While Electronic Arts is busy pursuing new and recent intellectual properties like Dante's Inferno, Spore, and Dead Space, the publisher hasn't forgotten the franchises on which it was built. Data amalgamation blog Superannuation this week noticed that the publisher has recently renewed trademarks on some of its classic properties, including space flight combat game Wing Commander, bruising motorcycle racer Road Rash, and Bullfrog strategy classics Populous and Theme Park.
All four of the applications were filed August 5 and covered those terms for use in a wide-ranging assortment of entertainment media and services. Electronic Arts already has existing, active trademarks for Wing Commander, Road Rash, and Theme Park, although they are much simpler in description than the newly sought trademarks.
For example, EA's current Theme Park trademark covers use of the term only in "computer game programs pre-recorded on magnetic media." The trademark the publisher is seeking for Theme Park would cover "pre-recorded audio tapes, video tapes, audio cassettes, video cassettes, CD-ROMs, DVDs, compact discs, and video discs, featuring entertainment related to films, video, games, animated cartoons and music; recorded and downloadable video and audio files featuring information and instructions regarding computer and video games," as well as "entertainment services, namely, providing news and information regarding interactive computer game software, interactive video game software and interactive computer games and interactive video games, via electronic, wireless and computer networks," among other things.
A search of the US Patent and Trademark Office online database yielded no previous game-related trademarks for Populous.
While EA wants to retain its claims to the specified franchises, the trademark applications don't necessarily mean that those series will be seeing new games anytime soon. In 2006, EA filed a trademark for the PC franchise System Shock but has not announced any plans to take advantage of it.
Regardless, the publisher understands the value of its vault of dormant franchises and has tried to bring at least one of them back. Last year, Chronicles of Riddick developer Starbreeze Studios said it was busy reinventing a "classic EA franchise," and Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach sparked rumors of a new Road Rash during an appearance on a heavy metal radio show. More recently, the head of EA's UK-based Bright Light studio told Kikizo this week that his studio had previously worked on a resurrection for an old EA franchise, though that project had been passed on to another developer.