An employee of Gamestop who originated rumors about the Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Nintendo Switch Pro special edition console claims they were dismissed due to pressure from Nintendo.
Although Nintendo just formally announced the special edition Switch Pro during its Direct presentation last month, fans have long anticipated a Zelda-themed model to accompany the upcoming title. Earlier online disclosures had even hinted at its design.
Tons of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom images leaked from art book https://t.co/wOAKWn1YN4 pic.twitter.com/yAlmnMOCet
— Nintendo Everything (@NinEverything) February 19, 2023
The discovery of an “HW TBD Switch” entry on the store’s system hours before the Direct was broadcast by Mike (last name withheld), a GameStop employee from Massachusetts, didn’t come as much of a surprise. Mike took a photo of the display and posted it on reddit.
The Legend of #Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – Mr. Aonuma Gameplay Demonstration #NintendoSwitch
📺 →https://t.co/xJQqpV93UO pic.twitter.com/W4wZS2XQRS
— Nintendo Switch 🍥 (@NinSwitchNews) March 28, 2023
According to Kotaku, Mike’s account name and other publicly available information about him allowed for easy identification of the Reddit post. Mike talked with his boss and was suspended within a week. He lost his job two weeks later.
Mike said he had made the post to let fans know to be ready to place a pre-order, for example, in case stock was hard to find, and said he had not been aware he was breaking any official employee policy.
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Nintendo reportedly had an unfavorable opinion, though. According to Mike, his manager informed him “off the record” that Nintendo had expressly requested Mike be let go from his position.
Mike has said he’ll likely have to give up his Zelda Switch pre-order: “Sadly, I won’t be able to afford it anymore due to lack of a job,” he said.
In other developments, Nintendo’s attorneys are waging war this week to get Discord to reveal who leaked an artbook for Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. The perpetrators of a similar case brought by the Pokémon Company about a stolen strategy manual were each fined $150,000.