The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has already been leaked online

By Nicole Carpenter on May 1, 2023 1:20 pm

Two weeks before The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom release date of May 12th, the game appears to have already been leaked. That’s not entirely surprising – it’s the biggest game of the year and people are dying to check it out – but Nintendo will likely make an effort to remove the footage.

If you want to play Tears of the Kingdom without it getting spoiled before the release date, stay away from social media and Reddit.

It’s becoming more common to see footage of big games early; Nintendo and The Pokémon Company’s Pokémon Scarlet and Violet broke online more than a week ahead of its November release date.

Initially, the footage consisted mostly of screenshots from private live streams, with several small clips of unseen footage of cutscenes and gameplay. But the game has spread from there, and there are several live streams on private Discord servers – others try to live stream on Twitch and get shut down very quickly. Notably, these streams showed how Tears of the Kingdom begins, as well as early gameplay and regions.

Nintendo is known for dropping DMCA complaints and lawsuits relentlessly. Of course, new copypasta has emerged from Discord and Twitch streams trying to forestall Nintendo’s legal team:

In case of federal investigation or the like, I have no involvement with this group or the individuals in it, I don’t know how I am here, probably added by a third party, I do not endorse actions by members of this group

The fears of Nintendo’s lawyers are not unfounded. It has taken action against leakers and hackers in the past, just this year. A Tears of the Kingdom art book – available with the Collector’s Edition of the game – was leaked and circulated online in April, and Nintendo was quick to respond. Nintendo is trying to sue the leaker, but first it needs to figure out who did it. Nintendo has subpoenaed Discord over the identity of the leaker, and that court case is ongoing.

When images of Pokémon Sword and Shield leaked via an unreleased strategy guide, The Pokémon Company also took quick action to clean up the leaks. A lawsuit was filed in 2019 and settled in 2021, with each defendant being forced to pay The Pokémon Company $150,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees.

Update: This story has been updated to include new information as the leaks spread.

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