Watch 'fully playable' Breath of the Wild running at 4K in the Cemu emulator

It was just a month ago that the makers of the Cemu emulator were able to get The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild running on their software. Not particularly well, but, as we noted, "with at least the possibility of proper, playable 30 fps performance in its future—although not for at least several weeks, and possibly even years." But the work appears to be coming along very quickly: Two weeks ago, they shared a new teaser showing BotW running on Cemu 1.7.4 at what looked to be an almost-solid 30 fps, and now YamGaming has put up a video using the same build, claiming that it is now"fully playable [and] beatable."

The game looks dramatically improved over what we saw in mid-March thanks to a slew of visual fixes listed in the trailer: The grass looks like it's supposed to, Link doesn't clip through the ground anymore, water is swimmable, and objects can now be locked, moved, and otherwise messed around with as intended. The framerate is much better as well, still wonky in places but far beyond the struggling-for-15 action we saw initially.

It's worth nothing that YamGaming brings some fairly serious hardware to the table in order to make this happen. The system the emulator is running on includes a Core i7 6700k CPU running at 4.3GHz, 16GB RAM, and a GTX 1070 display adapter. And as you can see in this Zelda FPS guide on reddit, it's far from a plug-and-play system. Getting BotW running reasonably well in Cemu is going to take some effort.

And even then, 'fully playable,' with its connotations of a smooth and painless experience, may be a bit of an overstatement on the part of YamGaming. We doubt anyone's had time to test the entirety of Breath of the Wild since this build of Cemu released on April 2, and we've seen plenty of reports of framerate drops to 20 fps and bigger issues on AMD cards. Link's camera rune also isn't fully functional. Breath of the Wild may be beatable, now, but expect bugs and issues to pop up here and there, and performance to take some serious work to perfectly dial in.

If you're wondering how it's legal to emulate a game just weeks after its release, that's a head-spinning topic we dove into in-depth (with a lawyer, no less) right here and tried to make digestible. But no matter where you fall on either of those scales, it's a hell of a technical accomplishment, especially over such a short span of time.

You can find out more about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild running on Cemu in the BotW Megathread on Reddit.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.