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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Is Already Running on PC (Sort Of)

The CEMU emulator team has the Wii U version running at about 15FPS.

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is only a Nintendo Switch and Wii U title, but thanks to the power of emulators, the game is already running on a PC, albeit a bit sporadically.

The Cemu emulator, which runs Wii U games on PC and is a follow up to the Dolphin GameCube emulator, is running on an i7-4790K PC running a GTX 780 and 8GB RAM  Developer Exzap posted a video on Reddit (via PCGamer) of the game running, although it wasn't necessarily playable The video shows about 10-15FPS, which would excruciatingly painful to any gamer.

"Audio is muted because it is just white noise," Exzap wrote. "Lots of bugs that make the game unplayable. Physic glitches, rune abilities that require object selection don't work, no water collision, etc. Essentially it's impossible to leave the tutorial area without using a save."

So while there is progress, don't expect to be booting it up in your emulator any time soon, but the signs are encouraging. "The game pretty much ran this way out of the box after the few issues were resolved that prevented it from going in-game," Exzap said. "I was actually very surprised to see it running this good with no extra work required,"  

Exzap said he will continue to push forward with the work. "I don't yet know precise details about why the game is running slow. That said, CPU bound games usually profit from improvements to the recompiler/JIT core. Additionally, Cemu is rather young so there is also optimization potential almost everywhere in the code. My guess is that we will see small incrementals in speed for almost every future Cemu release."

Keep in mind, though, that while all this work is encouraging, Nintendo has taken a dim view of emulators since pirated versions are used. Given the newness of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, this project may not be going for long.

Contributing Editor

From The Chatty

  • reply
    March 7, 2017 1:20 PM

    John Keefer posted a new article, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Is Already Running on PC (Sort Of)

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      March 7, 2017 1:34 PM

      that looks very playable to me

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        March 7, 2017 1:38 PM

        Its really not.

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          March 7, 2017 1:45 PM

          ok after not scrubbing through the video I saw the big pauses, youre right :( I could easily live with 15fps though

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      March 7, 2017 1:35 PM

      That's, unfortunately, what they get for not shafting the Wii U playerbase.

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        March 7, 2017 2:34 PM

        Why is it unfortunate?? We are going to be able to play the game with higher resolutions and presumably more stable framerates. If people are going to pirate the game they are going to do it weather its emulated or not.

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          March 7, 2017 3:16 PM

          The Switch will be emulated eventually.

          The Wii U is emulated right now.

          Sales window means a world of difference.

          That said cemu might be years before it gets full speed on it.

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            March 8, 2017 3:46 AM

            Even if their prediction of getting it to run within 4 months is accurate, I sure as hell won't play a a 50-100 hours rpg game on dodgy emulation. I love dolphin and I will sure as fuck at some point play botw on cemu but anything requiring significant time investment is way too risky unless its been out for quite some time.

            A game breaking bug 20 hours in? Tough luck (i remember folks being butthurt about this in ocarina of time emulation) .
            Cpu cores desync constantly? annoying as fuck even when just playing some action game.
            Worst case scenario would be some savegame corruption or something.

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              March 8, 2017 6:22 AM

              I personally would like to play it on emulation even without the intent of actually finishing it. Just being able to see and play it at a decent resolution and framerate would be enough for me.

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                March 8, 2017 6:48 AM

                I want it to work well on an emulator so someone can make a sick tool-assisted speedrun of it. I imagine they could break the game to a hilarious degree with perfect execution.

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      March 7, 2017 1:36 PM

      "Audio is muted because it is just white noise," Exzap wrote. "Lots of bugs that make the game unplayable. Physic glitches, rune abilities that require object selection don't work, no water collision, etc. Essentially it's impossible to leave the tutorial area without using a save."

      ouch

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        March 7, 2017 1:59 PM

        Honestly it's impressive that the emulator runs the game at all out of the box with no tweaking or anything.

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          March 7, 2017 2:04 PM

          Yep. This should be the takeaway here.

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          March 7, 2017 2:04 PM

          This. I'm thoroughly enjoying playing it on my Switch right now, but I'm glad this will eventually be there for the same reason I'm glad Dolphin is in the state it is now - When I go back and play Metroid Prime, ultrawidescreen 1440p beats the pants off my Gamecube's output. Zelda will likely be the same in a few years.

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      March 7, 2017 2:11 PM

      i would expect this'll take a while to get truly playable considering wind waker HD is still touch & go unless you're on a trigger rig.

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      March 7, 2017 2:31 PM

      I believe that by the end of May this will be fully playable with 4k res... just in time for a 2nd play through

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      March 7, 2017 5:21 PM

      Cool didn't really know Wii u emulation was that far along