Nintendo files dozens of patents for Tears of the Kingdom mechanics

Nintendo has reportedly filed at least 30 patents involving mechanics and technology present in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

These patents range from basic mechanics like the loading screen to more nuanced details like the formula used to calculate Link’s inertia on moving objects.

It’s worth mentioning that these patents have been filed in Japan. The United States traditionally has a stricter opinion of what can and cannot be patented, especially when it comes to game mechanics. In the US it would be difficult to patent the idea of Link moving atop an object, but an argument could be made that Nintendo’s math formula could be patented; we’ll leave that to Intellectual Property lawyers.

Other patented mechanics include the loading screen when fast traveling and the particular way it “enriches” gameplay during interruption, the way Ultrahand cannot grab objects that Link is on top of. A lot of these patents are seemingly obvious and intuitive mechanics but Nintendo seemingly feels they warrant protection under patent law.

Meanwhile in Japan, Nintendo appears to enjoy strict legal protections similar to Disney in the United States. It’s possible these patents could have a chilling effect on puzzle and platforming games developed in Japan.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is available exclusively for Nintendo Switch. You can check out our thorough review for it here. Despite all the hype, we didn’t fall in love with it as much as many others.



A basement-dwelling ogre, Brandon's a fan of indie games and slice of life anime. Has too many games and not enough time.

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