Nintendo is gearing up for the big release of the Nintendo Switch, and they've been filing trademarks practically all throughout 2016 as well as into early 2017. However, the trademark they've just recently filed is actually for a game that has been considered a cult classic on Nintendo's hardware.
According to Gamespot, Nintendo filed a trademark recently for Eternal Darkness, the 2002 GameCube game. The filing was originally made back on December 20th, 2016 to grant them the trademark for use in 2017 and beyond. The interesting thing about it is that this isn't just a re-filing for the purpose of purpose of re-filing, they actually mentioned that the trademark was filed for Eternal Darkness as "downloadable electronic game software".
For those of you who originally played the game back on the GameCube, you might know that there was never a digital release of the title. In fact, back then, digital game downloads was basically reserved for PC gaming and some Xbox Live Arcade games.
So, essentially, the trademark is for a digital rendition of a game that never had a digital release. This bodes well for the possibility of Eternal Darkness being made available as a Virtual Console title for the Wii U or the Nintendo Switch.
Given that you can already play Eternal Darkness via the Wii's disc-based backwards compatibility feature, it wouldn't make sense for Nintendo to revive a trademark for a decade-old console. And given that the Wii U's lifespan is basically dead and gone and they haven't done much for the console -- and they won't be doing much for the console in the near future outside of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild -- it seems safe to assume that the Virtual Console release of Eternal Darkness is squarely aimed at the Nintendo Switch.
Now, this doesn't guarantee anything. I know a lot of people are excited at the possibility that this certifies a digital re-release of Silicon Knights' title, but that's just not verified yet. The reality is that this could be Nintendo's way of securing possible games from yesteryear for a possible re-release on the Nintendo Switch, depending on how well the system is received this March.
They might altogether forfeit a VC release if sales tank for the Switch, or they might go through with it if they see a strong demand and uptake in sales for Virtual Console games on the Switch.
Eternal Darkness has been a staple classic in Nintendo's library due to its mixture of genres and frightening gameplay. The unorthodox storytelling and blend of horror elements, puzzle-solving and combat all helped lend itself to carving out a solid corner in the market that certified it as a cult classic in gaming.
A lot of gamers are desperately hoping that the news is true about Silicon Knights' third-person horror tale getting a Virtual Console re-release, but until Nintendo makes that news official all we have to go on is a trademark filing and the hope that the Nintendo Switch gets enough feedback for the game to make a VC re-release possible.