Killer Instinct return halted by trademark refusal

News Aaron Birch
4 Dec 2012 - 18:47

Fans hoping for a resurrection of scrapper, Killer Instinct, could have been dealt a legal ultra combo…

Although the likes of Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, King of Fighters and Guilty Gear reside upon the top of the one-on-one beat ‘em up pile, there’s one classic fighter that’s been left, much to fans’ dismay, rotting in the junk yard or obsolete titles. That game is Rare’s combo-fest, Killer Instinct.

An arcade classic that spawned some decent, if limited, home conversions, the game was a great example of a fighter that rewarded dedication, as hardcore fans could demolish foes with unstoppable combos if they put in the effort to master their chosen warrior.

Said fans have, understandably, been crying out for the license to be revived on current-gen systems, but despite rumours and hearsay, nothing has ever materialised, and sadly, it probably never will, at least as we know it.

Microsoft, which now owns Rare, has officially been unsuccessful in reviving the Killer Instinct name as it’s hit a legal roadblock. According to reports, the name Killer Instinct isn’t just the moniker for the Rare-made fighter, but also the name of a Fox TV crime drama. Upon trying the register the Killer Instinct name with the patent office, Microsoft was informed that it couldn’t do so as it would cause confusion and clash with the TV show.

This is no doubt a major blow to fans and Microsoft alike, but it’s not all doom and gloom. Basically, the name is the problem, and there’s no reason Microsoft and Rare couldn’t resurrect the title in all but name. As long as the game itself is a true revival of the series’ formula, does it really matter that it carries the same name? It could even have the same characters and setting.

Microsoft hasn’t made its next move clear at the time of wriitng, but if the studio has expressed interest in bringing back the game, don’t expect this to be the end of it.

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