For the past few weeks, BioWare art director Matt Rhodes has been dusting off long-buried concept art for Revolver—a cancelled parkour RPG that promised to be a spiritual successor to Jade Empire.
Last November , we saw an illustrated peek at the next Mass Effect thanks to BioWare's 25th anniversary art book. But contained within that same book was a final look at Revolver, a near-future urban RPG that was never formally announced before its cancellation in the late-2000s. Now, Rhodes has gone all out in sharing the slick comic-style concept pieces he penned for the game on Instagram.
"Beginning its life as a sequel to Jade Empire, Revolver evolved and changed course many times throughout its development," Rhodes explained. "It was recently revealed in more detail in the book "BioWare: Stories and Secrets from 25 Years of Game Development. To celebrate, I sifted through the archives and blew 15 years of dust off some of my favourite pieces from that project."
Described as a loose follow-up to Jade Empire, Revolver is a smorgasbord of different styles—a cyberpunk world of demonic businessmen and leather-clad gangers slicing up metrocops that could've stepped right out of Half-Life 2, all painted with the East-Asian influence of its supposed predecessor.
According to Eurogamer, Revolver was reportedly in development between 2005 and 2008. The game would've featured a dense urban sandbox for players to parkour through, while a non-linear narrative would've seen characters pop up organically across town. Unfortunately, the project was eventually canned in the run-up to Dragon Age: Origins' launch—and as far as BioWare is concerned, the rest is history.
The last decade of BioWare has been dominated by Dragon Age and Mass Effect, and it's interesting to see a world where the studio could've spun into a completely different direction. Granted, the developer's last attempt to try something new led to the ill-fated Anthem. Who knows how Revolver would've panned out?
There's plenty more art to check out over on Rhodes' Artstation and Instagram. BioWare itself is still slowly dripping out information on Dragon Age 4, with the studio dropping some tantalising new concept art earlier this month.