Despite claims that the experience would be the ‘same,’ Nintendo reveals every difference between the Switch and Wii U versions of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

When Nintendo first started talking about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on two platforms, the Wii U and the Switch (codenamed NX at the time), the company promised that there would not be any differences between the two versions. However, now that the Nintendo Switch specs are out there and the company has begun talking about everything the new console can do when compared to the old one, the narrative has changed a bit.

Admittedly, nothing too drastic will change when comparing the Switch version of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with the Wii U version, but the Switch version will objectively run and look better. We already know that Zelda on Wii U will only require 3GB of space, whereas the Switch version will need 13GB, but apparently there are a few other key differences worth pointing out.

The difference between the two versions that most will call attention to is the resolution, with the Wii U delivering a 720p experience and the Switch version running at 900p. Resolutions rarely are a selling point for Nintendo consoles or games, but knowing that one is higher resolution is sure to influence a few gamers towards the Switch. That being said, both versions will run at 30fps, so while one version may look slightly better it won’t run any better.

For those avid Zelda collectors out there, we are sad to report that the Master Edition of Breath of the Wild is exclusive to the Switch, meaning there will be no Wii U version on launch day. The good news is that Nintendo isn’t delaying the Wii U version of the game like they did with Twilight Princess in an effort to help sell Switch consoles.

Check out the full list of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild key facts below:

  • 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.

Another interesting item of note is that the Switch version will have “higher quality environmental sounds.” What exactly that encompasses isn’t entirely clear, but according to Nintendo these environmental sounds will help give the game a more “open air” feel.


All told, though, it appears that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be a similar experience on both platforms, with the Switch version looking slightly better and having a few extra bells and whistles. Outside of that, it’s hard to imagine a Wii U player feeling like they got a lesser experience by missing out on the environmental sounds. After all, Zelda uses a unique art style that favors design over fidelity.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild releases March 3, 2017 for Switch and Wii U.