Recently, Nintendo has made headlines after filing patents for an impressive 32 in-game technologies between July and August. The majority of these patents are specifically related to their highly acclaimed game, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, with the exception of one.
These patents cover a variety of abilities in the game, such as Link’s ‘Fuse’, ‘Ultrahand’, and ‘Recall’. Additionally, there are patents registered for specific abilities like Riju’s remote lightning attack.
While this is a common practice for Nintendo, some critics have deemed these patents as overly aggressive or too broad in their scope. The Japanese developer has even gone so far as to patent basic ideas, including the game’s loading sequences, where the player can use fast travel to send Link to a different location and the starting point map transforms into a map of the destination.
According to the patent description, this feature aims to enhance the game presentation during periods of waiting:
“a game processing method capable of enriching game presentation during a waiting period in which at least part of the game processing is interrupted”
Another noteworthy patent revolves around calculating speed when the game’s protagonist, Link, is on top of a “dynamic” object or vehicle. The patent description explains:
“the movement of movable dynamic objects placed in the virtual space is controlled by physics calculations, and the movement of the player’s character is controlled by user input. When the player’s character and a dynamic object come in contact in the downward direction relative to the character (in other words, when the character is on top of an object), the movement of the dynamic object is added to the movement of the player’s character.”
While the detailed descriptions in these patents are insightful, some fans worry that Nintendo’s aggressive patenting of these mechanics could potentially stifle innovation and hinder other developers’ creativity.
It’s important to note that all of these patents seem to focus solely on existing gameplay and mechanics in Tears of the Kingdom and do not necessarily imply the introduction of new content in future updates or releases.
Earlier this year, back in March, Nintendo also obtained a patent for the Master Sword in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.