InXile Entertainment, has filed a trademark for what may be one of their next projects, Autoduel. If it is what they are working on, Autdoduel would continue the recent trend from InXile of resurrecting brands from the 1980s and bringing them into the modern day, as the original Autoduel was published in 1985 by Origin as a vehicular combat RPG. Based on the Steve Jackson Games series Car Wars, Autoduel was generally well-received and particularly noted for a punishing difficulty.
If it does come back, it wouldn’t be the first time that Autoduel has attempted to return in the modern era. In 2013, co-founder and art director of InXile, Maxx Kaufman, as part of PixelBionic launched a kickstarter for MotorGun a game that had been titled prior to the kickstarter as … Autoduel. That project was somewhat different being that it was an online vehicular combat game that was mixing inspiration from Insterstate ’76, World of Tanks, and of course, Autoduel. While the campaign failed, reaching less than 10% before being cancelled, it may be that the idea, as well as the numerous requests for a single player mode (which in fact got them to add one to the project) stuck with Maxx and Brian to return to.
One interesting, if possible irrelevant note, is that on the MotorGun stretch goals Chris Avellone was listed as someone to bring in to work on a comic for it and join the team. Avellone, one of the founders of Obsidian who is now freelance, has also worked with InXile on other projects in the past, and may be interested if they are doing an Autoduel resurrection given his willingness to work on MotorGun. Other notable names who were involved in the MotorGun kickstarter were David Jaffe and Zack Norman, who were two of the members of the advisory board and known for their work in some large projects—Jaffe on Twisted Metal and God of War, while Norman’s previous work includes Interstate ’76 and Mechwarrior 2.
The mark was originally filed back in July, and was noticed by RPGCodex member Jedi Master Redek who posted it last night. It is an intent to use one for a video game, so there’s no concern here of it being a weird pachinko machine or anything like that. Jedi Master Redek was also the person who broke the story about InXile trademarking Van Buren back in 2014. For those who don’t know, Van Buren was the title of the cancelled Fallout 3 by Interplay that was being worked on by Black Isle and many of its elements made it into Obsidian’s Fallout: New Vegas, as there are numerous former Black Isle team members working there.
A trademark filed, though, does not mean there is necessarily a project in the offing. It may be just something they are considering, testing, or working on. InXile has filed several other trademarks like Van Buren and Meantime last year, neither of which have gone anywhere. Additionally, they hold trademarks for titles like Desert Ranger, which is likely a case of brand protection given the tie that name has to the Wasteland franchise. Also, if you are worried about it being a faked filing, you can rest somewhat reassured with Brian Fargo’s tweet on the event:
Once again the Codex is the first on the scene… https://t.co/T1AbifM0T8
— Brian Fargo (@BrianFargo) October 22, 2015
In possibly related news, InXile announced only a day or two ago that they have a new studio opening in New Orleans, which is expected to employ 50 people over the next 5 years according to a press release by Governor of Louisiana’s web page. A local paper, the NOLA, covered the event some and reported that Matt Findley will be leading the team of 50 that will be formed around new hires and 12 of the California Office that are moving out to New Orleans to form the nucleus of the new studio. While the team is expected to work on Bard’s Tale 4, the NOLA article mentions new projects, which might infer that they would be working on a project like a new Autoduel before it would seek crowdfunding.