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Zelda: Breath of the Wild has a bizarre link to Nintendo tech from 2006

It turns out that the Switch launch title uses some old tech in new and interesting ways.

It's seemingly possible to add custom characters into The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

That's going by some posts on Twitter and Reddit by "Mii expert" HeyimHeroic/Alice, who says that the NPCs in the open-world Zelda title are an "evolution" of the Mii avatars Nintendo introduced for the Wii back in the day. As a result, it's apparently possible to "inject" custom Miis into the game via modding.

By way of example, HeyimHeroic showed how Breath of the Wild renders a number of characters, including Smash Bros Ultimate's Barrett, Matt from Wii Sports and even her own Mii in the game.

Breath of the Wild uses a version of the Mii format, with a few differences.

"However, BotW does not support every hairstyle Miis do," HeyimHeroic wrote on Reddit.

"So, if you tried to load a hairstyle the game doesn't support, it instead calls a separate file, that essentially converts the unsupported hairstyle into a hair type that is supported and looks the most similar to the unsupported one, which is what happened with my personal Mii, Alice."

While this is some pretty cool and interesting news, knowing how litigious Nintendo is these days we wouldn't be surprised to see the platform holder slap HeyimHeroic with a cease and desist order at some point in the near future. Fingers crossed this isn't the case.

Miis were first introduced with Nintendo's Wii and have made an appearance on its subsequent machines including its Wii U and Nintendo Switch consoles, as well as its 3DS handheld and even smartphones. Speaking back in 2011, Shigeru Miyamoto said that he wanted Miis "to be the world standard for avatars," even joking that it would be nice for them to be used for official government business.

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo Switch

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About the Author
Alex Calvin avatar

Alex Calvin


Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist and writer covering the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he launched PC games b2b site PCGamesInsider.biz for Steel Media and has written for the likes of GI.biz, Eurogamer, Kotaku UK, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK. He can be found on Twitter @gamesbizuk.