Shadow of Mordor: what franchise could benefit most from the Nemesis system?

I’m sure the majority of those who played Monolith’s Shadow of Mordor would tell you it proved to be one of 2014’s biggest gaming surprises, and the simple yet effective Nemesis system was a major part of that. Messing with a military hierarchy and building heated rivalries with the Uruk’s that handed your behind to you on a regular basis is a wonderfully involving and personal experience. In fact having an angry, slow-witted brute that you ticked off earlier coming back for revenge was scarily reminiscent of a night out I once (alright twice..three times…often) had. Anyway, it seems inevitable that this dandy system will be pilfered by other more established games and perhaps even bettered, but which games would benefit most from it?

A popular choice seems to be Batman, because everything fits Bats. Who wouldn’t buy a Cooking with The Dark Knight game for instance? Don’t lie, you totally would. In the case of the Nemesis system, Batman is indeed seemingly tailor-made for it. Stalking and terrorizing criminal underlings to get info on the head honchos is sort of already part of the Arkham series, but the likes of Joker, Bane and Two-Face aside, the common bad guys have zero personality to them at present. With the Nemesis system in place, Batman could repeatedly come up against common thugs with a score to settle just because he got all up in their face during an attempted robbery that one time. Nothing would feel more like being the Caped Crusader than toppling criminal families from the bottom up, before eventually facing the uber-villains we all know and love.

While I agree Batman would be a fine choice, it is probably a bit late in the day for Rocksteady to implement the system into Arkham Knight, plus there’s the fact this game is supposedly the last in the series. Any chance to use the Nemesis system could probably be burned out long before The Dark Knight ever got to use it properly.So I’ll move on to something that is further back in the release schedules and could feasibly wedge the Nemesis system in: Hitman.


Agent 47’s last adventure in Hitman Absolution was given a rather lukewarm reception, but an approximation of the way Mordor allows you to mess with hierarchy to get to your main target could be a breath of fresh air for the continuation of the series. Each hit could have its own open level, with one main target and a set of henchman, rivals and associates to use how you see fit in your quest for the perfect hit. 

47 could plant evidence on one shady target to facilitate their demise by their rival’s hand. Or he could use one of his disguises to plant seeds of doubt in a henchman for a wealthy drug lord, causing said henchman to try and usurp his tough boss and give you an easier conclusion to that particular contract. You could also have a more free-flowing level of gameplay that gives you the opportunity to have another crack at your target if they escape a botched assassination attempt. Because they’d remember how you tried offing them last time, their security would change in relevant ways. They could even potentially send out more contract killers to get you if you were identified (which would be a good time to implement Dark Souls’ invasion system, having random players being assigned to kill you off as slyly as possible). Something along these lines could bring back some of the sharp intelligence the Hitman series was known for. Absolution was a decent game, but not a good Hitman one. Always feeling like a compromise to expand potential sales rather than deliver a purer, shinier Hitman.

The third, final and most likely of my options to actually use the system is Far Cry. The sandbox approach is already there and being Ubisoft-made means it shares many of Mordor’s tropes to begin with. That includes the freeform tactical choices you have handy for eliminating enemies as you see fit, so bringing down a dictator by bumping off his captains would slot into the Far Cry universe quite easily, but it may add a whole new level of depth that Far Cry 4 could have done with rather than having so much pointless filler. You’d get rebels to infiltrate the enemy and take their place among them. Working their way up to get you inside info and access to better weapons and equipment, all the while making it easier for you to overthrow whatever brash, over-the-top nut job we see in the next game. That is the spirit of what makes Shadow of Mordor work and it would be interesting to see it in Far Cry.

There are other existing franchises that will no doubt pinch the Nemesis system from Monolith and that’s only fair considering Mordor borrows so much from a few itself. The above are just my ideas, I’m sure someone out there has thought of an even better way of implementing one of 2014’s most intriguing mechanics.