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Fate of Gearbox's Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 in question, Gearbox responds (update)

Brothers in Arms: Furious 4
Brothers in Arms: Furious 4

Over the top WWII action game Brothers in Arms: Furious 4's release in question.

The release of Gearbox Software's Inglourious Basterds-flavored World War II game Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 was called into question this week after it was discovered that publisher Ubisoft had abandoned the game's trademarks.

Ubisoft hasn't shown the game publicly for close to a year, with developer Gearbox Software similarly quiet about the game's development as it focuses on getting Borderlands 2 and Aliens: Colonial Marines out this year. That silence prompted expert internet researcher "superannuation" to peek at the game's status, noticing that Ubisoft had abandoned two trademarks for Furious 4 in March 2012. The reason? No response from Ubisoft to the US Patent and Trademark Office's request for action on the mark.

Ubisoft had no positive news to offer when contacted by Polygon. "We have no new details to share at this time," said a rep. E-mails to Gearbox Software have not been answered.

First shown at E3 2011, Furious 4 was a stylized diversion from the norm for the Brothers in Arms series, which has typically traded in a more realistic approach to World War II.

Ubisoft showed a pre-rendered cinematic trailer to the public, but showed actual gameplay to media at E3 2011.

A period of quiet from Gearbox Software is not particularly abnormal. The company had similar periods of radio silence during the development of the original Borderlands and Aliens: Colonial Marines.

Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 was originally planned for a 2012 release. Perhaps we'll get an update on the game at this year's E3 show.

Update: A Gearbox rep tells Polygon that the nature of the trademark abandonment was due to the way Ubisoft applied for the Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 trademarks last year and not necessarily due to any change in status of the game. Like Ubisoft, Gearbox did not provide Polygon with an update on the game itself. The developer's statement follows.

"Initially, Ubisoft submitted the trademarks on behalf of Gearbox with Gearbox and Ubisoft as co-applicants. The USPTO rejected this approach (about 9 months ago), noting Gearbox's 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. To avoid confusion with the USPTO, Gearbox will be filing its future Brothers in Arms-related trademarks directly and individually."

Past Brothers in Arms trademarks were applied for solely by Gearbox Software.

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