In a move that just aches for speculation, Microsoft has filed for the trademark to Battletoads with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office. The trademark claim was filed on Nov. 5 and gives Microsoft the trademark claim to Battletoads as it pertains to “game software” and “entertainment services, namely, namely providing online video games.”
Statements issued to the press after inquiries regarding Microsoft’s plans with the trademark were met with the typical non-committal statement of “Microsoft often acquires various trademarks as part of its ongoing business strategy, but beyond that we have no comment.”
Battletoads kicked its amphibious foot onto the Nintendo Entertainment System back in 1991. Published by the now shuttered Tradewest and developed by Rare, it has been a long running question for fans of the series as to whether Microsoft would make a move on the trademark, given their status as owners of Rare. The gruelingly difficult game spawned three more titles Battletoads in Battlemaniacs for the SNES, Battletoads and Double Dragon for the NES and the (Super) Battletoads arcade cabinet. All four games were developed by Rare and each had the franchise’s signature difficulty grind coupled with lively anthropomorphic characters.
Revisiting Battletoads could be a good move for Microsoft and Rare, especially after much of the criticism both companies have received for not allowing Rare to revisit their old successes. Last year, Microsoft and Rare found success with Killer Instinct, an updated entry to the 90’s fighter that found success for Nintendo in the arcades and at home. Killer Instinct has since went on to start its second season, that in sort of KI’s version of a Street Fighter to Street Fighter Turbo update.
I would suggest that Microsoft consider, at the least, a refined and updated version of the original NES Battletoads. A game that I hold dearly in my childhood memories. From playing with my brother cooperatively, a term I use loosely as Battletoads was notorious for allowing players to fight each other, in addition to the enemies on screen. To the first time I beat the speeder bike stage, a feat that left tears in my eyes and something I only repeated a handful of times.
Battletoads is the poster child of 90s games, where kids were attracted to anything with crime fighting super animals and lured you into an experience that was so brutally hardcore in difficulty. It is a degree of difficulty that had disappeared in recent gaming generations, only to come storming back with the success of games like Dark Souls. There is certainly space for a game like Battletoads in today’s market.
Don’t screw this one up Microsoft.