Nintendo Switch blockbuster The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has been ripped and uploaded to the internet, with pirated copies now passed around, and extensive sections of footage streamed and uploaded.
Yesterday, Twitch and Discord streams showing footage of the game were available to view, two weeks ahead of the game’s official launch date, before eventually being pulled offline.
It’s unclar where the leak originated, or how many copies have been made available. But while a small number of physical copies appearing in the wild may be a headache for Nintendo, the fact the game has been pirated to share and play on PC is much more of a nightmare.
Images and video viewed by Eurogamer appear to show extensive sections of the game, and numerous elements Nintendo has decided to keep under wraps to avoid spoiling Tears of the Kingdom’s story.
(For anyone who wants a completely spoiler-free experience next week, now is the time to start avoiding social media.)
Nintendo game leaks are nothing new, and upcoming titles often find their way onto illegal file sharing sites. But the early nature of this leak has raised questions over where these copies have originated.
Two weeks from release, hundreds of thousands of physical copies now lie in wait at distribution centres and warehouses worldwide, before being shipped to retailers.
Yesterday, a physical copy of the game was listed on US resale site Mercari, listed for $300. This listing has now been removed.
The full game being leaked follows an earlier kerfuffle over images from an official art book for the game. Nintendo lawyers were seeking to force Discord to reveal the identity of the leaker, after the images were uploaded to its platform.
In 2021, two Pokémon fans leaked details of the then-unreleased Pokémon Sword and Shield via images taken from a strategy guide book. The Pokémon Company’s lawyers pounced, and ultimately settled with the pair for an eye-watering $300k to cover damages, attorney’s fees and other costs.
Eurogamer has contacted Nintendo for comment today.
Last month, Nintendo raised eyebrows with its admission it still employed its controversial Russian boss Yasha Haddazhi, and was doing business with his side-company which had previously imported copies of Nintendo Swith games into the country, skirting Nintendo’s official sales ban.