Since its founding in 1982, Electronic Arts has been the source -- or at least the rights holder -- to many franchises that have reached "classic" status.
New trademark filings unearthed by Superannuation may hint that EA is reaching back into its catalog of classic games for a possible revival of aging brands. Just this month, EA filed trademarks for the Bullfrog Productions-originated properties Populous and Theme Park, and the EA action games Wing Commander and Road Rash.
1989's Populous was a "god game" designed by Peter Molyneux, the Bullfrog founder who's now lead man at Microsoft-owned Lionhead, developer of Fable. 1992's Theme Park another Bullfrog-developed game, was a management sim based around operating a theme park. EA acquired both properties when it purchased Bullfrog in 1995.
The motorcycle combat sim Road Rash debuted in 1991 and saw several iterations, while 1990's space sim Wing Commander saw sequels and even a film.
The filing of a trademark application isn't a 100 percent guarantee that a product launch will follow. For example, in 2007, Sega filed a new trademark application for "Dreamcast". That, of course, didn't lead to a revival of Sega's final console.
But sometimes, a filing is a precursor to a to-be-announced product. For instance, in late 2008, Sega filed a patent for Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram, a mech-based fighter that appeared on the Dreamcast. In 2009, Sega released the game as a download for Xbox 360.
The EA trademarks were also filed about the same time as Harvey Elliot, the head of EA Bright Light Studio who has roots with Bullfrog, said in a kikizo interview, "For me, I love the old Bullfrog IP, it got me really passionately into games, and I'm really proud that Bullfrog is part of the heritage of Bright Light".
"I'm personally a huge fan of Populous and Theme Park, they were some of my favorite games - many years ago, obviously - and I'd love to see both of those remade."
The last time Populous hit shelves was with Populous DS, developed by EA Japan and published by Xseed Games.
The US Patent Office requires trademark holders to renew their patents after a period of 10 years.