Speculation that Sony is preparing to unveil the sequel to ICO - one of the PS2's most beautifully emotive and absorbing adventure titles - looks set to increase as we close in on next week's E3 trade show, following a report on Quiter that claims Sony Computer Entertainment registered "NICO" as a trademark in Japan towards the end of February.
Sony has remained stubbornly silent on the subject ever since images featuring the first game's titular hero on horseback leaked from an internal Sony video presentation last year. At the time we were told the game was called NICO, and although this all still falls under the heading of speculation, the reported registration of the trademark is bound to intensify expectations of an announcement during next week's epic trade exhibition.
Although ICO didn't do very well in Europe (and is annoyingly hard to get hold of as a result of the small number of units shipped), it was celebrated amongst those who played it for the way it drew you in to the incomprehensible mystery of a little boy locked away in a labyrinthine and enchanted castle, and determined not only to escape, but to help a weak and unintelligible young girl make it out at the same time. The game's visuals - beautiful in an artistic sense more than anything - and its simple, engrossing puzzle-based gameplay won the hearts of many who played it, and although sometimes criticised for its short length, it's still a game we return to time and again to reaffirm our faith in the power of the medium.
Whether Sony will officially announce a sequel in due course remains to be seen, but if it does happen then you can be sure it'll be something worth looking forward to.