Microsoft Renews Killer Instinct Trademark

When it was first announced that Rare had been acquired by Microsoft many years ago, some hoped that this would mean that the classic Killer Instinct franchise might once again see the light of day. Unfortunately, that never happened–but it might soon.

On the Microsoft-owned PlayXBLA website this morning, the company announced that it has renewed the trademark for Killer Instinct. Needless to say, this announcement is puzzling–it’s not all too often that a gaming company announces they’ve renewed a trademark unless they’re up to something.

Here’s what Microsoft had to say:

“With all due respect to our friends in the media who like to frequent trademark sites, We thought we’d break this one ourselves. :) Our legal eagles have authorized us to say: “We have either renewed or refiled a trademark application in various jurisdictions.”

Microsoft may have been willing to break the news themselves, but they didn’t give any hints as to what they’re up to. A likely scenario is that they plan to re-release Killer Instinct 1 and/or 2 on XBLA at some point, possibly with HD-ified graphics. A less likely scenario, but one I’d love to see, is that Microsoft finally wants Rare to make Killer Instinct 3.

In an interview from back in August, former Rare employee graphics art designer Donnchadh Murphy said that the developer did want to make Killer Instinct 3, but it was Microsoft that put that dream to rest.

“We all wanted to make KI3, but Microsoft [was] more interested in broadening their demographic than making another fighting game,” Murphy said in an interview with Not Enough Shaders. “So it never got made, I doubt it ever will.”

Hopefully Murphy’s wrong about that last part.