Don’t get your hopes about Konami renewing the Japanese trademarks for Metal Gear Rising and Castlevania.
In April 2021, Konami caused a stir when fans noticed that the video game development and publishing company had filed trademarks for Metal Gear Rising and Akumajou Dracula (the Japanese name for Castlevania) in Japan. As both the Metal Gear and Castlevania series have been dormant on consoles for some time, these trademarks led some to speculate about new games in the series. Could it be true?
Konami clarified to Inverse the reality of the situation, which could be viewed as a little disappointing for Castlevania and Metal Gear fans.
What happened — An April 19 Gematsu report made note that Konami had filed trademarks in Japan for Metal Gear Rising and Akumajou Dracula on April 6. Following this report, Inverse reached out to a Konami representative to clarify the meaning of these trademarks.
“I’ve confirmed with Konami that this is a renewal for the trademarks they have registered in the past,” the representative tells Inverse.
The most recent Castlevania game was a collection of several older titles.
What it means — It simply means that the preexisting trademarks were slated to expire, so Konami had to ensure that the company retains control over the Metal Gear Rising and Akumajou Dracula trademarks in Japan. Otherwise, other companies in Japan could use these names and brands without Konami’s approval. So contrary to some speculation, this is not any indication that new games are in development.
Even if these franchises aren’t getting new AAA games, they’re still Konami franchises that the Japanese publisher will want to keep a hold of. Even if they just want the names for pachinko machines or merchandise, this is something the company needs to do. As a fan, you shouldn’t see this as anything more than Konami committing to their ownership of Castlevania and Metal Gear Rising for now.
What’s next? If these trademarks are simple renewals, then does that mean Konami will never make another Castlevania or Metal Gear Rising game? Not necessarily. There are rumors aplenty circulating about both franchises, even if Konami hasn’t confirmed any of them.
Still, Konami asserting that these are renewals means these specific trademarks shouldn’t be taken as a direct tease for a new Castlevania or Metal Gear Rising. While trademarks have leaked projects in the past, it’s usually in relation to a new game or franchise. Renewals like this typically only ensure that the company in question keeps ownership over the IP’s name.
Konami wouldn’t want to lose rights to Akumajou Dracula's name in Japan right before the launch of Castlevania Season 4 on Netflix. As for Metal Gear Rising, that’s a well-regarded game still for sale on Steam, so Konami doesn’t want to lose the rights to that game’s title either.
For now, the only Konami series revival that’s officially announced is GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon, which comes to Steam Early Access in May. As fans, we can only hope that Konami will decide to return to the Metal Gear and Castlevania series someday.