The Nemesis System is a genius AI system we wish more game copied. But now there’s a legal reason devs can’t do that anymore.
Publisher Shadow Of Mordor and Shadow Of War games, WB Games, have applied for a patent to the Nemesis System the games are known for.
The patent has been applied since 2015, but after various revisions and resubmissions, as of February 3, the US Patent And Trademark Office has issued a notice that the patent will go into effect starting February 23 this year.
The patent specifically covers the Nemesis System as seen in Monolith’s Shadow Of Mordor/War games. This includes the system to procedurally generate NPCs in a heirarchy and interact and remember player actions, can have appearance change from player interaction, and their place in heirarchy can be changed.
The other part of the mechanic covers the Social Conquest part of Shadow Of War, where you can build strongholds with the NPCs from the Nemesis System and raid/defend from other players.
It’s a shame we can’t see other devs try and replicate the excellent system Monolith have made, but that doesn’t mean that’s the end of dynamic NPC systems. For example, Ubisoft have their own Nemesis System-like systems, as seen in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s Mercenaries, and Watch Dogs: Legion’s Play As Anyone feature (which has a pretty in-depth NPC generation system with relationship tracking).
Hopefully WB Games will make use of the Nemesis System patent for its upcoming games, and not just squat on it.