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Nintendo files extensive Tears of the Kingdom-related patents

Apparently there's another Hylian deity that's protecting Link, the God of Legality.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

August 9, 2023

1 Min Read
Box art for Nintendo's Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, showing Link on a floating platform.

Nintendo has been on a patent spree lately, and near all of them are related to Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Automaton has spotted that over 30 patents were filed in the last month by the Japanese developer, and most of them focused on its big game of the spring and summer.

Some of these filings relate to the game's new mechanics, like the Ultrahand and Fuse powers that let player respectively move objects around and combine them other things. Others concern abilities related to Link's allies throughout the game, like Riju's lightning storm.

One interesting but odd patent is the in-game loading screen, which shows Link's location on the map of Hyrule, then wherever he blinks to next if fast travel is used. Similarly, Nintendo managed to patent Link standing on a moving object and then moving in its direction. 

It appears these filings got through due to Nintendo's specific language. For the latter action, it's defined as "when the player’s character and a dynamic object come in contact in the downward direction relative to the character, movement of the dynamic object is added to the movement of the player’s character."

There've been plenty of physics-based games over the years that have implemented versions of what players can do in Tears of the Kingdom. But given the continuous success of Tears of the Kingdom, the various patents make a degree of sense, even if it does feel a bit much.

This isn't even the first time a seemingly revolutionary gameplay mechanic has been patented to prevent imitators. In 2021, WB Games patented the Nemesis System first popularized by Monolith's Middle-earth duology, albeit after franchises like Assassin's Creed had their own versions implemented for some time.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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