Zelda: Breath of the Wild WiiU emulator

Zelda: Breath of the Wild Coming to PC

WiiU Emulators are close to porting the latest Zelda game to PC

Unless you have been living the remote forests of Oregon or under a rock, you should know that the most anticipated game of the year was just released last week. As a premier Nintendo Switch launch title, Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been selling like hotcakes, blowing everyone’s mind, and stirring interest in Wii U emulation.

Zelda: Breath of the Wild gameplay emulated on the PC

Why Wii U Emulation? Wait a second…the Wii U can be Emulated? Yes, you read correctly, Wii U emulation is now possible. That is, if you have a decent gaming PC. The sudden rise of Wii U emulation interest is related to the secondary release of Zelda Breath of the Wild for Wii U. In other words, Wii U emulation fanatics have been eagerly awaiting the Wii U release of Zelda so that they can play this game on their PC. So is it possible to run Zelda: Breath of the Wild on a Wii U emulator? Yes and no. There is some good news but also some bad news.

CEMU

Before I discuss the details of emulating Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I will tell you how this is even possible. First released in 2015, the Wii U emulator Cemu has only recently gained its footing. Mario World 3D, Mario Kart 8 and many games run flawlessly at high frame rates on Cemu. Additionally, the system requirements to make these games run are fairly moderate.

The Cemu team lists the requirements as:

  • Windows 7 or above (Sorry Windows Vista owners you are out of luck)
  • Open GL 4.0 (this comes with pretty much all modern graphics cards)
  • A minimum of 4GB of ram. 6 GB is recommended

I recommend at least 8GB. I need eight because the fifty bazillion open Chrome tabs serious cut into my system resources.

More WiiU games emulated on PC

Be careful when emulating!

As emulator enthusiasts know, trying out Wii U games is quasi-legal unless you own copies of the original Nintendo games. I own both Mario World 3D and Mario Kart 8. So I gave these games a go. I was blown away by the results. Both of these games ran at perfectly smooth frame rates with no graphic glitches.

I also found that special options could be enabled to some games at the resolution of 1080P and 4k. After all these years, Super Mario World 3D is still a looker. That said, Mario World 3D running at 4K resolution is gorgeous.

Bad News

Although Mario World 3D and Mario Kart 8 work perfectly, Zelda: Breath of the Wild does not. That said, we shouldn’t despair for the reasons mentioned below. Currently, Zelda: Breath of the Wild only runs at a snail’s pace. At around 10-15 fps, the emulated Wii U version of Zelda is pretty much unplayable. Beyond this low frame-rate, there is no sound, and graphical glitches pop up everywhere.

Good News

Although there are a huge amount of problems currently preventing Zelda: Breath of the Wild from being emulated well, the developers have made a tremendous amount of progress in the little time they have had with the game. Even getting the game to boot less than a week after release is a huge achievement. Providing no specific details, the developers say they are working on getting these issues under control.

In sum, we may not have a playable emulated Zelda: Breath of the Wild yet. The potential that we will soon, is very real. If the Cemu developers can master Zelda, soon the best way to play Breath of the Wild may be on PC and in 4K.

Written by Jeffrey Vadala

Jeffrey Vadala Ph.D. the "The Digital Anthropologist" is a gamer, writer, filmmaker, archaeologist, and an anthropologist of digital culture. He has taught classes, researched, and published on topics such as ancient Maya ritual and architecture, the emergence of online MMORPG cultures and the uses of virtual reality in digital forms of social analysis. He has also played in several indie rock groups like Sunscreen Bindi (See Soundcloud) and Someone Who Isn't Me. For more information about Jeffrey visit www.jeffreyvadala.com

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