The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom leaked earlier this week, and some players have been scrambling to try and play the Switch game ahead of its May 12 release date. While Nintendo hasn’t officially acknowledged the situation, someone who used to work there has, and probably not in the way you’d expect.
Like some players on Reddit and Discord, Twitter user imahumanandimagamer posted an image of Tears of the Kingdom installed early on a Switch. “Lol,” they tweeted as a finger pointed to the game’s icon in the photo. It’s not clear if the game was a pirated install on a hacked Switch or a physical copy purchased early from a reseller or store that broke the street date.
Either Way, Reggie Fils-Aimé, the former President of Nintendo of America for 13 years, ended up responding. “I don’t know what you want,” the veteran gaming exec wrote, quoting Liam Neeson’s ex-assassin turned confused American abroad in the 2008 movie Taken. “What I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career, skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.”
It was funny, and also kind of weird in the way that social media interactions, which are thick with meaning and also collapse all context, often tend to be. Twitter user imahumanandimagamer claims to be 16 years old in their profile. Did a former senior leader at Nintendo, the company renowned for its anti-leak and anti-piracy litigiousness, just joke about killing a kid who may have illegally obtained a copy of Tears of the Kingdom?
Someone immediately told imahumanandimagamer they messed up and should probably make their account private. Within an hour the account was deleted, but Fils-Aimé tweeted a screenshot of the interaction for posterity. For the posterity of the memes only, I’m sure.
I have no idea if Fils-Aimé will have gotten early access to the game, but he’ll no doubt be playing once it’s out either way. A huge Nintendo fan in his own right, The Legend of Zelda series holds a special place in his heart. Perhaps the most memorable passage from his recent business biography revolves around Link To the Past, a game that became like “a second job” for him.
“I would spend the day creating and implementing marketing programs for Pizza Hut and then come home to play Zelda after making dinner and continue deep into the night,” he wrote. Fils-Aimé would play with his sons and at one point even called up Nintendo’s gameplay hotline to beg for help solving one of the dungeon puzzles.
He goes on:
After progressing through the game one evening, I was at the final boss battle. Beating this enemy would complete the game. At this point, it was around 3:00 a.m., and I would have to be up in a few hours to ready myself for work. I stopped to get a couple hours of sleep, but during my working day all I could think about was getting back to the game.
I walked into the house that evening to the sound of my son squealing with excitement. My heart sank. I knew exactly what had happened. He had found my file and had spent the next few hours trying to beat the final boss. He had accomplished this just before I had walked in the door. He was able to watch the credits for the game, which I would never get to see as these played only the first time a game was completed.
This was prior to Fils-Aimé’s career at Nintendo, so he was unable to have Nintendo Ninjas disappear his son, too. Instead he would go on to create the Pizza Hut Bigfoot Pizza a couple years later.