Long-dead series Battletoads could make a comeback. Microsoft has filed a trademark for the name here in the United States.

The trademark application (via GAF) is for "entertainment services, namely, providing online video games" and "game software." I guess Microsoft doesn't have any interest in reviving the short-lived Battletoads TV show, then.

Battletoads debuted on NES back in 1991. The player took on the role of anthromorphic toads Rash and Zits on a quest to defeat the Dark Queen and rescue their friends. The game had a mix of beat 'em up, platforming and racing levels. Its variety and steep difficulty level made it a fondly remembered retro game.



The original game spawned three sequels, including a cross-over with Double Dragon. However, the series has been A.W.O.L. since 1994. The most recent entry, an arcade game called Super Battletoads, was never even released for consoles.

Developer Rare lived on, though, and went on to produce other memorable series like Killer Instinct, Banjo-Kazooie and GoldenEye 007. They've since been bought by Microsoft in 2002 and - to nostalgic gamers' dismay - has been relegated to making Kinect games.

Rare offered a Battletoads outfit as a pre-order bonus for Kinect Sports Rivals. If nothing else, that indicated that Rare (and by extension, Microsoft) still owned the license and remembered they owned it. The trademark application may mean that they're planning to do more with Battletoads than put the logo on virtual shirts, though.

Microsoft could be plotting a re-release of the original Battletoads game - which somehow never happened last generation. I'm sure plenty of Xbox One owners would give them $15 even for a lazy remake.

There's also a chance of a brand-new game. That feels like more of a pipe dream than a possibility, though. Microsoft's traditional strategy with Rare and its classic franchises is "don't let them make the games everyone wants." They didn't even let them develop the Killer Instinct reboot. It's hard to imagine Microsoft green-lighting an original Battletoads built from the ground up with today's technology but I'd love to be proven wrong.

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