The “This system is going to be nicked by every other game in the next few years” Award
Game design is nothing if not iterative, what one game pioneers many more shall build upon and improve. In terms of how the first person shooter genre you can draw a straight line from Wolfenstein 3D to Titanfall. Games evolve in much the same way all life does, slow mutations over the generations with the good mutations being passed on, and the evolutionary dead ends being forgotten about. This year we didn’t see a great amount of experimentation with games but there is one game that has pioneered a system that will surely live on long passed the game that brought. I am of course talking about the Nemesis system in Shadow Of Mordor.
With it’s co-opting of various other games systems, Shadow of Mordor was looking to be a decent but fairly generic game. With Combat from the Arkham games, free running from Assassin’s Creed and even ghostly silhouettes from Splinter Cell. You could easily identify what the developers saw and said “Right, we’re having that.” It was so blatant that there were even accusations of stolen coding, with an Ubisoft developer claiming they had taken Talion’s animations from the Assassin’s Creed series. But not everything Shadow of Mordor did was lifted from other games.
The Nemesis system allowed the player to build personal vendettas against Uruks who they had fought before. Entire user built stories could be born from a simple skirmish that went wrong for the player, with Uruks growing in power, becoming captains, bodyguards and even warchiefs.
It was such as good system that for weeks after in reviews of Shadow of Mordor you’d always see comments to the effect of ” X game should adopt the nemesis system” with a lot of people saying the Batman series should have it (which makes no sense since only the joker is that guys nemesis). The thing is, I can foresee a ton of IP’s adopting this system in the future, weather they will implement it as well remains to be seen. It’s because of this that Shadow of Mordor wins The “This system is going to be nicked by every other game in the next few years” Award