Warner Bros get 'Nemesis System' patent

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Warner Bros get 'Nemesis System' patent

Warner Bros have successfully managed to patent the 'Nemesis System' after years of trying.

As reported last week, Warner Bros filed their patent in 2016 for "Nemesis characters, nemesis forts, social vendettas and followers in computer games" based on code created by Monolith Productions in the Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor games.

The patent was initially rejected in 2019, but by the United States Patent and Trademark Office but Warner Bros challenged the decision. In October 2020, a "Notice of Allowance" was issued on the patent.

It was only a matter of time before Warner Bros were awarded the patent and that time has come. IGN reports the USPTO has released an issue notice (currently offline) on 3rd February that confirms the patent will go into effect on 23rd February 2021 and has an option to maintain until 2035.

This is an honestly terrible decision for all involved. This is not a win, this most likely does not mean we will be getting lots of games that use the Nemesis System, it just means no one else can use it. The definitions of this patent are so broad as to be unreasonable, they cover so much that people seemingly cannot use even fragments of this system. Warner Bros now have zero motivation to build on this technology because there is no risk someone else will do it first, the system is likely to get trotted out maybe once, and then it will gather dust until 2035.

Of course, this is not the first video gaming patent in history, but it is one of the most restrictive. BioWare has a patent on the Mass Effect dialogue wheel, Sega used to have a patent on the Crazy Taxi compass arrow, but those are mainly aesthetics rather than actual mechanics. Patenting a specific design or build seems reasonable, patenting concepts seems like a slippery slope. This is more akin to Nintendo's patent on the sanity meter from Eternal Darkness, which they obtained and then left to gather dust because they never had to worry about anyone else making money off the concept.

At the very least give us a Shadow of Mordor 3 before 2035 rolls around, Warner Bros. Make this nonsense worth our while even a little.

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