Double Fine ŧrådêmaŗkś Brütal Legend

Leaked info on Psychonauts studio's next title gets more credibility; developers tease fan base with Web minigame.

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When news reports about Double Fine Productions' next game surfaced (and then were quickly pulled) in August, studio founder Tim Schafer was quick to mount a joking campaign of misinformation.

Schafer denied reports that the game would be called Brutal Legend and star Jack Black as a dead roadie trying to reach rock-and-roll heaven. He instead told the International House of Mojo that the company was working on Zak McCracken 2 for the PlayStation Portable, a follow-up to one of LucasArts' earlier graphic adventure games. Meanwhile, Schafer told GameSpot his next title would be a first-person shooter set in the Monkey Island universe.

Phantom projects aside, Schafer did say some of the rumors floating around were true (particularly the one about him being a good kisser), "but a lot of it was false." It appears the game's title would be one of the true bits, as Double Fine has filed a US trademark application for the umlaut-equipped "Brütal Legend."

The trademark covers uses of the phrase in gaming software, comics, art books, action figures, trading cards, yo-yos, and "musical toy instruments, namely, toy guitars." If that doesn't sound enough like the beginning of a merchandising blitz, the trademark further covers "entertainment services, namely, providing an online computer game, a motion picture, an entertainment program television program in the field of action and adventure via a global computer network," and more. While this doesn't necessarily mean all of these things (or any of them) will be made, it is a considerably wider array of uses than Double Fine sought in its Psychonauts trademarks, which was largely limited to games, instruction manuals, and playthings, with yo-yos again specified.

While eager gamers will have to wait on the official word about Double Fine's next game, the company has released a bit of a teaser on its official Web site. Proclaiming that the studio's new game is no longer a mystery, a press release-style write-up on the site hypes up its Epic Saga: Extreme Fighter, a Flash-based minigame on the Double Fine site. Epic Saga is a rudimentary fighting game where players pick from a handful of fantasy archetypes.

Each round ends with a bit of banter that will no doubt appear familiar to fans of vintage LucasArts adventure games. In one instance, the victor asks, "What were we fighting over again?" The defeated opponent replies, "Evolution. I was for it and I believe you were for it as well."

"We've been dying to talk about this game for so long," Schafer said in the faux press release. "It feels great to finally be able to share it with the world. The team has put so much hard work into this title, and I think the wait was worth it. We've been able to put an extra layer of polish on the game, which is really important considering it has innovative features that are relatively new territory for us: A deep combat system, selectable characters, and dynamic dialog matrix that is completely different every time you play the game."

As for the trademark application, Schafer had not returned GameSpot's request for comment as of press time.

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