Making a character feel real is one of the harder tasks when making a protagonist. Of course, character design goes a really long way, but nothing beats a well-written hero with a heartfelt goal. God of War and the dynamic of Kratos are prominent here. This trend also extends to any type of non-player character, especially the ones on the opposing side.
In recent times, the realism of these characters has exponentially increased. With motion capture, protagonists like Arthur Morgan and Kratos have unbelievable realism latched onto them. However, as the quality of games increases, these techniques continue to move over to other side characters as well.
The Nemesis system is a very innovative way to make bland non-player characters more human-like. Don’t worry, this is not the “Nemesis” from Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, rather it is a system in which non-player characters remember the player in certain ways. Any action that the player does is dented inside their memory, which would make future interactions much more unique.
The Nemesis system was introduced as a major selling point for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and then continued into future franchise titles. As explained before, it was a process in which the enemies, statistics, and their relations would change with every player interaction.
This system would also work upon a hierarchy system, and can be implemented if an army or battalion exists, although it is not limited to only armies. The non-player characters in the higher ranks would be the most affected as they are more important than lower rank entities.
In short, this system could revolutionize how we look at these lifeless side characters immensely. However, despite the popularity of the Nemesis system and players even calling it the future of single-player games, barely any games use it besides Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Middle-earth: Shadow of War.
Although Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has this system patented for itself, that doesn’t really stop companies from implementing somewhat of the same thing into their games. With that being said, could God of War Ragnarök benefit from introducing something like this? Well, for starters, we would need an influx of non-player characters, something that was rare in the first game. However, it would seem as though that will not be a problem in the sequel.
In this trailer for God Of War Ragnarök, we see a small scene of Kratos entering a small village. This would mean that the interactions with non-player characters would be more abundant, making the Nemesis system a great decision knowing that there are villages and other settlements in the game as well.
Not only settlements, but we can explore every realm and be introduced to a surplus of new gods. Opening up the experience for the player with choices to appeal to some or be unappealing to some would make the linear story seem more extended. Hence, the Nemesis system would add to the experience immensely.
There are a few games that have previously implemented this system to some extent; one of them being Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. In the game, if you repeatedly attack an area, it starts to change itself up immensely. For example, the enemies start using night vision if you attack too much at night. They also start wearing helmets if you shoot too many headshots, so being a better player actually works against you.
Of course, this is not really the Nemesis system as it was implemented in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Middle-earth: Shadow of War, but it takes a similar approach. The same is with Red Dead Redemption 2 with how the honor system changes how non-player characters view you and interreact with you. All these systems make a game feel much more immersive and interactive.
With all this in mind, implementing this into the new God of War Ragnarök will only make it better, but how should it be implemented? Of course, we don’t know much about the game at the moment but if Santa Monica Studio is implementing something like this, we can assume maybe through completing quests for non-player characters or attacking one type of enemy, causing the system to make that certain type more aggressive toward you. Either way, the possibilities of implementing the Nemesis system into God of War Ragnarök are immense.