March 3rd can’t come fast enough as probably the most anticipated Zelda game ever is launching on both the WiiU and Nintendo Switch. With the recent controversy surrounding the Switch’s higher than expected price point, are the version differences between Breath of the Wild enough to warrant buying a new console to play it? Lets see what we know so far.
Firstly before we delve into screenshots, here’s an official statement from Nintendo on the version differences:
- Both launch on the same day, March 3.
- Both have a frame rate of 30fps.
- Both versions of the game offer the same content.
- On a TV, the Nintendo Switch version of the game renders in 900p while the Wii U version renders in 720p.
- 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.
- The physical copy of the Wii U version will require 3GB of available memory on the Wii U system or an external drive.
- Some icons, such as onscreen buttons, differ between the two versions.
- A Special Edition and Master Edition of the Wii U version are not available.
With that in mind, the main things to take away here are 720p on WiiU vs 900p on Switch (when docked) and higher quality environmental sounds. No mention of HD Rumble, (which if not utilised I think would be a major misstep), or a difference in frame rate.
With all that said, let’s have a look at a few images we have so far of the game running on both WiiU and Nintendo Switch. (WiiU images on left [above on mobile] , Switch on right [below] ).
Above we have our first image comparison. This is far from a perfect example for comparison sake as the game features a day and night cycle and these aren’t taken at the same time, with the WiiU one taken at 3:25PM and the Switch 5:15AM because of this the light is cast differently in both images. However what we can see is that the draw distance is noticeably better on the Switch version (right) especially when looking at Death Mountain, a lot more detail can be seen. Also potentially a better anti-aliasing technique is being used as when looking at Link’s arms the Switch seems to have less jagged edges.
Once again these pictures differ heavily because of the light but if you look closely there is one very noticeable difference. If you look at the tall thin pillar near the centre of the screen in the Switch version, (it’s slightly further to the right in the WiiU image) you can see that to the left of this pillar there is some form of camp or tent on the cliff edge. This is not visible at all on the WiiU version which would solidify claims that the draw distance is better in Switch.
Once again we have to look hard to see the differences here, Link looks exactly the same to my eyes, and the detailing on the structure in front of him seems just as detailed in both images. This seems to indicate that there will be no texture differences between the games. Though, there is one difference, once again there is a pillar or turret on the far left hand side of the screen. If we zoom in you can see that the ridges on the sides of the turret almost fade away in the WiiU version, again suggestive the difference in draw distance.
It seems that Nintendo have failed to say anything about a clear difference in draw distance in any of its statements regarding the version differences, but apart from that the differences do seem slight. Of course we’ll know more when we get our hands on the final release but until then it seems whichever platform you play on, Breath of the Wild is going to be a beautiful entry into the Legend of Zelda series.