It was only released last week, but already Nintendo’s critical smash hit The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been emulated on PC.
Motherboard reports that a hacked version of the game’s Wii U release was available online very shortly after the official release. It can be played using existing Wii U emulators.
However, the game is described as being far from perfect” with a host of bugs that make parts unplayable”. However, work will continue on the title and it is expected that most of the issues will be eventually addressed.
It’s also reasonable to expect that, as has been the case with some older Nintendo releases, the emulated PC version could go on to technically outperform the actual title, most notably by potentially running it at higher resolutions.
"I think a lot of [the speed] can be attributed to Xenoblade Chronicles X, which is a similar open-world game that already presented us the same technical challenges early on," one of the emulator’s co-developers said.
"The goal is to get every game running 100 per cent 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 release. It’s been this way for most other games so far."
Nintendo has a long history of facing off against those who violate its copyright, but the Nintendo emulation scene is vast, and thriving. A range of working emulators are available that virtually make the platform holder’s entire back catalogue accessible.
Many of these releases go above and beyond what is offered by the original title, too, although many enthusiasts will tell you that emulation is always a poor substitute for experiencing the real game on the proper hardware.