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article imageJack The Ripper Video Game In Production

By Wayne Santos     Oct 6, 2009 in Entertainment
A recent look at US trademark applications reveals that game publishing giant Electronic Arts has filed for a title based on the infamous 19th century serial killer.
The application, available for viewing at the Trademark Applications And Retrieval (TARR) system of the US Patent and Trademark Office, reveals that Electronic Arts has recently applied for a trademark on a product that is simply titled "The Ripper." While this in itself could be interpreted a number of ways, it coincides with an earlier slip in July to the LA Times that Visceral Games (formerly known as EA Redwood Shores Studio) was working on a game centering around the notorious killer.
This is also consistent with Visceral Games current agenda in pursuing violent, "new old intellectual property" projects. Previous to the name change, Visceral Games gained critical praise for last year's Dead Space, a science fiction horror game that utilized a game mechanic dubbed "strategic dismemberment" in which players could only survive attacks from mutated horrors by systematically removing one limb after another. Visceral Game's most recent project is the surprisingly titled Dante's Inferno, which directly takes as its source the famous Italian epic poem by Dante Alighieri , allowing players to take the role of Dante himself in a descent through the nine circles of Hell. Like the historical account of Jack the Ripper, the age of Alighieri's poem has rendered it public domain and not subject to extensive licensing agreements as is common with EA's other ongoing franchises such as Madden Football, FIFA or even the Rock Band series.
At the time of this writing, there is almost no information at all about the game, its release date, mechanics, or whether players will be tasked with hunting down Jack the Ripper or taking on the role of the famed killer himself. The game is almost certain to spark controversy, but EA is no stranger to critical media attention for its games. Last month, EA garnered some raised eyebrows from the industry when, as part of its promotion for Dante's Inferno, it sent $200 checks to various gaming media outlets, explaining the rationale for this apparent bribery as playing into the theme of Greed, which is a circle of Hell found within the game. Previous to that, Fox News, in January of 2008, ran a story about the science fiction game Mass Effect, which erroneously implied that digital, interactive pornography was built into the game, a statement that was later retracted when it became clear the panel expert who made the statement hadn't played the game, and was unaware of the actual M rated content in the title.
With Dante's Inferno slated for a February 2010 release, it's safe to speculate that The Ripper will hit stores is 2011 at the earliest. It's possible that more information will be released at 2010's Electronic Entertainment Expo.
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