Zelda Wii U vs. Switch: Storage space requirements and graphics differences revealed


The world of gaming is abuzz with reactions to the Nintendo Switch, which the legendary gaming company fully detailed during an event in Tokyo on Thursday. The talk of the town, specifically, has been The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the biggest — and perhaps boldest — entry yet in Nintendo's long-running adventure series.

It's headlining the Switch's launch on March 3, but Wii U owners shouldn't fret, as the game is also launching on Nintendo's dying little-console-that-almost-could on the same day. Thanks to a comment provided to IGN, we now know what the biggest differences between the two versions of the game are.

Zelda Wii U vs. Switch: Storage space may be an issue for the older console

As with all Wii U retail games, Breath of the Wild can be downloaded straight to the console if you don't want to deal with the hassle of owning a physical copy of the game. This can be a problem, though, because the Wii U only ever came in variations with 8GB or 32GB of internal storage, well below the 500 gigabytes offered by default on PS4 and Xbox One. It was expandable with USB hard drives, though.

According to Polygon, if you download the game, it will use up 13GB of memory on Wii U. If you want to avoid that memory hit and buy the game on disc there's still bad news: According to IGN, Breath of the Wild on disc will require 3GB of free memory on the console or an external hard drive. If you have the 32GB model or an external drive that should be fine, but if you only have the 8GB model, that's almost half of your available storage for one game.

It's worth noting that this isn't only a problem on Wii U. The downloadable version of Zelda on Switch will take up the same amount of the Switch's 32GB capacity. Thankfully, the new console's storage capabilities can be expanded using a microSD card.

Zelda Wii U vs. Switch: Some other minor differences

Other than the strange memory concession in the physical Wii U version, the game doesn't appear to be very different on Switch and Wii U. Both versions run at 30 frames per second — though it's possible the Switch version will run more smoothly — and contain all the same content. The Switch version also runs at 900p on a TV, while the Wii U version is capped at 720p. 

The Switch version also promises more realistic environmental sounds, so running through Hyrule's wilderness will sound better in that version of the game. The expensive Master Edition of the game, which contains important story spoilers, is exclusive to the Switch version.

More Zelda: Breath of the Wild news and update

Hungry for more Zelda news? Check out the latest trailer for Breath of the Wild, read up on the amazing Master Edition, dive into the new game's secret backstory and check out our hands-on review after playing it on the Switch.