The Nemesis System, which was notably featured in Monolith Productions' Middle-earth: Shadow of War, and more recently, Shadow of War, has now officially been patented by publisher WB Games. The acquisition of this patent means that WB Games is now the official keeper of the system and no other companies can look to implement it in games of their own without obtaining a license from WB itself.
Ever since the release of Shadow of Mordor all the way back in 2014, WB Games has seemingly been looking to acquire this patent for the Nemesis System. The publisher first began submitting the proper documentation to go about this in 2015, but was shot down on multiple instances due to the application being too similar to other patents. After years of refinement though, the US Patent and Trademark Office ended up accepting the application on February 3, 2021. February 23rd is when the patent will then go into effect with it not set to expire until 2035.
For the most part, the specific area of the Nemesis System that has been patented comes about with how NPCs interact with the player. If a procedurally-generated character in a game world interacts with the player character and then remembers previous actions that the player has taken, has their look changed, or has their placement in a hierarchy of enemies changed, then WB Games should now have a corner on this type of feature. The Conquest battles--in which you could charge the stronghold of a certain enemy within the Nemesis System--from Shadow of War are also covered in this patent as well.
As a whole, it's a bit of a bummer to see that WB Games has now allowed only themselves to use this system in the future unless it approves the feature to be used elsewhere. The Nemesis System is one that has a lot of potential and for other developers to have been able to freely iterate on it in new, unique ways in the future would have been interesting to see come about.
That being said, the Nemesis System itself is going on seven years old and hasn't been prominently featured in many games outside of the Shadow of Mordor series. As such, perhaps this isn't as much of a loss for the video games industry as a whole as one would originally think.
Regardless, what do you think about this entire situation? Are you now glad that WB Games has become the sole license holder of this system? Be sure to let me know what you think either down in the comments or over on Twitter at @MooreMan12.