Nintendo filed a new patent for the Master Sword design last week, which shows the Master Sword being split into seven pieces. Seven pieces of the Master Sword, Seven Sages, Seven Tear Shaped items surrounding the mysterious tapestry character in the Tears of the Kingdom trailer. Today I want to take a closer look at what this means, plus look at the implications for the story and gameplay mechanics, as Nintendo may be about to upgrade our weapon durability in The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom.
Before we get into it today let me know what you think about the Master Sword being broken into seven pieces, plus do you want to see Nintendo improve weappon durability in Tears of the Kingdom?
Last week Nintendo filed a new patent concerning the design of the Master Sword. While the design isn’t new, we’ve seen this in trailers since early 2022, the fact that Nintendo has patented this design could have major implications for Tears of the Kingdom. The degraded Master Sword is likely to play a big part in the game, with Link likely having to restore The Master Sword after the Malice attack from Ganondorf early on in the game.
Given Nintendo has patented this design, that likely means The Master Sword will stay in this state for a large portion of the game. We have seen the restored Master Sword, this is clearly visible in the logo, and it looks like it’s been augmented or fixed, but not in a traditional sense. It appears we’re going to need some help from somewhere, as this isn’t work done by a blacksmith. This is either magic, or some kind of technology.
As well as the design, the number of pieces are an interesting point of discussion. The main blade of the Master Sword appears to be broken into seven pieces. The number seven is significant to the Zelda lore, given we have seven Sages. The return of the Sage may be a long shot, but we have also seen another depiction of seven in the trailers leading up to the release of Tears of the Kingdom. In the name reveal trailer we saw a tapestry, likely telling the back story to Tears of the Kingdom, with a mysterious character standing in the middle.
This character stands in the centre, and is surrounded by seven tear-shaped items. These could be the literal Tears of the Kingdom we have to collect in the game. This could also indicate we have seven important locations in the game, perhaps they could be dungeons? This would be very similar to A Link To The Past, where we had to collect the seven maidens in various Dungeons all over Hyrule. Given it looks like we have seven pieces of the Master Sword, then perhaps we have to restore the legendary blade one piece at a time.
The broken or degraded Master Sword isn’t the only weapon we’ve seen that looks like it’s had better days. Rusty weapons have been shown in the trailers for Tears of the Kingdom, and this could be Nintendo hinting at a new weapon durability system. We can see in the latest trailer Link firing a homing arrow at an enemy, and while all of our eyes were drawn to the new arrow type flying through the air, strapped onto Link’s back appears to be a very rusty sword.
Rusty weapons aren’t brand new for the Legend of Zelda games, we had rusty weapons in Breath of the Wild. However, this does hint at a new feature, and that’s the gradual degredation of weapons. There are a couple of reasons why I think this is going to be the case.
First of all, breakable weapons were a very divisive feature in Breath of the Wild. While this played into the exploration-focused gameplay of Breath of the Wild, some fans thought weapons broke too easily, and wanted a little more durability when it came to weapons. Given how loud and widespread this feedback was, I think Nintendo may have listened to that and implemented a more forgiving weapon system, one where the weapons degrade over time rather than simply break.
Second, Nintendo employees were playing Red Dead Redemption 2 while developing Tears of the Kingdom. There’s a very good weapon degredation system in that game, where you can restore weapons by cleaning them. I think Nintendo are going to emulate this feature and allow players in Tears of the Kingdom to fix weapons.
Taking a closer look at weapon degredation in Red Dead 2, the weapons degrade over time, affecting their condition. In that game we mainly had guns, so that included damage, fire rate and reload stats. Weapons degrade when you fire them or they are submerged in water or mud. If a weapon was dirty, then you could clean it via the cleaning menu. You could go to various crafting stations and inspect weapons, taking a closer look at the guns allowing you to clean and replace parts. In Tears of the Kingdom, it looks like we can collect weapon parts, which could mean we can replace parts of weapons with new items we find across Hyrule.
This could open up a whole new world of options, not only finding weapon parts and gluing them together to form new ones, but also buying weapon parts and restoring existing weapons. In Red Dead 2 you can also buy various items that help your weapons degrade slower. For example, we had wraps, upgraded holsters, talisman. In Tears of the Kingdom this system could be employed to prevent weapons from degrading at their normal rate, allowing us to use our favourite weapons for longer, as well as restoring our favoured weapons when we use them too much. This retains the element of exploration, allowing us to find new weapon parts, and extends the weapons systems allowing us to customise weapons and tailor them to our our experience in Tears of the Kingdom.
We’ve seen in the most recent trailer, enemies appear to have been combined with various weapon parts, leading us to believe we’ll be able to build our own weapons in Tears of the Kingdom. Eiji Aonuma recently hinted that players will be able to change the game world through their gameplay, and I think he’s hinting at the vehicle crafting, as well as the weapon crafting systems in the game. As well as weapon crafting, I imagine we’re also going to get weapon restoration, where we can either combined weapon parts together to form new weapons, or clean and fix old weapons.
Restoring the Master Sword is one element of the game, it’s highly likely going to be the focus of the story in Tears of the Kingdom, and lead us to a pivot point in the game. At a high level I think the game is going to be split into two parts, the first part restoring the Master Sword, and then the second part we’re going to be able to use the Master Sword, and not just for a final battle against Ganon.
Let me know what you think about restoring weapons, plus what you think that patent for the Master Sword means.