The Legend of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom Is Already Being Pirated

A pirated version of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was released ahead of the game's May 12 release date.

By Jason Collins | Updated

A copy of the much-awaited Breath of the Wild sequel, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, has leaked and appeared on various piracy websites. Nintendo, which is known for its relentless pursuit of pirates and Zelda YouTubers who dare infringe upon their intellectual property, still hasn’t commented on the issue, but it’s quite certain that the company’s lawyers are having a blast right now, as this gives them more ground for further legal action.

According to VGC, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has leaked online nearly two weeks ahead of its official release date, May 12. The copy of the game’s ROM file made its way to illegal piracy websites, from which it spread throughout the web. As of right now, there are tons of images and videos of the game shared via social media sites, private message boards, and discord channels. This means that anyone looking to avoid story and gameplay spoilers ahead of the game’s official release should navigate their social media news feed carefully.

The leaked ROM files shared via torrent sites appear to be consistent with Nintendo Switch cartridge rips, but we can’t actually confirm whether or not those are really genuine files. Torrent downloads are known for their malicious content, and if you don’t know precisely what you’re looking for, you might end up with a hijacked PC—which is why we didn’t want to risk it. However, given the proliferation of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom streams and shared via social media, we can say, with a degree of certainty, that the game is being shared illegally among gamers.

Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Most fans who dared download The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom ROM from illegal websites (and we don’t condone such behavior) are emulating the game on the PC or even on Steam Deck—which was publicly showcased with an emulator installed. Now, don’t get us wrong, emulation isn’t illegal, but piracy is. We don’t condone piracy since studios spend millions on development to generate revenue, which is then used to make more games and gaming hardware.

This isn’t the first The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom-related leak. Some two months ago, someone shared a gigantic leak on Reddit, mostly containing images from the game’s accompanying art book. It showcased Link wearing different costumes, different outfits for both allies and friends, the artwork of the game’s antagonists and their minions, and plenty of in-game environment illustrations. The content was swiftly removed from the page by the moderators themselves to avoid a run-in with Nintendo’s inquisition.

Players are bursting with high expectations for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, as it’s a direct sequel to one of the best games ever made. The upcoming title regularly stole headlines with news and speculations about the upcoming game having a multiplayer mode, Link’s new abilities, Amiibos, and perhaps the most boring pre-order bonus ever featured in gaming. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is scheduled to release on May 12, 2023—it’s been so hyped up that even those who haven’t bought the Switch are now considering it.