imagine the gossip if we keep "studying together."
- Gao the Lesser: So you are at their beck and call? A service animal for those too weak to protect themselves. An endless, foolish road to go down. There are always victims, always weaklings. You could live a thousand lives, and still someone would be begging for your help.
- Yaoru: [upon being called a pompous ass by the player] Your jibes can nary prick the armor of my pride; they are blunted barbs forged by the sputtering flames of your lesser intellect.
- Sing: [referring to her husband's precious ox] "Do I have to slaughter that thing for you to show me some attention?"
- Merchant Hing: "No dear"
- Sing: Are you lying again?"
- Merchant Hing: "No dear"
- Sing: "Are you listening to me?"
- Merchant Hing: "No dear"
- Forest Shadow: "So, my ancient foe is dead'"
- Player: "I'd have given my life to see that abomination dead."
- Black Whirlwind: "I'd have given your life too. It's a fair trade!"
Cook Teh & Dishwasher Wong - Tien's Landing second conversation
- Cook Teh: "Oh, again you are here. What is it now? Maybe you need directions? I have a few for you, that's for sure."
- Dishwasher Wong: "Don't trust him. His directions usually start out friendly but end up with a spatula in someone's nose. Why would anyone want to know how to do that?"
- Cook Teh: "Thank you, Mister Wong. Thank you for over-explaining the intricacies of my wit. Implied threats are ever so much more effective when they are no longer implied!"
Cook Teh & Dishwasher Wong - Tien's Landing third conversation
- Cook Teh: "What is this, the third time you've bothered me? Go tell the customers in the teahouse their food will be late because of someone's nosy tour."
- Dishwasher Wong: "He doesn't really mean that. I mean, if everyone showed up in town, sure, there would be some delay, but most people eat at home, you know?"
- Cook Teh: "Mister Wong... you are an imbecile."
Cook Teh & Dishwasher Wong - Tien's Landing fourth conversation
- Cook Teh: "Do thugs like you think you can just walk back here for food anytime? If I wanted *human* interaction, I'd have a kiosk in the square! Or maybe a trough."
- Dishwasher Wong: "Why a trough? We don't feed the animals, Mister Teh. That's handled by the farmers."
- Cook Teh: "Step back, Mister Wong. You just... step back."
Cook Teh & Dishwasher Wong - Tien's Landing fifth conversation
- Cook Teh: "You again? I really don't have time for you. How about you come back in a week. Maybe a season would be good."
- Dishwasher Wong: "We can talk while we cut the vegetables, Mister Teh. We can make time if they need something."
- Cook Teh: "Mister Wong... I hate you."
Cook Teh & Dishwasher Wong - Tien's Landing sixth conversation
- Cook Teh: "Oh, more interruptions. Look, I don't have any work, I don't need anything fetched, and I don't have any lost relatives for you to rescue!"
- Dishwasher Wong: "You said your nephew was lost. You don't want help finding him?"
- Cook Teh: "Lost cause, Mister Wong, I said he was a lost cause. The boy was spoiled by my sister and.... Why am I telling you this? Just... go away."
Cook Teh & Dishwasher Wong - Tien's Landing seventh conversation
- Cook Teh: "Did I not just speak with you? I have no patience for this. I am not here to amuse you."
- Dishwasher Wong: "And yet you are so often funny. Thank you for your levity, Mister Teh."
- Cook Teh: "Shut up, Mister Wong."
- Dishwasher Wong: "Ah, another fine joke. I love them all."
Spirit Monk mistrusting Sky
- Spirit Monk: "You can come... but I'll be watching you!"
- Sky: "I assure you, I will be as devoted and capable as any of your other companions."
- Kang: "Ha! If I could harness all that hot air, I could make a furnace to power the whole of the Imperial City! If you're done with all the talking, I have to go make the Dragonfly ready for some flying."
- Shipeng: "Yes, yes, and yes! Ha ha! My skill and suavity as a merchant triumphs once more. Master Jiang will be pleased!"
- Dawn Star's response: "What an odd little man. It is as if a rat and a monkey mated." [laughs]
- Sagacious Zu's response: "You know, there are several diseases that will result in a person appearing mad. They usually result from inbreeding or lack of cleanliness."
- The Black Whirlwind's response: "This little man makes my eyeballs itch. I may have to kill him."
- Sky's response: "This fellow may have taken a few too many blows to the head."
- Wild Flower/Chai Ka's response: Mortals can be so strange at times..."
The Black Whirlwind - about to join, conversation with Dawn Star
- The Black Whirlwind: "Well, you and me and Little Miss Magenta here. Maybe she can distract our foes, flash a little leg."
- Dawn Star: "Would you like to see the damage these legs can inflict firsthand?"
- The Black Whirlwind: "Hmm. Feisty! I like that.
The Black Whirlwind - about to join, conversation with Sagacious Zu
- The Black Whirlwind: "Well... you, me, and the fellow with the dark hands and dark looks."
- Sagacious Zu: "I already tire of this fool. Keep him away from me if you want him to stay alive.
The Black Whirlwind - about to join, conversation with Sky
- The Black Whirlwind: "Well... you, me, and the pretty boy. You must be wealthy to have your own eunuch."
- Sky: "Ha! You're going to fit right in. You must like to dice, correct?"
- The Black Whirlwind: "Sure! Can't say as I'm very good at it, I can never remember the rules....
The Black Whirlwind - about to join, conversation with Wild Flower
- The Black Whirlwind: "Well... you, me, and the kid. I hope she's well trained."
- Wild Flower: "You smell funny.
The Black Whirlwind - about to join, conversation with Henpecked Hou
- The Black Whirlwind: "Whoa... almost didn't see the little guy. Is he with you, too?"
- Henpecked Hou: "Yes, I am, you great behemoth. Looks like I'm going to need a lot more supplies if I'm supposed to keep you fed."
Other characters' quest logs
- Note: During later sections of the game, you take control of other characters than the PC. They each have goals in the quest log.
- Dawn Star - You've led Dawn Star down to aid Kang at the bridge, and while she's certainly competent, you'd feel bad letting one of the peasants die on your watch.
- Keep the Farm Girl Safe - While she has been through a lot, you're certain Dawn Star still can't take care of herself.
- Defend Dirge from Sun Li’s Troops – Golems, assassins… whatever. If it’s foolish enough to get close, you’re foolish enough to kill it. The courtyard seems clear enough, but you never know what sort of delicious and intoxicating goodies might be stored around the place. They’re monks after all...
- Make Your Way Into the Temple – Your victory has bought you a moment of time to look around the temple courtyard, if you wish. When the bun master’s whining gets too shrill, you should make your way to the temple to make sure everything’s fine.
- Daily Reminder – Since I keep forgetting where I put everything the night before, I’m writing this checklist to myself... to help me get through mornings.
- 1. Do you have your axes? If not, you’re probably dead.
- 2. Do you have your clothes? Are you wearing them? If you don’t see your clothes nearby, you’ll probably never find them, so don’t waste time looking. If you really need clothes for some reason, take what you need from the nearest dead bodies.
- 3. Are you in a bed? Is there someone with you? I’ve learned from past mistakes, waking up with someone usually ends badly. Get your clothes and leave quietly.
- 4. Is anyone still alive nearby? Don’t be shocked. Sometimes I pass out before I start fighting. Since the people nearby probably won’t be up for a fight for some time, it’s best just to move on and find another place to stay for the day.
- One Chance – For years you have been enslaved to the power of the Water Dragon, but now a flicker of hope exists to break free of enslavement as Death’s Hand. You may be the youngest brother, but you were always a match for your siblings in battle.
- Fight for Your Freedom – You have a chance to break free with the help of the last Spirit Monk. Fight for it!
The Airing of Grievances
Being a collection of the indignities suffered by Minister Sheng at the hands of the backward shanty town of Tien's Landing:
His hat has been soiled
A parchment was stolen from him before a speech at a community gathering
His cat was viciously threatened
A chair at his table was placed backward
His finger was slammed in a door, not once, but thrice
An egg was thrown at him by an unknown assailant
His cart was stolen, filled with soiled garments, and then returned
His face was ridiculed by young children
His prized tonberry was squashed
It was suggested that he perform acts of deliberate indecency upon himself
He was forced to suffer the interminable and petty gripes of the people
His hair was accused of being impermanent and false
The honor of his family was impugned
He suffered a disabling attack by a pack of bees
His reputation was maligned by brigands. Brigands!
A local dog evacuated in the Minister's shoe
He was given a gift of turtle eggs by a visiting merchant
It was suggested that he would be able to trace his lineage to a simple courtesan
He was referred to as "smelly"
He slipped in mud, no doubt placed in his path by jealous townsfolk
Sailors burned down his office
About Jade Empire
- I think making Jade Empire a 360 launch title would have been massive. That's a really specific example, but we made a choice, and there are a lot of factors that go into these choices and you can't revisit them. But it's interesting, because it reminds me of what's going on right now with analysts saying that game sales are down because people are waiting for new consoles, and we released Jade Empire into that kind of window. In retrospect, it would've been great to put off a bit and polish the game a bit more.
- Greg Zeschuk, The Doctor is Out: Zeschuk on BioWare, EA and consoles' uncertain future, GamesIndustry.biz, 9 April 2013
- The original game had all the trappings of franchise material with engrossing characters, magnificent settings, and a unique take on martial arts-fueled RPG combat. But until hard evidence of a sequel's existence materializes, we’ll continue yearning for BioWare's one-off hit to attain franchise status