Electronic Arts has filed two trademarks for "The Ripper," seemingly confirming a rumor that surfaced earlier this year that Visceral's next game would be based on the infamous London serial killer.
The trademark filings are for "computer game software," although details beyond that are completely non-existent. It does tie in rather nicely with an L.A. Times report from July, however, that the next title to come from EA studio Visceral Games would be based on Jack the Ripper, the 19th century British serial killer whose identity was never discovered. As the report noted, the copyright-free historical material is a "natural follow-up" to Visceral's Dante's Inferno, which is slated for release in early 2010.
Assuming that the report is accurate and that the game won't be based on some other, less famous "Ripper," I have to wonder exactly how EA is going to pull this off. Are we going to be Jack? That seems unlikely; putting players into the shoes of history's most famous homicidal maniac is an iffy proposition at best and even if EA was willing to push that envelope, Jack is credited with killing less than a dozen people - some say as few as five - and in most games I rack up that sort of body count just walking into a room.
An adventure game would seem more appropriate, but I don't see that as something Visceral would take on. Something else entirely, then? Perhaps Jack is not a person but a wicked spirit of murder that's threatening to rise again and the player, as some sort of Supernatural-esque ghost hunter, must battle through the mean streets of modern London to put it down for good.
Or something like that. Who knows? We've dropped a line to EA asking if they'd like to throw some real answers our way and if they actually get back to us, we'll let you know.