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The BioWare Game You'll Never Get To Play

BioWare art director recently Matt Rhodes shared some concept art from a canceled project codenamed Revolver to his Instagram. Bits and pieces of the project have leaked over the years, but these new images give curious fans the clearest insight yet into what Revolver could have been.

The art shared by Rhodes comes after the recent release of BioWare: Stories and Secrets from 25 Years of Game Development, which celebrated the acclaimed developer's 25th anniversary. The book features art from many past, present, and future BioWare projects, including some of the first official details the company has ever shared about Revolver. In the captions for his Instagram posts, Rhodes explained that the book's recently unveiled details inspired him to share concept art that had gone unseen for more than 15 years.

Over the course of seven Instagram posts, each with multiple images for fans to swipe through, Rhodes shows the urban environment, mature tone, and futuristic creativity that went into Revolver. Rhodes shares sketches for possible player characters and antagonists that would have been encountered throughout the game. While Rhodes shared the art with minimal commentary, some of the images show action-heavy scenes that wouldn't be out of place in one of 2020's biggest releases, Cyberpunk 2077.

While Rhodes didn't say much about the individual pieces shared on his Instagram, he did preface the upload with an intriguing bit of history for longtime BioWare fans. Rhodes stated, "Beginning its life as a sequel to Jade Empire, Revolver evolved and changed course many times throughout its development." Jade Empire was a martial arts-themed RPG released exclusively on Xbox in 2005 before being ported to PC in 2007. While that game failed to establish the same legacy that the Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises would a few years later, it was well-received and has its dedicated fans.

The project, originally Jade Empire 2, began in 2005, which means it was in development at around the same time as Mass Effect. However, while Mass Effect and Jade Empire were developed in partnership with Xbox Game Studios, BioWare had ambitions to create a multi-platform series for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. This goal led the team to drop the Jade Empire IP and rename the project Revolver. Big ideas were sketched out for the project, according to Unseen64, including fluid parkour-style movement through an open world, responsive combat systems, and a non-linear storyline.

Unfortunately, these ambitions prove to be too much for BioWare. The studio was not only working on Mass Effect and Dragon Age at the same time, but was also developing the MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic. In the end, BioWare quietly canceled Revolver in 2009, before it even left pre-production.