In a lot of cases when a company trademarks a term or patents a product they are simply trying to cover their bases, ensuring that no copycats or profiteers can beat them to the punch. But, as we recently learned with Blizzard's new FPS Overwatch, when a new trademark hits gamers should pay attention.
However, while Overwatch was a relatively obscure term that could have applied to almost any genre or product, the term Battletoads brings up a singular idea. So when a company with far-reaching clout like Microsoft trademarks Battletoads that's reason enough for gamers to pay attention and likely to get excited.
News of the Battletoads trademark only surfaced this week, but Microsoft actually secured the name on November 5th. Unfortunately, as is the case with most trademarks, we have no idea what Microsoft plans to do with the Battletoads name.
The easy and most exciting answer would be that Microsoft is planning a reboot of the popular beat-em-up and has put first party developer (and original Battletoads studio) Rare on the job. That's not necessarily a given, though. It's just as likely that Microsoft is trying to stake their claim on Battletoads for use in tie-in DLC, like the Battletoads Challenge Pack for Kinect Sports Rivals.
Then again, Microsoft has shown they can take a classic franchise and successfully bring it into the modern gaming landscape. They did it last year with Killer Instinct and that title has already earned a sequel/second season.
But like Killer Instinct, Battletoads is a polarizing classic from the arcade era. Many remember it fondly, but how many actually remember it for being good? Most of my memories of Battletoads are of constantly dying as random obstacles appeared right in front of my Toad's speeder. No question it was still a fun and memorable experience, but it's hard to say if that same idea would hold up today.
That being said, maybe that's just what gamers want right now – a title that's so unforgiving it requires laser precision to get through a single level. Titles like Dark Souls, Spelunky, and Super Meat Boy have shown that there is a place for challenge in today's games, and we're not talking about a difficulty slider either.
Whether or not Battletoads will be that type of game, or if it is even in Microsoft's short-term plans, is unclear, but they have the trademark. So now when people prank call used games stores and ask if they have Battletoads, those stores can direct the callers to Microsoft.
How do you feel about a new Battletoads game from Microsoft? Do you think the series deserves a reboot?
Follow Anthony on Twitter @ANTaormina