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Microsoft hasn't forgotten about Rare's fighting game series Killer Instinct. They at least care enough about the franchise to renew their trademark on the series' name.
"With all due respect to our friends in the media who like to frequent trademark sites, we thought we’d break this one ourselves," said PlayXBLA, the official site about Xbox Live Arcade news. "Our legal eagles have authorized us to say: 'We have either renewed or refiled a trademark application in various jurisdictions.'"
Rare first released Killer Instinct in arcades back in 1994. Eventually it became an SNES and Game Boy game. The combo-based fights and Mortal Kombat-style finishers made it a very highly regarded game. It regularly appears on lists of the best fighting games of all time.
Microsoft purchased Rare back in 2002 and now has possession of the Killer Instinct franchise. They've neglected the series completely, though. An Xbox Live Arcade port of Killer Instinct seems like a no-brainer but hasn't happened. Furthermore, Microsoft nixed Killer Instinct 3. Apparently they want Rare to make "broader" games, like Kinect Sports or Banjo-Kazooie.
Is the renewal of the Killer Instinct trademark a big deal? No, not really. All Microsoft is doing is pretty much just maintaining their hold over that brand name so no one else can profit off of it. However, the fact that they announced they were doing this is cause for hope. Perhaps they're starting to recognize that a new Killer Instinct - or at least an HD remake of the original - is highly desired among fighting fans. Hopefully they take this series off the shelf soon.