We all remember Middle-earth Shadow of Mordor, it was a critically acclaimed title published by Warner Bros. and developed by Monolith Studios. The title was the first game to utilize WB’s Nemesis System.
the Nemesis System allows for NPCs and the hierarchy to be manipulated by the player character – NPCs remember the action and encounters with the player, effectively making a never-ending gameplay loop with mini-narratives constructed by the player’s gameplay style.
The patent for the Nemesis System was initially filed as far back as 2015 and had been denied on several attempts due to similarities with other systems, such as ones held by Square Enix or even Webkinz. However, WB was able to alter the language and get the system patented this time around, making it official on February 23, 2021.
So long as Warner Bros. maintains the fees associated with the filing, WB will retain the patent until 2035. The patent makes it rather clear that all characters, forts, social vendettas, and followers are property of both WB and Monolith. For many gamers, the Nemesis System is a revolutionary mechanic that should have become the norm in many genres, but now with the patent in the hands of Warner Bros., it would be safe to assume that it would become core to the future developments coming from its studios moving forward.
Now if another developer wishes to use this system, they will require permission from Warner Bros. It would be possible for another project to utilize a system in the same vein, but not the same, or else WB would be able to take legal action if upcoming video games utilized something that it deemed too close.
What’s interesting is that the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor did not have a very complex version of the Nemesis System, because the consoles could not handle it. However, now that the current consoles are two generations older, the Xbox Series X|S and PS5 could utilize the Nemesis System greatly.
This news comes after the announcement that the new Harry Potter Legacy had been delayed out of 2021 and pushed back to 2022, maybe to implement an improved version of the Nemesis System, little detail has been revealed about the Harry Potter game save an early gameplay trailer perhaps, this is an indication of the direction the anticipated title is going in.
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