Microsoft has filed a trademark for “Battletoads,” hinting at a possible revival for Rare’s early-’90s brawler, according to the eagle-eyed geeks of NeoGAF. The possibility of a Battletoads revival was hinted at earlier in 2014 with a card appearing in the background of a cut scene in Kinect Sports Rivals (which Rare developed). Xbox head Phil Spencer also mentioned his fondness for the franchise on Twitter back in 2013 when discussing which Rare franchises to look at next after the success of Killer Instinct.
Battletoads launched in 1991 to compete directly with the popular Ninja Turtles. The original game was a notoriously difficult beat ’em up for NES in the vein of Double Dragon. Rare would go on to earn great acclaim for ’90s classics like Donkey Kong Country and GoldenEye 007. The Battletoads franchise spun off into a few other games, including a Double Dragon crossover, as well as an aborted TV pilot.
The anthropomorphic, amphibious heroes of the series are Rash, Pimple, and Zitz. The first game came out in the same year as ToeJam & Earl when the video game industry was experimenting with crude humor and the boundaries of taste in a medium still ostensibly for children.
Despite its reputation for serving up a punishing challenge (particularly in the racing sections that demanded perfect reflexes or just brute-force memorization), the game is remembered fondly by fans, and has been featured in numerous lists in recent years of series that need reviving (including our own). This new filing hints at a long-anticipated return that ought to be well-received by gamers in their 20s and 30s.