The most hotly-anticipated video game of the year — if not the last several years — released at midnight, and hundreds lined up on the streets of downtown Toronto into the early morning hours to get their hands on a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
Sales for the sequel to the 2017 smash-hit, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, launched at the GameStop at Yonge-Dundas Square in what felt like a celebration of the new Nintendo Switch title that fans have been waiting years to experience.
Anticipation was clearly at unprecedented levels for this open-world adventure game, and crowds queued in a snaking line stretching blocks from the store until as late as 3 a.m. to get in on the fun.
The line snaked from the GameStop at 267 Yonge Street, north to Dundas Square, east to Victoria Street, and then back south towards Shuter in an impressive late-night turnout.
Devoted gamers deprived themselves of sleep to camp out for the midnight ribbon-cutting and the subsequent wait in line. People at the front of the line were camped out as early as 5 p.m. on Thursday.
To keep the crowds from growing restless during the lengthy waits, Nintendo of Canada organized Legend of Zelda themed-trivia and fan engagement.
What’s truly surprising about this snaking overnight queue is that digital copies of the game can be purchased through the Nintendo Store for $89.99 and installed immediately. It can only be assumed that Zelda gamers arrived en masse for the chance to purchase the physical copy Collector’s Edition, which retails in stores for $174.99.
The game follows the immense success of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which sold over 30 million copies between 2017 and 2022, and is considered one of the flagship titles on the Nintendo Switch system, released for the portable gaming console’s launch six years ago.
Its long-anticipated sequel will bring gamers back to the sprawling open-world landscapes of mythical Hyrule for hundreds of hours of new adventures.
But first, local Zelda fans might want to catch some sleep before embarking on their binge.