The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom release date and everything we know so far

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is almost here, and we couldn't be happier. Breath of the Wild 2 is among the most anticipated upcoming Switch games out there, and one of the biggest new games for 2023. Nintendo is set to take us back to the version of Hyrule that the world fell in love with back in 2017, only now we'll be able to explore islands in the sky with a suite of new weapons and abilities.

Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was first teased back in 2019 and was given a full title reveal during the Nintendo Direct September 2022 showcase. That new Breath of the Wild 2 gameplay showed Link returning with new weapons and powers, which he'll need to tackle new dungeons and threats as evil spreads amongst the land once again. So keep reading to find out everything we know so far about The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom ahead of its release this May. 

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom release date

Breath of the Wild 2

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom release date is May 12, 2023. The news was confirmed on September 12, as part of the Nintendo Direct September 2022 showcase. Nintendo has set this new date in stone after leaving us speculating for months following a Breath of the Wild 2 delay back in March – which left the new Zelda game with a vague 'spring 2023' release window. Thankfully, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is on track and ready to roll for May 12. 

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom platform

Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild 2

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Nintendo has confirmed that The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is a Switch exclusive. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild originally released as a cross-gen game, arriving as a day one launch game for the Nintendo Switch and on Wii U in March 2017. 

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom trailers

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has received three trailers. The first was shown in 2019, setting the tone of this Breath of the Wild sequel as we see Link and Zelda exploring some creepy-looking ruins, before the Hero of Time finds himself grappling with a glowing magical arm. You can watch the Breath of the Wild Sequel reveal trailer above.

The second The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom trailer was shown at E3 2021, with this one showcasing gameplay for the very first time. It was through this trailer that we learned that Link will gain a suite of new powers thanks to his new magical arm, and that the playable space was expanding into the sky. 

The new The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom trailer was shown during the Nintendo Direct September 2022 showcase. It teased new story details, showed off some of the stunning sky vistas we'll be able to explore, and confirmed that the Breath of the Wild sequel will officially be called "Tears of the Kingdom" when it launches on May 5, 2023. 

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom gameplay

Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild 2

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom gameplay is set to build expansively on the more open traversal and combat systems that helped define the original Breath of the Wild. For starters, the world has extended into the skies – with Link swan diving from dungeons suspended above the clouds, and using all-new abilities (which are now powered by the glowing sword arm, rather than the Sheikah Slate) to quickly ascend from ground to air. Additionally, it appears that the large pool of available weapons (and degradation) is likely returning, with Link spotted equipped with a wooden axe, multiple swords, different shields, bow and arrows, and more throughout the three trailers. Between the new and returning Sheikah abilities and the addition of more open exploration, it looks like Tears of the Kingdom is set to build smartly on what came before it. 

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom story

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Nintendo resisted revealing the name of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom for fear of the subtitle spoiling too much of the story. Naturally, this has gotten the gears in our brains turning. From everything we've seen of this Breath of the Wild sequel so far, it would appear that the desiccated corpse of Ganon has arisen from beneath Hyrule Castle, and the tendrils of Malice as starting to spread once again. Naturally, the new trailer opened with mysterious Hylian writings and drawings, so that has sent the Internet into detective mode, while the prominence of "tears" in the subtitle has us wondering whether echoes of Zelda: Twilight Princess will play a role here – given the prominence of 'Tears' throughout the game GameCube adventure. 

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom setting

Breath of the Wild 2

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom setting is building on the world we first explored in Breath of the Wild. We'll once again be able to venture across the vast lands of Hyrule, although you'll now have a more vertical playspace to contend with. The skies have opened up, with Link able to move between floating islands and dungeons – if you haven't played The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD, now may be the time as there's clearly some synergy here. Interestingly, Nintendo says that Tears of the Kingdom "will take you up into the skies and an expanded world that goes beyond that", so who knows where else the game will take us. 

Josh West
UK Managing Editor, GamesRadar+

Josh West is the UK Managing Editor of GamesRadar+. He has over 10 years experience in online and print journalism, and holds a BA (Hons) in Journalism and Feature Writing. Prior to starting his current position, Josh has served as GR+'s Features Editor and Deputy Editor of games™ magazine, and has freelanced for numerous publications including 3D Artist, Edge magazine, iCreate, Metal Hammer, Play, Retro Gamer, and SFX. Additionally, he has appeared on the BBC and ITV to provide expert comment, written for Scholastic books, edited a book for Hachette, and worked as the Assistant Producer of the Future Games Show. In his spare time, Josh likes to play bass guitar and video games. Years ago, he was in a few movies and TV shows that you've definitely seen but will never be able to spot him in.

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