Warner Bros application for a patent on Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor’s Nemesis System has finally been granted.
IGN reports that the US Patent and Trademark Office released an issue notice on February 3 2021, stating that the patent would go into effect on February 23 2021.
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Warner Bros will have the option to maintain the patent through until 2035, provided that they pay the required fees.
As NME reported last week, WB first attempted to patent the Nemesis System came in 2016, but it had not been accepted. In 2019 it was listed as pending on GooglePatents after Warner Bros had pushed to continue pursuing the patent.
The patent, which was filed as “Nemesis characters, nemesis forts, social vendettas and followers in computer games,” essentially makes it so that other developers are unable to use the Monolith’s Nemesis system, turning the systems into the property of Warner Bros.
The Nemesis system was originally developed by Monolith Productions for 2014’s Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor was well received for its ability to track player’s in-game actions, such as their victories and defeats at the hands of the game’s various procedurally generated Orcs.
Vlambeer developer Rami Ismail was quick to point out on Twitter that despite the patent being registered, “having one doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll enforce it or win a case on it.”
Since I was forced to learn a bit about this: a patent is not a copyright & having one doesn't necessarily mean they'll enforce it or win a case on it.
What it does mean is they made a move to ensure they legally could & that in itself is "meh" enough that I hate it. https://t.co/jHzffdjPto
— Rami Ismail (رامي) (@tha_rami) February 6, 2021
Narrative designer Cat Manning also tweeted a thread that suggested that the patent was “so broad as to be absurd” and that they worry the patent is “so broad that I’m sill worried that it’s a license to stop ANY similar work from being developed!”
I have zero interest in copying the Nemesis system whole cloth! Personally there are a number of other things there I would do differently. But the patent is so broad that I'm still worried that it's a license to stop ANY similar work from being developed!
— Cat Manning (🐅,✨) (@catacalypto) February 6, 2021
In July 2020, WCCFTech reported on the rumour that the next Batman game in development by Warner Bros. Montreal may well feature the Nemesis system.