A new glitch in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is setting off a flurry of testing and exploration from speedrunners and glitch hunters. The complicated trick allows Link to jump infinitely, making it possible to explore the upward bounds of Hyrule and completely skip shrine puzzles.
Exploration and experiments with the new trick, tentatively dubbed “moonwalking” by some speedrunners, started after Japanese Twitter account @HyruleDojo posted a clip of Link leaping high into the air with a series of jumps. The discovery of the glitch is attributed to a player called Melissist. Since then, glitch hunters have been testing the glitch to learn more about it. Triggering the glitch actually involves a sequence of highly specific tricks. While this makes the glitch somewhat difficult for casual play, it’s a potentially powerful tool for speedrunning.
To perform the moonwalk glitch, players must first complete two other glitches. The first is known as “Hold Smuggling,” a trick that allows Link to hold items anywhere in the game world. For instance, it becomes possible to hold items while riding a horse or while in a shop’s menu. This trick involves dropping an item, taking damage from a bomb or jelly, and teleporting at precisely the right time. The process is laid out in this tutorial by Kleric, who discovered the glitch in late 2018. Hold Smuggling is required for another trick called “Walk on Horse,” which itself is needed to trigger the moonwalking glitch. Walk on Horse involves triggering Hold Smuggling, attempting to mount a horse while triggering a text box such as the ones that pop up when finding a new item, and pausing the game to hold an item. This allows Link to mount his horse and stand on it. To trigger moonwalking from this point, you the player needs to either kill the horse or warp off it. If they do the former, they must also pull out Link’s paraglider, and then use a menuing trick that’s typically used to cancel fall damage. This complicated setup process puts Link into a state where he can jump nearly infinitely. This state persists through warps and load screens, making it possible to explore the world or enter shrines while keeping the ability to jump through the air. As of writing, it seems that the only way to cancel this state is to mount a horse.
(Note that this is the current method, and it is subject to change as glitch hunters narrow down what specifically causes moonwalking.)
The lengthy nature of this set up, which requires grabbing multiple items and having a horse, means that moonwalking might not have a role in every speedrun. The Any% speedrun, in which runners seek to clear the game as fast as possible, could very well ignore the trick entirely. But moonwalking opens up a great deal of possibility for beating individual Sheikah Shrines quickly or skipping sections of dungeons, as this video from Twitch streamer and Breath of the Wild speedrunner Orcastraw shows:
Breath of the Wild speedrunning has rapidly changed over the last two years thanks to a variety of major glitch discoveries, including the “Bullet-Time Bounce,” which allows runners to launch across huge distances at high speed by precisely shield-jumping on an enemy. The specifics of moonwalking are still unclear, and more is bound to be discovered. However, the trick already holds promise, and we might get to enjoy playthroughs that involving a flying, probably half-naked Link.