2012 was not a great year for Square-Enix’s console game business. The calendar year started strong thanks to swift sales of Final Fantasy XIII-2, but investors don’t care about games that come out in January! The fiscal year ends in March, and Square’s big guns from March 2012 to December, namely Sleeping Dogs and Hitman: Absolution, didn’t hit the mark. Square-Enix reported a $61 million loss for the period. If only it were still 2011 when Deus Ex: Human Revolution came out and “favorably grew sales of packaged software” as the earnings report at the time put it. Looks like Square’s going back to the cybernetic well, as a trademark for a new Deus Ex game appeared online on Tuesday.
Square-Enix registered a trademark for Deus Ex: Human Defiance on Tuesday in the UK, a trademark that covers first and foremost “computer games software,” but also “printed matter” like books and “entertainment services.”
Given how the Eidos Montreal-made game helped Square-Enix weather some tumultuous financial times two years back, it’s no wonder the company is interested in continuing the series. Square-Enix CEO Yoichi Wada said as much in November 2011, confirming that Deus Ex was one of ten core intellectual properties that would become franchises for the company. There is also a Deus Ex: Human Revolution movie in the works that is currently being helmed by horror director Scott Derrickson.
Games industry hawk Superannuation also spotted a number of job postings last summer for a “semi open-world action adventure title that responds to player choice and interaction” developed by a “major Canadian company.” Since Eidos Montreal has already discussed its work on Thief 4, another semi-open world game that responds to choice, Superannuation pegged this as a sign that Deus Ex 4 was in active development.
There are other possibilities, though. Straight Right games, the Australian studio behind the Wii U port of Mass Effect 3, confirmed in October that it’s working on a port of a major franchise from Square-Enix for Nintendo’s console. Studio head Tom Crago said that it was a 2013 title from Square-Enix. With Tomb Raider out next week and no word of a Wii U port in sight, it could be an updated version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution given a fancy new name, possibly even upgraded for new consoles like PlayStation 4.
There’s another possibility as well. With the initials “HD” in the subtitle, Human Defiance could always be an HD remake of the 2000 original Deus Ex.