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Just days after release, 'Breath of the Wild' is running on a Wii U emulator

Why it matters to you

Breath of the Wild is getting rave reviews, but it's still only playable in 720p or 900p. With this emulator, it could potentially be playable in 4K.

Praised for its innovative game design and killer visuals, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild went from one of the most eagerly anticipated games of 2017 to one of the best reviewed games in recent memory. To celebrate the release of Breath of the Wild, the team behind the CemU Wii U emulator figured out how to get the game to run on a PC.

Partially, anyway.

Just two days after Breath of the Wild hit store shelves, the CemU team had managed to get it working on their Wii U emulation platform. Don’t get too excited — it’s still in very early stages, and most of the game is unplayable due to game-breaking physics bugs and other major issues.

According to Kotaku Australia, you can’t get very far in the game, and performance is still a little rough. Running on an Intel Core i7-4790K, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 780, and 8GB of system memory, the emulation delivers predictably choppy performance. The real achievement here is that it’s running at all, the CemU team went from barely being able to access the menus in Breath of the Wild to having access to the full game in just two days.

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Motherboard spoke to “Exzap,” one of the CemU team’s developers, and shed some light on the magnitude of their achievement, as well as their plans for the future.

“The goal is to get every game running 100 percent eventually. How we get there and how long it will take is difficult to answer. But in regards to [Breath of the Wild] I think we will see small incremental improvements in almost every future CemU release. It’s been this way for most other games so far,” Exzap said, speaking with Motherboard’s Jordan Pearson.

Eventually, the goal is to have a fully functional version of Breath of the Wild capable of running in CemU, which could mean you’d be able to play the game at resolutions beyond its native 720p or 900p. That is, unless Nintendo’s legal team manages to squash the project first, an eventuality which Exzap says he’s already preparing for.