While a new game may not currently be in the works, it’s not out of the question
Back in November we ran a story on the head of Microsoft’s Xbox division Phil Spencer’s visit to Rare’s offices where he tweeted about having a look at its latest project. This visit, coupled with the filing for the pseudo mark Battle Toads in relation to the company’s Battletoads trademark sparked some wishful thinking and speculation among diehard fans of the property.
These incidents taken on their own don’t add up to much. Most likely it’s just the mundane day-to-day work that lawyers do in the background to safeguard their employer’s intellectual property and a high-profile Microsoft executive doing what he does — getting in face time with his company’s subsidiaries and publishing something intriguing on social media to spark interest.
However, in a recent Inner Circle podcast, creative director at Microsoft Studios Ken Lobb did mention the property specifically when he sat down for a short chat with the podcasters. When discussing Microsoft’s enviable position of ownership of Rare’s beloved IPs, Lobb had this to say about their potential future use:
“So will there ever be another Banjo, Viva, Blast Corps, Battletoads? Yeah, some day. And I think the reason you see things like Battletoads revived is because we know there’s value, so we renewed the trademark.”
Making sure not to set expectations unrealistically high, he followed up by saying, “Does that mean it’s coming this year? No. Does that mean it’ll never come? Absolutely not. We have a lot of passion internally for each of these games that you mentioned and we have surprises in store in the near and long future, but understand that what it’s really about is, we want to build this suite of IP [so] that we can add to that list of ‘let’s build some new things,’ ‘let’s build some recent sequels,’ and ‘let’s do some crazy stuff’ like dig back into a portfolio of IP and build some games that people love.”
Of course, all this should be taken with a sizable chunk of salt. He’s gone on record to state that the company does recognize the inherent value of the properties Microsoft now owns, talked specifically about revisiting key Rare franchises but wisely stops well short of giving any sort of meaningful timeline of when any of this might happen.
Still, hearing that these series won’t be left to rot on the vine under Microsoft’s care is at least reassuring. While offering nothing concrete in regards to a Battletoads title that might be on the drawing board, Lobb reassures the listeners that “we love the old IP as much as you do,” and requests for us to “please be patient, because [we] can only build so much at a time.”