Nintendo’s long-rumored special edition Zelda game was likely about to be revealed, according to information that was released on Reddit in March by a Massachusetts GameStop employee. A Mini-Direct for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will soon be available. News of a special edition for the successor to a best-seller would be huge for customers eager to purchase a new system because special editions like this are prized collectibles. The employee who disclosed the information was dismissed by GameStop this week, and he claims to have been informed that Nintendo was involved in the decision.

I receive a foe from the upcoming team ninja game. PTSD in Sekiro.

Back in March, Mike who asked for it kotaku Using only his first name, posted a photo of a GameStop computer screen showing that the inventory database had been updated with a secret new Switch model on the Tears of the Kingdom underreddit. It was the day before Nintendo’s big extended gameplay reveal for Tears of the Kingdomand the employee speculated in the post that it was a special edition zelda Switch, which was leaked back in December, would be announced during the stream. Mike says he was fired on April 11, about two weeks later.

In a phone interview with kotaku, Mike said he made the leak because he was a big fan of the franchise and wanted to give others a heads up should pre-orders go live that day. GameStop in particular has had issues with pre-order buyers in the past, although that wasn’t a reason for the leak Mike cited. On March 28th, Nintendo unveiled a special edition Switch, and the following day pre-orders went online at GameStop and other retailers.

At the time, the Reddit post didn’t get many positive votes, and the now-former employee said he doesn’t think it’s a big deal, as he didn’t technically leak any images or specific details about the console itself. and the post itself was largely speculative. Nintendo also tends to release dedicated consoles like this for most of its major releases such as: Pokemon.

Collector’s Editions are a big deal at GameStop

But on April 5, a week later, Mike said the company blamed the leak on them. He comes in for his afternoon shift after checking out the new ones Super Mario Bros. Movie On the day he was released, his district manager called him to a meeting in the back room, he said. The employee, who was video-conferenced by another GameStop supervisor, said he was asked if he did the job and if he knew it was against company policy.

Mike said he confessed immediately but claimed he wasn’t aware it was against the company’s social media policies. The district chief took her keys and put her on suspension, saying the ultimate punishment could vary between a first offense and termination. Ultimately it was the latter. And the now former employee holds Nintendo to blame.

When their manager called on April 11 to break the bad news, he said the manager “unofficially” told them that Nintendo had forced the company into action and called for the employee to be fired over the leak. Mike shared the allegation further Tears of the Kingdom subreddit shortly after, writing, “Hopefully you’ve been able to get all your Switch preorders as I can’t get mine right now.”

GameStop and Nintendo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Image: Nintendo

Another store clerk corroborated Mike’s statement kotaku, and said they were told by the same store manager in a separate conversation that Nintendo was the catalyst. “He was a great worker,” they said of Mike, adding that he was one of the frontrunners in the region when it came to hitting GameStop’s aggressive sales targets.

Whoever made the decision to fire her, the leaker would have been easy to spot. Her social media accounts, including Instagram, Twitter, and Twitch, were linked to her Reddit account in various ways and included multiple references to her general geographic location as well as selfies. “I wasn’t really trying to cover my tracks because I didn’t know it was going to lead to that,” Mike said kotaku.

As a large retailer staffed mostly by entry-level users and paying terrible hourly rates, GameStop has historically been a hotbed of major gaming leaks assassin‘S Believe To call of Duty. But it’s rare to hear of anyone actually being fired in connection with any of the leaks. Perhaps less surprisingly, this just happened to be related to a major Nintendo reveal. The Mario maker has been on the warpath against leaks for years and most recently attempted to subpoena Discord over the private data of someone who shared images of Tears of the Kingdom Collector’s Edition Art Book.

When asked if the former GameStop employee ultimately managed to a zelda Switch pre-order, confirmed Mike. “But unfortunately I can’t afford it anymore because I don’t have work,” he said. Mike added that when his manager had to break the bad news over the phone, he pointed out how unfortunate it was: “This is your favorite company and now they hate you.”