You don’t get many truly out there and strange experiences in the AAA gaming space nowadays, but every once and awhile, you do get a Death Stranding. Created and Directed by Hideo Kojima after his split from Konami, the game is one of the oddest things to come out of that space in ages, filled with a bizarre world and even more bizarre storytelling. But that wasn’t all that was unique, as the game had an interesting online mechanic where players influenced the path building over time despite never being directly involved. Now, it seems Sony is keen to keep those mechanics to themselves.
Sony was granted a patent on Tuesday, which you can read in full through here, and is entitled “terrain radar and gradual building of a route in a virtual environment of a video game.” It refers to the ability within the game that players have to influence the terrain in asynchronous ways.
“A method for influencing a gaming world of a video game. The method including cross-pollinating a first path using an inter-game communication medium across a plurality of virtual environments of a plurality of asynchronous game plays of a plurality of players playing the video game. The method including determining that a first path has been traversed one or more times by one or more characters of the plurality of players in the plurality of asynchronous game plays. The method including improving the first path based on a number of times the first path has been traversed by the one or more characters. The method including cross-pollinating the first path that has been improved across the plurality of virtual environments.”
Game mechanics like this generally are not patented, though there have been some key examples through the years such as WB Interactive patenting the Nemesis system in their Shadow of Mordor titles. No game has quite done this like Death Stranding, and it seems that is unlikely to become much of thing on a broader scale unless someone is willing to challenge Sony’s patent here. There have been rumors that a sequel to the game is in the works as well, so most likely, it will stay within the franchise for a good long while.
Death Stranding is available now on PlayStation 4 and PC, with a Director’s Cut version also available on PlayStation 5.
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