After several attempts to patent the system since 2015, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) finally added its seal of approval this past Wednesday, February 3rd. A notice spotted by IGN states that the patent will go into effect on February 23rd. WB Games can maintain the patent through 2035, should it choose to pay the required fees.
Despite being a thing since 2015, the patent application only started making rounds last week when a lead developer at Obsidian Entertainment took to Twitter to criticize WB Games. Calling the move a “load of shit,” Josh Sawyer argued against legally restricting gameplay mechanics. “If you take someone’s design and make a better version of it, you should be given a trophy and a triumph through the streets and the people who made the previous version should applaud you and say, ‘wow that was really cool,’” he added.
It’s unclear what prompted WB’s decision and what its implications may be. It’s possible that the publisher will be willing to license the system to studios that wish to use it. However, that sounds like it’ll be a complicated process in practice and may be an unnecessary development cost.
For now, all we know is that using the Nemesis System without WB’s approval will probably result in an expensive legal battle, so we’re unlikely to see it being used in any non-WB games.