The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom launched last Friday to rave reviews, but it’s actually been available to PC players even longer thanks to leaks. Those leaks allow PC gamers who don’t mind skirting the law to play Tears of the Kingdom on their preferred platform through emulation, and often with vastly improved performance over the Switch version.
Case in point, there’s already a mod for Tears of the Kingdom that has enabled ray tracing–the fancy lighting technology that makes light behave more like real life. The video posted to the 680.mp3 YouTube account (and courtesy of wccftech) shows Link running around Marakuguc Shrine with significantly improved visuals. Note the glowing light from the Chuchu Jellies and how it lights up the surrounding area. Normally, game developers would have to manually add that glowing effect around objects, but ray tracing handles it seamlessly.
Well, not quite seamlessly. As noted by 680.mp3, there’s a problem with the mod’s depth of field that causes the ray tracing software to go a little haywire when the camera gets too close to Link indoors. That’s why you see the global lighting change as if someone had dropped an Instagram filter over the whole scene.
The mod is actually an altered version of the REVO ReShade 6.0 preset originally made for Breath of the Wild by modder Revolveré. Everything you see is running at 1440p on a mid-range gaming PC which has an Intel i7 11800H processor, Nvidia RTX 3070 mobile graphics card, and 16 GB of RAM. Everything is being run via emulation with the 60 FPS mod installed so it’s a lot smoother than the Switch version.
Although this is probably the best-looking Tears of the Kingdom we’ve seen so far, the legality is questionable and Nintendo would certainly prefer it didn’t exist at all. Even when modders make their software require a legal copy of Breath of the Wild, Nintendo has spent a lot of time and resources taking down VR, 8K, and even a multiplayer mod for the previous Zelda title, as well as the already-mentioned Breath of the Wild ray tracing mod.
Nintendo certainly hasn’t gotten more permissive of mods or emulators since then, so I don’t expect this mod to ever become widely available. You’ll have to know where to look to get it.
In other Tears of the Kingdom news, France is a canonical location in the world of Zelda. That’s according to the horse customization options which lists “French-braided mane” as an available option, implying that France is a place where Zelda might have even visited at one point.
Next: We Need To Accept That Zelda Has Changed