The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild now has online multiplayer thanks to YouTuber PointCrow and a dedicated group of modders, but Nintendo's already taking action to try and stop the publicity.
Back in November 2021, PointCrow offered a $10,000 "bounty" for any mod team up to the task of implementing multiplayer for Breath of the Wild. By July 2022, modders AlexMangue and Sweet had claimed the bounty and gone to work for PointCrow, developing the mod to the point where they were publishing lengthy gameplay demonstrations of it in action.
On April 4, that mod finally became available to the public through PointCrow's Discord server. Within days, Nintendo had begun to issue copyright strikes against PointCrow's videos promoting the mod. After an appeal, PointCrow said on Twitter that these videos "are still visible for you to watch - however, they are not monetized. Hopefully Nintendo releases these claims, as I significantly transform their work and my videos are under fair use."
Update: I have appealed these claims. As of now, they are still visible for you to watch -- however, they are not monetized. Hopefully Nintendo releases these claims, as I significantly transform their work and my videos are under fair use.April 7, 2023
In the hours since PointCrow made that tweet, one of the mod videos - the original one from July 2022 - has gone missing again, with a message that it's gone "due to a copyright claim by Nintendo Co., Ltd," the company's main Japanese branch.
The mod itself is still available, and while it doesn't quite match what you'd expect from a full-featured multiplayer version of Breath of the Wild, it's still very impressive. The mod works through Wii U emulator Cemo and supports up to 32 players through a variety of game modes. You can run around Hyrule together completing the in-game missions, or take advantage of the sandbox for alternate types of multiplayer fun.
The limitations are all about world sync. Different players will be able to see each other as you'd expect, but enemy positions and AI states don't currently line up - so you'll sometimes see players fighting enemies that don't appear engaged to you. The developers are still working on the mod, and naturally intend to implement those kinds of features.
Well, Nintendo's not making another official multiplayer Zelda anytime soon, but at least we've got Tears of the Kingdom on the way.