Sony has let the trademark for their long-in-development first party title, The Last Guardian, slide into oblivion; marking the latest development for the seemingly beleagured title.
The news of the trademark expiration is just the latest chapter in the game’s troubled development. The last news tidbit being that as well as not being ready for E3 2012, Fumito Ueda, the director of the project, decided to step down and become a part-time consultant for the project; further muddying any sort of potential release date for the highly anticipated Team Ico product.
Sensationalist doomsday paranoia aside, I don’t feel there is significant cause for alarm here. Here’s why.
According to the nattily acronym’d USPTO TARR report, the trademark wasn’t kept because “no Statement of Use or Extension Request [was] timely filed after Notice of Allowance was issued,”.
There really are two things that could happen here.
Firstly, Sony could merely have taken their off of the ball and allowed the trademark to lapse without knowledge; they have the ability to reapply for the trademark within two months to reinstate it to how it was prior to the expiration. Though unlikely, it is possible.
Secondly, and I personally believe this to be the most likely, the trademark was allowed to lapse because Sony simply don’t intend to use it anymore. By that, I mean to infer that The Last Guardian as we currently know it, might be undergoing a name change; rendering the trademark superfluous. In this instance, I would expect to see a new trademark registered shortly for whatever the game ends up being called.
Call me overly optimistic, but I just don’t see Sony letting The Last Guardian rot. If anything, don’t be surprised if the game ends up heading next Playstation 4/Orbis or whatever that ends up being called.