Warner Bros. wards off potential copycats by patenting its Nemesis system

You may know the Nemesis system from playing Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. It changed the way we perceived and fought against NPC opponents, forever.

The Nemesis system originally unveiled in Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor really has been a game changer, and has left many players hooked for similar experiences.

So far, no other developer has been able to precisely replicate the Nemesis system. And with Warner Brothers Games finally being granted a patent to this particular bit of intellectual property, no one ever will. Until it expires, of course.

nemesis system patented

After six years of attempts, Warner Bros. Games has finally succeeded in attaining a patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office. It will go into effect as of 23 February 2021, where the company will also be given the option to renew the licence up until 2035.

The Nemesis system changed the game forever when players were first exposed to it with Shadow of Mordor. We said goodbye to the mindless grind of killing nameless enemies as the dawn of artificially intelligent NPCs gave rise to a new hope.

In the Nemesis system, enemies will be procedurally generated, internally vying for dominance in their predetermined hierarchy. They then gain knowledge of the player’s actions and adapts with each interaction, which in turn results in varied encounters, combat, and characters.

When combined with a diversely realised game and the millions of interactions therein, it adds unprecedented levels of playability. That’s how Shadow of Mordor became one of the best open world games of all time.

There’s a loophole in this patent though. Game developers can still create similar systems so long as it’s not an exact replica of the Nemesis System. Notable examples of other companies trying to create dynamically-generated opponents include Watch Dog Legion’s ‘play as anybody’ system and the mercenaries from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.