Nintendo revealed at E3 2016 that the next entry in the storied Legend of Zelda franchise wouldn’t be a Wii U exclusive as was originally announced. Instead, Breath of the Wild would also be released on Nintendo’s upcoming gaming system (what eventually became known as the Switch).
Now, courtesy of a recent exchange between IGN and Nintendo, we’ve got a bit more information on the matter which may be alarming to some.
The “key facts” that Nintendo shared about the game – that are relevant to this story, at least – are that it’ll run at 30 frames per second on both the Wii U and the Switch. Here’s where it gets interesting: on a television, the Switch version will render at 900p while the Wii U will be limited to 720p.
The new system will also afford higher-quality environmental audio so things like footsteps, water, grass and so on will seem more realistic and thus, enhance the game’s open-air feel compared to the Wii U.
While the Switch’s built-in LCD screen operates at up to 720p, Nintendo has said that the Switch can support resolutions of up to 1080p when docked and connected to an HD-capable display. This, as The Verge suggests, seems to indicate that the Switch simply isn’t powerful enough to drive a 1080p experience.
Nintendo traditionally isn’t known for focusing on the sheer power of its hardware, instead opting to invest in the content and storytelling aspects of its games. Based on what we’ve seen of Zelda so far, it’s safe to say that it’s not a jaw-dropping graphical masterpiece.
We also have to consider the fact that this is one of the first games being developed for a brand new system. It’s not uncommon to take years for developers to really learn the hardware and be able to maximize its potential.
Then again, the fact that a launch title based on one of Nintendo’s most popular franchises can seemingly only muster 1080p30 at a time when the competition already has 4K-capable hardware on the market is hard to overlook.
One could argue that the game may be limited on the Switch for the simple fact that it was originally developed for the Wii U and thus, not optimized to take full advantage of the new hardware.
While on the subject, Nintendo also revealed that some onscreen buttons will differ between the Wii U and Switch versions but otherwise, they’ll both offer the same content. Furthermore, the physical copy of the Wii U version will require 3GB of local storage either on the system itself or via an external drive. And last but not least, the Special Edition and Master Edition bundles will be limited to the Switch only.