Furious 4 Trademark Snafu is Not a Sign It's Been Canceled, Insists Gearbox

Illustration for article titled emFurious 4/em Trademark Snafu is Not a Sign Its Been Canceled, Insists Gearbox

We haven't heard much out of Brothers in Arms: Furious 4, a game announced a year ago at E3, one that is quite a departure from the tone of other games preceding it. That, coupled with the lapsed trademarks surrounding the game, sent out the rumor that the game was canceled.

A spokesman for Gearbox Software, the game's maker, explained the trademark issue when Kotaku inquired. He said both Gearbox and Ubisoft, the games publisher, were listed as co-applicants for Furious 4's marks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. But the USPTO rejected that filing because Gearbox holds the exclusive registrations for all Brothers in Arms trademarks.


"Given the USPTO choice between abandonment or continued administrative confusion on the matter, we simply opted for administrative abandonment until re-filing becomes necessary," he said. "To avoid confusion with the USPTO, Gearbox will be filing its future Brothers in Arms-related trademarks directly and individually."

To wit: Gearbox still owns Brothers in Arms. It should be noted, however, that Kotaku also directly inquired as to the status of Furious 4—if it was still under development, had not been delayed, would appear at E3, or if any development staff attached to the game had been laid off. Gearbox declined to answer those questions.

Rather than a dramatic retelling of events in World War II, Furious 4 is a more stylized and outlandish game, involving four characters with special traits and weapons on a kind of Howling Commandos-style mission inside Germany. More than one critic has called it an homage to Quentin Tarantino's film Inglourious Basterds.

I saw Furious 4 demonstrated by Gearbox at E3 last year. In an interview afterward, Ubisoft's Nouredine Abboud acknowledged Furious 4's divergence from what Brothers in Arms has come to mean, and told me the game was conceived mostly because Ubisoft did not want to go four years between games in the Brothers in Arms series.


The last Brothers in Arms game was 2008's Hell's Highway.

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I like Gearbox - Borderlands built up a lot of good will in my book, but the WW2 games just need to stop. I don't care if there's some new spin on it, I don't care if it's an homage to Inglorious Basterds... I just can't swallow any more WW2.

I'm pretty sure most gamers feel the same. If this game died, I'm not sure anyone would care.