After multiple attempts, Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment has finally secured a patent for the Nemesis system, a celebrated element of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and its sequel Shadow of War.
IGN reports that US Patent and Trademark Office released an issue notice (offline at the time of writing) last week, saying that the patent will come into effect on February 23rd. Warner Bros has the option to maintain the patent until 2035.
The patent protects “Nemesis characters, nemesis forts, social vendettas and followers in computer games,” essentially making the series’ popular Nemesis system the property of Warner Bros.
For instance, the patent encompasses the hierarchy element of the Nemesis system, in which enemies’ positions in the hierarchy, as well as their names and appearance, would change due to the actions of the player – as well as remembering the player’s actions. Additionally, the patent covers the Social Conquest battles added in the 2017 sequel, Shadow of War, which allowed players to use Nemesis system NPCs to defend strongholds, and attack those of other players.
Any developer who creates a game featuring enough of the above elements to risk infringing on the patent must purchase a license from Warner Bros.
Warner Bros has been attempting to secure this patent for some time now, having first applied in 2015. The process has been slowed down by Warner Bros having to revise and resubmit their application several times.