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WB Games Patents Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War Nemesis System

Middle-earth: Shadow of War

WB Games have successfully patented the Nemesis system seen in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War; after trying for six years.

IGN reports that the US Patent and Trademark Office released an issue notice (currently under a 404 error), stating that it would be in effect from February 23rd. The patent can be continued until 2035, if Warner Bros. continue to renew the patent.

In short, the Nemesis system featured special enemies who could return to fight the player another day. The character would get stronger, gaining new abilities and resistances to pose a greater challenge to players.

These Nemeses would then appear during missions, either learned of in advance or to surprise players seeing an “old foe” again. The various Nemeses will rise and fall in the ranks of Sauron’s Army depending on how they handle the player, and develop rivalries and other relationships with other Nemeses.

WB Games had been attempting to patent the system since 2015, which also includes players fortifying or attacking bases with armies to see who will win. The initial patents were rejected for being too similar to those held by Square Enix, QONQR, and Webkinz. Revisions had reportedly altered how specific details were phrased.

Namco (now Bandai Namco Entertainment) originally held the patent for minigames during loading screens, leading to very few of them until the patent expired in 2015. However, IGN points out that developers could still create similar systems (as seen in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Watch Dogs Legion); as long as they are not identical to the Nemesis system.

In November 2020, Amazon had a patent approved; designed to group online players based on their preferences and behaviors, including “toxic” players.

Image: Middle-earth: Shadow of War via Steam

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Taking his first steps onto Route 1 and never stopping, Ryan has had a love of RPGs since a young age. Now he's learning to appreciate a wider pallet of genres and challenges.