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It’s been said that a video game console is only as good as its launch titles. What, then, does The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017) say about the Nintendo Switch? Great things, no doubt, as the Switch launch title went on to sell nearly 30 million copies. On that note, the Nintendo Switch is also the third highest-selling video game console in history, second only to the PlayStation 2 in the top spot and the Nintendo DS at #2. It’s only natural, then, that Nintendo would want a special Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom-themed Switch OLED model to coincide with the game’s sequel.

Of course, this special Tears of the Kingdom-themed Switch is merely a rumor at this point. With that being said, it looks to be about as veritably factual as a rumor could possibly be. What are the factors that have led up to this gossip circulating around online? And what are the recent events that have gotten the ball rolling even faster over this special Tears of the Kingdom-themed Switch OLED model? Let’s take a look look at the timeline of events and make an educated guess about when we might see this rumored Switch OLED model.

5 Must-Know Facts About The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

  • Tears of the Kingdom is a direct sequel to 2017’s Breath of the Wild. The game was conceived after Breath of the Wild‘s downloadable content failed to contain all the developer’s ideas.
  • Breath of the Wild‘s director and producer have both returned for Tears of the Kingdom. As such, much of the first game’s look and feel are carried over to this direct sequel.
  • Tears of the Kingdom has been hyped up for four years now. It was first teased at E3 in 2019, then fully revealed at E3 in 2021. Nintendo didn’t officially reveal the title until September 2022’s Nintendo Direct presentation.
  • The game has undergone a number of issues over the past few years (including pandemic-related delays). As such, Nintendo pushed Tears of the Kingdom‘s release date from 2022 to 2023.
  • Tears of the Kingdom has drawn inspiration from open-world epics such as Red Dead Redemption 2 (2018) and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011). New elements not included in Breath of the Wild include floating islands and the ability to soar from island to island.
The Legend of Zelda
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is the long-awaited sequel to 2017’s popular title, Breath of the Wild.

©Arief Syauqi/Shutterstock.com

Rumors of a Tears of the Kingdom-Themed Switch: A Timeline

You could say the rumors surrounding this special Tears of the Kingdom-themed Switch OLED model began before the game was even confirmed. In August of 2022 — a month prior to the release of the highly anticipated Splatoon 3 in September of 2022 — Nintendo released a special themed edition of the Nintendo Switch OLED based on the game’s aesthetic. To coincide with the game and the special edition console, Nintendo also released Splatoon 3-themed Pro Controller, complete with carrying case. With this, Nintendo set a new precedent: Major console exclusives get major exclusive consoles.

In the weeks leading up to the release of Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet, Nintendo again announced a special themed edition of the Nintendo Switch OLED based on the new Pokémon game’s aesthetic. The game was set for release in late November of 2022. The Scarlet and Violet-themed Switch OLED released a couple of weeks prior. Now, with two distinct special-edition OLEDs based on two highly anticipated Switch-exclusive sequels — one for Splatoon 3 and one for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet — all eyes turned to The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

It’s undoubtedly the most hyped Nintendo Switch sequel in the console’s history. Zelda fans have been waiting for Tears of the Kingdom since the moment they first dove into The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at the console’s launch in 2017. Now, with the special Splatoon 3 and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet consoles being announced just one month before hitting shelves, Zelda fans are hoping to see a similar announcement in April to coincide with the game’s May 2023 release date. Nintendo has been silent thus far, but a recent major leak online has the rumor mill working overtime.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Specifications

SeriesThe Legend of Zelda (1986- )
FollowsThe Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)
PlatformNintendo Switch
DeveloperNintendo EPD
DirectorHidemaro Fujibayashi
ProducerEiji Aonuma
Release DateMay 12, 2023
ModeSingle player
ESRB RatingE10+ (Fantasy Violence and Mild Suggestive Themes)

Latest Events Pointing Toward a Tears of the Kingdom-Themed Switch

Nintendo has been appropriately hush-hush on this subject of themed consoles. (Just as they were with the previous two specially themed Switch OLED models.) Nevertheless, the internet has gone and practically confirmed the existence of a Tears of the Kingdom-themed Switch all by itself. Nothing ever really remains a mystery on the internet, and this special Switch OLED model is no exception. And yet, during an especially buzzworthy Nintendo Direct presentation in early February of 2023, Nintendo announced a special Collector’s Edition of the game. But alas, no themed Switch OLED model.

Thankfully, the internet never lets us down — even when the big video game companies fall short of what’s expected. Shortly after February’s Nintendo Direct presentation and Collector’s Edition Tears of the Kingdom announcement, Twitter lit up with leaked images of a Joy-Con with the same patterns and designs as the Collector’s Edition packaging. The leaked design is colored forest green with gold patterning over top — closely resembling the same kind of design work Zelda fans saw in Breath of the Wild as well as the marketing for Tears of the Kingdom.

Until Nintendo makes it official, these leaked Joy-Con images are all we have to go off of… for now. Given the timing of the special Splatoon 3 and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet consoles, the company still has some time before they need to make things official. If both the Splatoon 3-themed console and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet-themed console were announced around a month before the game’s release, then that’s probably what we can expect for this rumored Tears of the Kingdom-themed Switch, as well. That means April of 2023 will officially be the month to watch.

Predicted Cost of a Tears of the Kingdom-Themed Switch

It’s hard to say what this rumored Tears of the Kingdom-themed Switch OLED model might cost. After all, it isn’t even officially confirmed. Not to mention, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will be the first Nintendo Switch game priced at $70. This only makes it harder to predict the cost of a Tears of the Kingdom-themed OLED Switch. Nevertheless, we can certainly make a hypothesis. We’ll make our guesses based on past prices of the special Splatoon 3 and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet consoles.

As we said before, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will cost $69.99. Conversely, both Splatoon 3 and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet were $59.99. For this reason, we can expect to add more to the bottom line of any potential Tears of the Kingdom-themed Switch OLED model. The Splatoon 3 Special Edition Switch OLED is priced at $359.99. The same goes for the Pokémon Scarlet and Violet Special Edition Switch OLED. With this in mind, it wouldn’t be outlandish to see Nintendo price a Tears of the Kingdom-themed Switch at $375 or higher.

Given the sheer amount of hype surrounding this game from Zelda fans, Nintendo likely knows they can price this rumored console at a higher price point and still get as many sales. The same is true of the higher-priced game itself, not to mention its Collector’s Deluxe Edition. Announced in February 2023’s Nintendo Direct, this Collector’s Edition will cost $129.99. It includes an official art book, a steelbook case, a steel poster, and a set of four themed pins. This is the most high-profile Switch release yet, and the price of a themed Switch OLED console will definitely match that.

Zelda ocarina of time
Legend of Zelda is one of Nintendo’s best-selling franchises, coming in third behind Mario and Pokemon.


When to Expect a Tears of the Kingdom-Themed Switch

So: Based on the rumor mill — as well as the history of special themed Switch OLED consoles of the past — when can we expect to see a potential Tears of the Kingdom-themed console? All signs point toward April of 2023. With the came set for release on May 12th, Nintendo could potentially announce a Tears of the Kingdom-themed Switch as soon as mid-March for an April release. Look at the Splatoon 3-themed Switch OLED, for example. Announced in July, on sale in August, with the game then dropping in September.

This release strategy also more or less held up with Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. Nintendo announced the specially themed Switch OLED console in September. Then, the themed Switch released on November 4th of 2022 with the game officially dropping two weeks later on November 18th. It’s not an exact match, but it’s close enough that we can say with confidence a Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom-themed Switch would need to be announced by Nintendo very, very soon. Rest assured, our eyes will be fixed to any and all upcoming Nintendo Directs for further announcements.

Rumors About a Special Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom-Themed Switch OLED Model Gain Traction FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

When does Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom come out?

The follow-up to 2017’s hit Zelda game Breath of the Wild, titled Tears of the Kingdom, is currently set for release on March 12th of 2023. The game is priced at $69.99, and, given Nintendo’s tendency to rarely discount its major titles, you shouldn’t expect to see this price drop very much in the years to come.

What is Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom about?

In typical Nintendo fashion, very little is known about the actual plot of Tears of the Kingdom. Even though the game is coming out in just two months, all we know is what Nintendo’s official site tells us. Their description reads, “You’ll decide your own path through the sprawling landscapes of Hyrule and the mysterious islands floating in the vast skies above. Can you harness the power of Link’s new abilities to fight back against the malevolent forces that threaten the kingdom?”

Why is Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom so expensive?

Nintendo says the reason Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is priced at $70 — the first Nintendo Switch game to ever be released at such a price — is because of the sheer size and scope of the game. Thankfully, Nintendo says this won’t become a trend for the console anytime soon.

Do you need to play Breath of the Wild to understand Tears of the Kingdom?

While Tears of the Kingdom is a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild, you don’t necessarily have to play Breath of the Wild to play Tears of the Kingdom. There will likely be a recap at the start of the game which will tell you all you need to know. With that being said, Breath of the Wild is widely considered one of the best video games of all time and is surely worth your time based on that fact alone.

Will there be a Breath of the Wild 3 for the Switch?

With Tears of the Kingdom not even out on shelves yet and Breath of the Wild released way back in 2017, it’s not likely that Breath of the Wild 3 — if it ever happens — will be a Nintendo Switch game. Nintendo tends to move onto new consoles quite quickly, relatively speaking, meaning a new console will probably arrive before a third Breath of the Wild game.

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