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Nintendo of America tweeted on 17 May 2023 that The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has sold 10 million copies globally in the first three days of its release making it the fastest-selling game in the Legend of Zelda series.

Legend of Zelda

Since its release on May 12, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has already outsold all the other Legend of Zelda games except Breath of the Wild—which it is a sequel to. Released in 2017 on Wii U and Switch, Breath of the Wild sold nearly 30 million copies as of March 2023, according to Statista.

In the UK, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has become the biggest physical video game launch in 2023. According to report, the game sold 50% more physical copies compared to Hogwarts Legacy which previously held the record.

“The huge opening sales of the latest Zelda places it amongst the biggest paid-for games ever released,” Piers Harding-Rolls of Ampere Analysis told BBC News. “With estimated gross sales of well over $600m, this title is comparable to some of the best-ever launches but falls a little short of the biggest.”

Nintendo is revered in the gaming industry for always pushing the limit but Harding-Rolls links the success of Tears of the Kingdom to two main factors. “Zelda has always been a beloved franchise for Nintendo fans but the success of the Switch console and the reinvention of the franchise into an open-world experience has transformed its appeal,” Harding-Rolls added.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has technically beaten most top-grossing triple-A games

Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

On the day of its release, we highlighted the many reasons why Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will be a hit. However, how big of a hit the game already is will be better understood when it is placed side-by-side with some of the big hitters in the gaming industry.

  • It took Cyberpunk 2077 twenty-one days to sell 13.7 million copies.
  • Hogwarts Legacy sold 12 million copies in 14 days.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 grossed $1 billion in 14 days. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom retails at $70 which means it has grossed $700 million in three days.
  • Grand Theft Auto 5 sold $800 million worth of copies in the first 24 hours and grossed over $1 billion in three days which remains an all-time record.

What is even more interesting about the announced 10 million copies that Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has sold is that the game is a Switch exclusive. All the other games that we compared to it above were released on multiple platforms.

In other words, no other console exclusive games can rival the feat that The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has achieved. To put the figures into context, The Last of Us which was PlayStation exclusive sold 1.3 million units in its first week. It took God of War: Ragnarok three months to sell 11 million copies. Horizon Forbidden West sold only 8.4 million copies in an entire year.

Without a doubt, Nintendo has one of the most loyal game fans in the world. Perhaps, the reason why they are recording more sales is because their games are family-friendly. The only other console-exclusive game that can be compared with The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is Pokémon Scarlet and Violet which sold 10 million copies in three days—but on two separate SKUs.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom creators answer important questions

Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

WIRED sat with The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom producer Eiji Aonuma and the game director Hidemaro Fujibayashi to discuss a couple of important questions surrounding the game, including Link’s stink. WIRED was curious to know why the developers decided to set the new game in the same world as Breath of the Wild.

“I really felt that this world we’d made still had a lot of potential for a new play that we could dig into,” said Aonuma. “So, this something I suggested to Mr. Fujibayashi. Little did I know he already had some ideals in his head about ways that he might accomplish that.”

Fujibayashi recalled how the team was mashing different stuff together to create cool tools like putting four cog wheels together with a stone slate to create a makeshift car. The idea was exciting and provided “a DIY tank that Link can now ride”.

“That really was our way to prove that without adding anything from a programming perspective, other than perhaps the ability for Link to stick things together, that we can expand the way that the game can be played,” Fujibayashi said. “We took all these videos, put them together, and presented them to Mr. Aonuma. That was kind of the beginning of Tears of the Kingdom.”

While the ability to craft things was an idea that developed with the game, Link’s Ascend ability was something Fujibayashi thought about during the testing of the game when he found himself navigating endlessly through a cave.

Fujibayashi and Aonuma also talked about the massive underground region of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom as well as the best and worst things they have created with Fuse and Ultrahand. You can check the full interview with WIRED here.

By the way, how many copies do you think The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom would sell in 14 days? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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