The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has leaked nearly two weeks ahead of its release on May 12. Late Monday, images and videos showing the opening section of the Breath of the Wild sequel flooded social media and Discord channels. Physical copies of Nintendo’s long-awaited Zelda title made rounds to retailers this past weekend, and it seems as though someone dumped the game files online, allowing players to pirate the game and play it on PC via an emulator. The framerate was certainly scuffed but revealed key story details and the HUD. Those looking to avoid spoilers until Tears of the Kingdom’s launch better tread carefully on social media.
Following the leak, the highly-anticipated sequel was live-streamed on Twitch under the Zelda: Breath of the Wild category — a smart manoeuvre since both games have similar cell-shaded art styles and UI. Unsurprisingly, those streams were taken down, with the channel being suspended “at the request of the copyright holder.” Nintendo’s legal team does not play around and could pose major consequences for those involved in pirating or helping share links around the internet. Members of one of the involved private Discord servers jokingly started spamming the renowned copypasta, directed at any FBI agents, claiming that they weren’t involved in the crime. One of the servers hosting links for the leaked game got taken down.
The streams showed the opening segment of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, which begins kind of similar to one of the early trailers — with Link and Zelda exploring a deep underground cave. I don’t think this counts as a spoiler. Anyway, looking over to the top-left corner of the screen revealed two full rows of hearts (HP) for Link, indicating that some troubling event would cut down his health bar to base level — marking the actual start of the game. At the time of writing, the game is reportedly out in the wild and can be played on an emulator.
Nintendo previously requested personal information of some Discord users, who were involved in leaking the Tears of the Kingdom art book on one of its servers. In April, the company also hit a YouTuber ‘PointCrow’ with copyright infringement for releasing a multiplayer mod for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, enabling online co-op. While most game developers and publishers share and encourage modding to help boost sales, Nintendo remains extremely conservative on that front.
Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom lets you explore the sweeping vistas of Hyrule, in addition to the floating Sky Islands. While the story is mostly shrouded in mystery, Nintendo previously confirmed all the new abilities to play around with — ranging from time rewind to the ‘Fuse’ ability, which lets you combine and construct weapons using random scraps found in its sprawling open world. There’s even an ‘Ultrahand’ ability, allowing Link to telekinetically build rafts, carts, gliders, and more, by attaching fans to propel them in a direction.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom releases May 12, exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.