Many reviewers described Bethesda Softworks' Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion as being cinematic in its vast scope. Now, the publisher's parent company, ZeniMax Media, is taking that interpretation literally by registering a trademark for a feature film based on the game.
The filing, made August 12, is for the title "Oblivion" for use in "Motion picture film production; entertainment services, namely, providing motion picture theatrical films in the field of fantasy games." It was updated August 17 but has not yet been assigned an examining attorney by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
However, just because ZeniMax has filed for an Oblivion trademark doesn't mean Elder Scrolls fans should start camping out. History is littered with failed game-to-film adaptations, with many hit titles, such as Mass Effect, having their movie rights scooped up only to sit in development limbo. Others, such as Halo, see preproduction begin, but then have the funding pulled and key talent walk away.
Many game-based films that make it to the screen are critical and commercial bombs, such as Doom, BloodRayne, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, and Dungeon Siege: In the Name of the King. One of the most high-profile and best-reviewed game films to date, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, was a commercial disappointment despite a nearly $200 million budget and the backing of Pirates of the Caribbean producer Jerry Bruckheimer.
Hope remains, however, as a film set in the Warcraft universe is currently in preproduction with Spider-Man director Sam Raimi at the helm. The project has the support of both film studio Warner Bros. and production company Legendary Pictures (The Dark Knight, Watchmen, 300).
For more on Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, read GameSpot's review or watch the video review below.