The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was nearly complete in March 2022, but was delayed to provide time for over a year of polish.
That comes from long-time Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma, speaking to The Washington Post in a new interview. While the actual interview doesn't specify these details, interviewer Gene Park added the anecdote via the tweet below, revealing Nintendo delayed Tears of the Kingdom for a year for purely polish reasons.
Eiji Aonuma said when he announced in March 2022 a delay for Zelda Tears of the Kingdom, the game was pretty much complete. The last year was spent on polish, making sure the wild physics of the game just work. https://t.co/jb2qlonWsOMay 21, 2023
Tears of the Kingdom was meant to release in 2022, but in March of that year, Aonuma appeared during a Nintendo Direct presentation to announce the game's delay to 2023. It was during this time, Aonuma now says, that Tears of the Kingdom was actually pretty much complete, but the development team still delayed the Zelda game to polish it up.
This was to "make sure that everything in the game was 100 percent to our standards," Aonuma says in the new interview. Tears of the Kingdom is a hugely complicated game, but it's launched in a fantastic state, with very few technical issues or hiccups, which is thanks to that year-long delay from launching in 2022 to May 2023.
Tears of the Kingdom is now the fastest-selling Zelda game in history, shipping 10 million copies in just three days. For some added context, Tears of the Kingdom has already sold one-third of the lifetime sales of Breath of the Wild, which was already lauded as one of the greatest games ever made when it originally released in March 2017.
Check out our The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom review to see what we made of the Breath of the Wild follow-up.
You can also head over to our Zelda Tears of the Kingdom Korok Seeds guide for a look at how you can track down the tricky buggers.