The patent is currently pending and in the “notice of allowance” stage.
2014’s Shadow of Mordor might not have been the most groundbreaking game out there, and its Assassin’s Creed-inspired structure and open world format may not have been the most unique, but the game revolved around a central mechanic that took the industry by storm. Called the Nemesis system, it saw players creating emergent narratives all of their own, with NPCs reacting to and behaving differently based on players’ actions (and failures).
It’s a system that has been praised constantly since Shadow of Mordor first came out (and its sequel, Shadow of War, in 2017), but at the same time, countless people have wondered why more developers haven’t tried doing something similar in their own games. Well, as Mark Brown recently pointed out in his recent Game Maker’s Toolkit video, it seems Warner Bros. have filed a patent for the Nemesis system.
In fact, they’ve been trying to get the Nemesis system for a while. The patent itself is for “Nemesis characters, nemesis forts, social vendettas and followers in computer games”, and was even rejected once in 2019. After being re-filed, it is currently pending, but in the “notice of allowance” stage, which means it’s just some paperwork and payments away from being approved.
Fans of the system will not be thrilled in the slightest about the fact that Warner Bros are trying to file a patent for an entire gameplay system, seeing as if it is approved, it likely won’t be seen in non-WB games. Of course, we don’t see much of it as it is, but that door might be firmly shut soon.
You can watch Mark Brown’s full video on the Nemesis system below. It’s an interesting (and very informative one), so make sure to check it out.