A sequel might be on the horizon, but there’s still a lot of game left in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Half a decade after its release, players are still finding new ways to crack Nintendo’s open-world RPG wide open. Just this week, glitch hunters have discovered what might be the most game-breaking exploit yet: It is now possible to rewrite weapon modifiers.
Released in 2017, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is arguably the crown jewel of the Nintendo Switch. In contrast to many similar games, including both previous Legend of Zelda entries plus BotW’s own open-world contemporaries, the game gives you a toolkit and a playground and lets you go wild—with very few constraints.
This has engendered a highly collaborative community whose members have spent the past five years hunting glitches, devising exploits, and generally pushing the game to its brink, all building on each other’s shared knowledge. (The biggest shared info base is a massive code decompilation project headed up by the Zelda reverse-engineer Leoelitino, which has spurred a trove of further discoveries.) Over the years, players have learned how to “infinite jump.” They’ve opened “impossible” chests. They’ve even figured out how to glide across the map.
The particular glitch hinges on another method called inventory slot transfer (IST). Discovered last month by BotW glitch-hunter zxrobin, IST allows you to move items between save files—meaning you can, for instance, start a fresh playthrough with some of the best weapons in the game. Weapon modifier transfer (WMT) takes that a step further, allowing you to imbue weapons across save files with staggering stat bonuses, all without modding or hacking the game. You do, however, need to collect a hell of a lot of cooking items. Here’s a quick rundown courtesy of BotW glitch-hunter El Duende 5:
“This is probably gonna be the most game-breaking glitch ever,” one commenter said on YouTube.
“They’re probably not wrong,” El Duende told Kotaku over Discord.
Some of the results thus far have borne this claim out. Players have created broadswords that turn into cyclones:
When enhanced, Link’s trusty Master Sword is practically unstoppable, even making short work of the high-level enemies in Hyrule Castle:
El Duende says a full tutorial for WMT is not available yet, as the BotW community still needs to hammer out some kinks and discern a full understanding of the glitch. But the basic steps involve forcing the IST exploit to apply the effects of Link’s culinary concoctions onto weapons in your key item slots.
“What happens with IST is you can cause the game to fail to delete a number of items from your inventory anytime you load another file,” he said.
First, ensure you have 60 meals (the max under typical conditions) and two key items, and have voided all of the empty inventory slots between your meals tab and the specific item you want to enhance. When you load your next save file, that will apply the meal’s effects to whatever item is in the last key item slot.
Players, including popular Zelda speedrunner Satougashi, are in the process of compiling weapon ‘recipes’. An endura carrot plus four raw gourmet meat grants a bonus to a shield’s durability. (Add this to the Hylian Shield to push its rating over 1160.) A mighty thistle and four raw gourmet meat, meanwhile, can add a spread effect to your bows; here’s one player using it to eliminate two devastatingly powerful Guardian enemies with a single shot:
It’s a new technique, one that players are still trying to get a full grasp on, but it very well may be the ne plus ultra in the wide canon of BotW glitches.
“There’s not a whole lot left to want,” El Duende said, pointing to the wide range of discoveries made in the game over the past five years. It is hard to fathom what else could be out there.
An untitled sequel to Breath of the Wild is on the way, initially planned for this year but now slated for next year following a delay in March. Nintendo is keeping the game’s official name under wraps; apparently, the subtitle is a spoiler of sorts. Whatever it’s ultimately called, BotW 2 doesn’t need to be much more than “more BotW” to earn widespread critical praise and sell 80 bazillion copies, but it remains to be seen what effect its release could have on the most devoted members in the BotW community.
“I worry a bit that Nintendo is looking at all this and they’re going to tighten things down so much as to make the game less fun,” El Duende said. “But I also think, no matter what, we’ll find other stuff like we did with the first game. It’s only a matter of time.”