Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has succeeded in patenting the Nemesis system at the heart of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and its sequel Shadow of War.
As reported by IGN, the patent has been issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and will take effect on February 23, 2021. Warner Bros, which published both of the Tolkien-based action-RPGs, will have the option to keep the patent until 2035.
The patent itself is titled 'Nemesis characters, nemesis forts, social vendettas and followers in computer games,' and looks to cover all aspects of the Nemesis system created by Monolith Productions to add more gameplay depth and narrative meaning to NPC encounters.
The patent also covers the Social Conquest battles in Shadow of War, which allow players to attack each other's strongholds to see whose army
Warner Bros. has been attempting to patent the Nemesis system since 2015, and after a number of setbacks that resulted in it revising and resubmitting the application, has finally succeeded.
At this point, it's unclear what Warner Bros. would do if another studio attempted to implement a Nemesis-style system in the future, given similar systems have already been added to major franchises like Assassin's Creed.