The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: Release date, pre-orders, trailer and more

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

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, formerly known as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2, is almost here. Initially slated for a 2022 release, Nintendo pushed the game back, finally settling on a release date in the first half of 2023 instead. As a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Tears of the Kingdom has an incredible — and perhaps impossible — task ahead of it. How can you improve on what was essentially a perfect game?

While we won’t know the answer to that until the game comes out, we actually do know quite a bit about Tears of the Kingdom. We know when the game will debut; we know how you can secure your copy right now; we know a few key details about the story. Read on to learn about The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’s release date, pre-order information, trailers and more.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: Release date

nintendo direct

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Let’s start with an easy one. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’s release date will be May 12, 2023. The game will be on the Nintendo Switch, as well as the Nintendo Switch Lite and Nintendo Switch OLED variants.

Over the past few years, the game’s release date has been all over the place. Initially, Nintendo announced that the game would be out in 2022. Then, the company delayed Tears of the Kingdom until Spring 2023. During a Nintendo Direct in September, the company finally confirmed an exact date for the game. All that’s left now is to wait until it launches.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: Pre-orders

nintendo direct

(Image credit: Nintendo)

If you’re looking for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom pre-orders, you won’t have to look too hard. You can already pre-order the game with most of the usual suspects, including Amazon (opens in new tab), Best Buy (opens in new tab) and GameStop (opens in new tab). If you prefer to shop at a different electronics store, just search for Tears of the Kingdom and see if it comes up. If it doesn’t now, it will soon.

The one exception there is that you can’t currently pre-order Tears of the Kingdom on the Nintendo eShop. This isn’t really a problem, however, as digital goods never run out of stock. While you’ll probably be able to pre-order the game digitally, you can always just hop in on May 12, if all else fails.

The one potential pre-order complication concerns a potential The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom collector’s edition. Fans on Reddit and elsewhere have wondered whether Nintendo plans to release a lavish collector’s edition for the game, which includes all the standard knickknacks: an art book, a statue, some stickers, maybe a specialized steelbook case, etc.

For what it’s worth, the original Breath of the Wild did have a collector’s edition, which included a copy of the game, a wall map, a soundtrack CD, a coin and a Switch carrying case. At the same time, when Nintendo announced Tears of the Kingdom’s release date, that would have been an opportune time to announce a collector’s edition, too, and we didn’t hear anything about one.

Beyond that, we have no special insight on this topic. If you think Nintendo is likely to put out a collector’s edition for Tears of the Kingdom, you may want to hold off on your standard edition pre-order. Otherwise, pre-order away — or just wait for the digital version.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: Trailer

There are a handful The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom trailers, all of which you can find at the official Nintendo of America YouTube site. Be aware that “Tears of the Kingdom” is a relatively recent subtitle, so if you want older trailers, you’ll have to look for “Breath of the Wild 2” or “Breath of the Wild Sequel.”

The most recent trailer debuted in September 2022, and is entitled “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – Coming May 12th, 2023 – Nintendo Switch.” It’s a relatively muted affair, with a lot of ancient paintings and atmospheric music, although there’s a pretty good chunk of gameplay right in the middle. We’ve embedded it below, if you want to take a minute-and-a-half to watch it for yourself:

Since the game’s May 12 release date is still a ways off, we imagine Nintendo will release at least one more substantial trailer between now and then. We’ll post that one, if and when it comes out.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: Plot

breath of the wild 2

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Even though we’ve had at least three trailers for the game, we still don’t have a great idea of what The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’s plot will be. So far, we’ve seen Link and Zelda exploring an ominous set of ruins, Link traversing islands in the sky, and a malevolent force spreading throughout Hyrule.

All we can say definitively is that Tears of the Kingdom is a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild, which is relatively rare in the Zelda canon. Most Zelda games are standalone, linked by mythic themes and recurring legendary items, more so than specific characters and locations. Link and Zelda vowed to set off on a new journey at the end of Breath of the Wild, and it looks like Tears of the Kingdom will start with them doing just that.

For those who didn’t play Breath of the Wild — well, you might want to, considering that it’s an incredible game, and that Tears of the Kingdom will follow it directly. But if you want a refresher: Link awakens after 100 years in suspended animation, to find that Calamity Ganon threatens all of Hyrule, and that Zelda’s power to keep the realm safe is weakening. From there, Link must explore the world, solve 120 devious puzzle Shrines, reawaken the four Divine Beasts, reclaim the Master Sword and find a way to destroy Calamity Ganon once and for all.

The wait between Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom is the longest we’ve ever gone without a new Zelda game, so fans are understandably pretty excited about the next entry in this storied series. We’ll update this page with new information as it becomes available.

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.