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 rumour that the game was cancelled.
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 US 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 stylised 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.