Link looking at Zelda in the distance

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Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom leak reveals two groundbreaking firsts for the series

A light in the dark.

Nintendo
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The sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild finally has a name: Tears of the Kingdom. Still, the fandom spends so much time dissecting how true (or fake) the latest leaks are because of how much of the game is still a mystery. News ranges from speculations about Link’s new abilities to a dark fate for the hero.

One of these leaks in particular sprang from Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, where a 3D artist working on animation shared some game-changing secrets about the Zelda sequel. SwitchForce, a popular Nintendo YouTuber, was one of the biggest channels to pick up the story. In his video, he explains that the leaker claimed to be a Nintendo contractor based in Tokyo who joined the project in March last year. A Reddit post sharing the same information from Famiboards matched his story. These two main takeaways emerged from the contractor’s leaks.

1. The Sheikah Slate is back

The leaker is a 3D artist. She mentioned animating sequences related to the first time the player picks up the Sheikah Slate, which fans translated as a hint toward a possible playable Zelda.

Zelda has the Sheikah Slate by the end of Breath of the Wild, so it raises the question of why Link would have it back in his possession. SwitchForce raised the possibility of Zelda being a playable character since she would theoretically have the slate. We see Zelda in action in Hyrule Warriors, so it isn’t totally out of the question. However, fans haven’t seen her as a playable character in a mainline Zelda game since Spirit Tracks.

Link’s mutated arm seems to replace the Sheikah Slate in Tears of the Kingdom trailers, so it’d also be interesting to see how the two powers complement each other or if his arm is related to the Sheikah Slate. Zelda also could’ve dropped the Sheikah Slate when she fell into a black hole in the E3 2021 trailer. Who knows?

2. New Game Plus

Tears of the Kingdom might also incorporate “New Game Plus,” which would be a first for the Legend of Zelda series. New Game Plus is a feature that enables players to carry over progress like stats, weapons, and other items into a new playthrough so that it’s easier to explore areas you might’ve missed and replay specific moments without grinding through the same content again.

Related to New Game Plus, Link will apparently “look different” at the end of Tears of the Kingdom. SwitchForce notes that this could be lost in translation and is probably the least clear detail mentioned in the leak, considering “look different” could mean a number of things from changing outfits to Link’s arm returning to normal. SwitchForce also pointed out that he could “look different” if New Game Plus enabled playing as other characters like Zelda. However, he admits at the end of the video that he doesn’t think playable Zelda is likely because of how Nintendo has dodged the possibility for so long.

None of the information in this leak has been confirmed. It’s dubious at best, considering there isn’t any proof like screenshots or a track record from the leaker to support them. We might get more concrete information about Tears of the Kingdom ahead of its release, though.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will launch on May 12, 2023 for the Nintendo Switch.

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