The excellent website Lost Levels, dedicated to covering games that weren’t (not to be confused with the other excellent site Games That Weren’t), regaled this excellent tale of Armen Casarjian and the unlikely tale of what could have been an excellent tribute sequel to one of the best games ever made, River City Ransom.
The story’s not long, so I’ll summarize. In 2003, when Armen was 21 and working for Atari, he found out that the trademark for River City Ransom was running out (for the love of God, how?), and on a whim applied for it. Lo and behold, he got it. After assembling a small team, they attempted to fulfill all our dreams and make a sequel for the Game Boy Advance.
And because nothing works out like the movies would make you believe, Armen found out at a convention that Atlus just then (a decade and a half after the first release) decided to make a sequel to River City Ransom on the Game Boy Advance. Cruel, cruel irony.
Against the recommendation of his lawyer, Armen and his scrappy little crew backed off with their project, considering they only owned the trademark on the title, and not the charachters, plot or music.
And now if you don’t mind, I’m gonna Google how to research trademark expiration.