Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Is Running On An Emulator Already

Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Is Running On An Emulator Already
An image of the error received when people tried to boot Breath of the Wild update on Cemu previously.

You can’t play the game through to the finish yet, thanks to a series of game-breaking bugs. But to some degree Zelda: Breath of the Wild works on an emulator, which is kind of staggering.

The footage below is from Breath of the Wild running through the CemU Wii U emulator, using an i7-4790K CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 and 8GB of RAM (speeds not mentioned). The original poster of the footage wrote that the game wasn’t in a good state right now, and that he chose not to alter the speed of the video to best illustrate how dodgy things currently are.

“Lots of bugs that make the game unplayable,” exzap, one of the Cemu developers, said on Reddit. “[Physics] 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.”

But while the state of things looks poor right now, the rate of progress has been remarkable. Breath of the Wild was refusing to boot a couple of days ago, so to get things to the point where Link can interact with enemies, run around the open world, use runes and take fall damage without the game crashing is pretty impressive.

It’ll probably be months, if not a year, before Breath of the Wild actually gets to a consistently smooth, playable state. But there’s an undeniable utility in being able to have Zelda working on an emulator, ranging from game preservation, accessibility issues and, well, the appeal of playing Zelda in 4K.

That said, it’s worth reminding everyone that making an image of your Wii U version of Breath of the Wild isn’t technically legal in Australia, irrespective of whether you paid for the disc. Bird & Bird’s Oliver Smith had a chat with Lifehacker about that, in case you’re interested.

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  • I so want to hear what the game preservation types think about their cause being used to justify this sort of practice. That’s like saying Johnny Depp has enough money now or Meryl Streep has enough accolades already so it’s fine to pirate their movies, and then asking a film historian if they agree.

    As with any of these types of posts, I’d ask about what those particular specs cost in today’s terms to actually put into perspective what I’d be saving $ wise by simply not buying the game. That’s the cost of the components, in Australian retail terms.

    “I just got reamed by Gerry Harvey on the price of a 4K computer monitor, but gee at least Nintendo didn’t get my money. Maybe that’ll teach them to put Metroid on Xbox.”

    • The process of making these things playable on emulators also uncovers a lot of the programming techniques and tricks that made them come together in the first place. That has a lot of educational value, even if modern development goes down a very different path, and without this sort of work you lose all of that knowledge.

      Personally, I look at this as more of a programming accomplishment and a tool for able gamers. If you look at the work done on Dolphin as well, a lot of the techniques needed to get certain games working were necessary later the line to get much rarer, often ignored titles, to work at all.

      • No arguments there, of course! The feat of it being done is an accomplishment, to say the least.

        • But you are right!
          It’s rare that I actually laugh out loud at the Internet, but that Depp, pirating, historian simile was one of them.

          It’s a game that came out two days ago, tethering it to the preservation angle is a bit rich.
          A little different if we were talking about old titles that are becoming harder and harder to find.

          I’m not innocent, I used the Dolphin Emulator to play games that didn’t get a release here and I’m looking at building an old arcade emulator cabinet with a Rasberry Pi, so I’m also on that side of the fence to some degree.

      • It’s all fine and dandy to justify this sort of thing as ‘education value’ and ‘preserving’ the game for historical purposes however this game just came out and undoubtedly there will be plenty of people that want to play this game but won’t go out and buy the game or a console to play it.

        • Haven’t a lot of studies shown that the majority of people pirating wouldn’t have paid for it anyway? Not agreeing with it in any shape or form, but they’re not losing money if the person wasn’t going to give it in the first place.

          • It doesn’t matter whether they were going to buy it or not anyway. There’s plenty of games that i have no intention of ever buying but it doesn’t make it ok if i go and pirate them and play them anyway.

            realistically if someone goes and plays BotW emulated and spends anywhere from 50-100 hours or more playing it then realistically they should’ve bought the game.

          • Again, didn’t say I agree with it, was merely making the point that a majority portion that pirate things, wouldn’t have bought it anyway. Developers, and studios use a lot of figures that often show how much they’ve “lost” due to piracy, when realistically, those people weren’t going to buy it to being with.

            TL DR – Can’t lose money you didn’t have

        • Except that the car’s owner continues to have their car and goes happily about their life with no idea that you’ve done anything.

    • The fact is that many people(myself included) believe that Nintendo should give up the console war and stick to handhelds. They’ve now introduced some kind of odd hybrid that isn’t a great home console and isn’t a great handheld either. It’s bad at both.

      No matter which way you look at the Wii U. It was a failure. A god damn failure. The Switch is also getting pretty mediocre reviews. People don’t want to invest into a pretty pricey console with several issues, overpriced accessories and no gaurentee of good games. Imagine what a Zelda game would look like on proper hardware. Imagine the millions of copies it would sell. Nintendo should give up, become third party.

      • Sitting at my desk at work on a break currently, playing Zelda. I have a PS4, and a fairly high end gaming PC, I’d still rather be playing Zelda exactly like this, because otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to

      • Almost a decade later and people still think the console war is legitimately a thing.

        • A decade later than what?

          Competition between console manufacturers is a real thing and has been since gaming consoles have existed – much longer than a decade. Remember when Sega used to make consoles? Y’know, before they couldn’t compete and lost their market share to their competitors? There is no reason to think that can’t happen again.

          • Than the concept of a “console war” not being lazy bullshit and Nintendo directly competing for the same market space.

      • You can believe that Nintendo should go 3rd party until the cows come home but that doesn’t change the reality of the situation which is, the only place to legitimately play a Nintendo game is on Nintendo hardware. your belief they should go 3rd party doesn’t make it ok to pirate a game and play it via emulation when it’s not hard to get the hardware or the game to play it on unlike with NES SNES and N64.

    • I’m curious, is there an issue if I buy the game cartridge, and then download the emulator file because I don’t own a switch and don’t want to buy a console for one game. Is that still stealing/illegal?

  • Seeing as we’re all on the nostalgia train with movie reboots, Nokia bringing back the 3310, and the fact that you can go out and buy a brand new DeLorean DMC-12 in 2017, maybe we can get a rebooted Don’t Copy That Floppy from J.J. Abrams to tell everyone to stop spreading roms like STDs.

  • You can’t play the game through to the finish yet, thanks to a series of game-breaking bugs. But to some degree Zelda: Breath of the Wild works on an emulator, which is kind of staggering.

    Is the first sentence referring to game-breaking bugs when the game is emulated? Or just game-breaking bugs that mean you can’t finish the game on the intended hardware?

  • Hardly a shock.. it’s the Wii U version which in itself – is a console with an emulator freely available. The fact it is so broken when emulated is more of a shock to me..

  • Look. I’m not buying a shitty Wii U or a shitty switch to play one game at 720p (Wii U) /900p (Switch) locked at 30fps. Not a chance in the world. When this gets running on an emulator with unlocked fps, running at 2k or 4k, then I will happily go buy a copy of the game on sale at the time, stick the plastic in a drawer, and continue about my merry business. Nintendo’s questionable business tactics are not my burden to bear.

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