Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s differences on Switch compared to Wii U


Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a title that some people bought their Wii U’s specifically to play, even when their was no firm release date or official title. So when it was announced for the Nintendo Switch, then referred to as the NX, you could sense the wave of crushing disappointment from fans, like a thousand voices cried out in terror before suddenly taking their outrage to Twitter.

The outrage dissipated somewhat when it was understood that Breath of the Wild would in fact still be being released on Wii U, but the disappointment was still felt given it would most likely not be the ideal version to play, being on the older hardware.

Zelda Wii U

We want that sweet, flowing grass damn it. (Also again: 2016, hah!)

Well today Nintendo have specified exactly what the differences between the Switch and Wii U versions are in Breath of the Wild, and while most of them are fairly standard and to be expected, one of them some might find strange.

In a statement to IGN, Nintendo clarified that both versions will include the same content and aim for a frame rate of 30fps. There’ll obviously be some changes regarding button prompts, given the two consoles have different button layouts. Breath of the Wild will be rendered at a higher resolution on the Switch when in TV mode, running at 900p, while the Switch handheld mode and Wii U version will render at 720p.

But interestingly, Nintendo specified that the Switch version will have better quality sounds compared to the Wii U. In the aforementioned statement, Nintendo said:

The Nintendo Switch version has higher-quality environmental sounds. As a result, the sound of steps, water, grass, etc. are more realistic and enhance the game’s Open-Air feel.

Maybe this isn’t a surprise to some, but sound quality wasn’t something I imagined would be highlighted as a difference between two versions of a game, at least not in a significant enough way to warrant a mention. And definitely not in a game that isn’t a remastered classic from five to 10 years ago. But there you go, Breath of the Wild’s Open-Air™ feel will be better on Switch.

With quick regard to the resolution, having played a bit of Breath of the Wild at the Switch event this past Saturday in TV mode and handheld, I actually preferred the 720p version on the handheld screen rather than 900p on the TV. Even though the resolution was higher, the lack of anti-aliasing produced more obvious jagged edges and combined with Breath of the Wild’s minimalist art style it just didn’t look as good in my opinion. Then again, the same 720p resolution displayed on 1080p/4K TVs on the Wii U probably won’t look as hot either, such is the issue of displaying lower resolutions on higher resolution screens. But there’s my quick two cents on that.

Breath of the Wild launches along with the Nintendo Switch and on the Wii U on March 3, 2017.

Take Tom’s breath (of the wild) away on Twitter: @tomdheath. Don’t forget to follow @load_screen and like us on Facebook.


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