For the last week, the Zelda fandom has become a minefield of spoilers, as various Breath of the Wild related images, screenshots, and videos have leaked ahead of the official release. It’s only gotten worse today. (Some spoilers ahead.)
Late this month, some fans discovered that they were able to briefly download Breath of the Wild-related files directly from Nintendo’s servers. While Nintendo reportedly took the files down, they were available for long enough that they’re now all over the internet. The images purported to show weapons, special costumes, armour, and other surprising imagery:
Players were able to determine the veracity of some these leaked images using footage hailing from previews, which appeared to confirm the validity of individual aspects of the leak, such as hoods, and the ability to dye your garb:
As players online tell it, some also downloaded encrypted BOTW files straight from Nintendo last week, and those can allegedly become playable on the Wii U with a digital skeleton key sourced for a legit version of the game. As of today, it seems that the floodgates have flown wide open, and players are now circulating images of nearly every single item, enemy, and object in the game—including the final boss. On YouTube, there are currently 1.5k people watching a stream of Breath of the Wild right now. That’s just within the last few hours.
Reportedly, all of this material is making the rounds because Breath of the Wild — Nintendo’s biggest game of the year — is now being pirated on the Wii U days before the actual official release, all because of that aforementioned leak. It’s not the first time something like this has happened to a major Nintendo game, as last year, Pokémon Sun and Moon also leaked and got pirated early. It remains to be seen if the Switch will also have the same vulnerabilities.
Given the depth and breadth of the leaks, they have come to dominate discussions within Zelda fandom — so if you want to go pristine, now may be a great time to get off the internet.