When Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor launched, people all over the world quickly became enraptured by its unique Nemesis system. These same people have likely spent countless hours scratching their heads as to why similar systems haven’t emerged in other games since – as it turns out, Warner Bros. took out a patent for it.
The news comes from a new video posted by Game Maker’s Toolkit (cheers, PSU). You can check out the video for yourself below.
“If there’s one question people often ask of the Nemesis system, it’s, ‘Why haven’t we seen it in other games?'” the narrator says. “Well, for one thing, the developers at Monolith actually, and annoyingly, have a patent for the system, meaning that other studios may be scared to use a similar system and face legal action.” In other words, Warner Bros. will go full Warchief-who-just-killed-you on any devs who attempt to copy its Nemesis system.
The video goes on to discuss a similar instance in which The Simpsons: Hit and Run was accused of copying Crazy Taxi’s patented driving mechanics.
That being said, Warner Bros. currently has a variety of upcoming titles that could freely make use of the Nemesis system, or something similar to it. It’s possible that we could see it pop up in the likes of Hogwarts Legacy, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, or Gotham Knights, given that Avalanche, Rocksteady, and (obviously) WB Games Montreal are all subsidiaries of Warner Bros.
While patents usually pertain to hardware, it’s not unheard of for a developer to take out a patent for certain gameplay mechanics. As mentioned above, Sega used to hold a patent for Crazy Taxi’s unique driving, while Take-Two recently took out a patent that appears to be related to smarter NPC AI. Back in 2018, we reported that Blizzard had even patented Overwatch’s Play of the Game animation. It seems there’s a good reason as to why we don’t often see major ideas from certain blockbuster games appearing elsewhere.
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Cian Maher is the Lead Features Editor at TheGamer. He’s also had work published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Verge, Vice, Wired, and more. You can find him on Twitter @cianmaher0.
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