While the release of Nintendo’s follow up to Breath of the Wild has been exciting enough on its own, its saga in the emulation and modding scene has been an absolute rollercoaster (opens in new tab). On May 13, one day after Tears of the Kingdom’s official launch, the developers of Switch emulator Yuzu announced (opens in new tab) that the game is fully playable, with native Switch-level performance attainable on “most” modern hardware, with resolutions in excess of its original 900p accessible with no external hacks required—just the emulator and your own legally-dumped copy of TotK.
Hey! Listen! Wait, wrong game📣 Attention All 📣🔥 Tears of the Kingdom is playable in yuzu🚀 Full speed on most hardware!✨ Experience in 4K or higher!🚫 No hacks needed!🎁 60fps, cheats, & more with modsExperience the best way to play, today:https://t.co/cmwPNpop7G pic.twitter.com/SBmpsqE9chMay 13, 2023
Yuzu’s announcement also mentions “60fps, cheats, & more with mods,” and that’s where things do get a bit hairier. At the time of writing, it still appears that the only TotK 60fps patch is the one hosted on the NewYuzuPiracy subreddit (opens in new tab). If the name didn’t clue you in, this is a very, ahem, laissez faire community with no official connection to the developers of Yuzu, and that 60fps patch is almost certainly based on the Tears of the Kingdom leak from a few weeks ago.
Yuzu’s own mod page (opens in new tab) does not yet list any projects for Tears of the Kingdom, so if you’re trying to stay on the right-hand path, you’ll want to stick with the resolution and framerate stability improvements over native Switch offered by the emulator itself. As reported by my colleague, PCG senior editor Wes Fenlon, for all the excitement around Switch emulation and the massive performance and graphical gains to be had over the original hardware, the tumult around Nintendo’s biggest release since 2020’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been one hell of a headache.
A full build of Tears of the Kingdom leaked weeks early (opens in new tab), and Nintendo responded by DMCA-ing the popular Lockpick tool (opens in new tab) for dumping Switch game decryption keys for use in emulators. The developers of an in-progress Switch emulator for Android, Skyline, abandoned work on their project for fear of legal repercussions, and curious sorts who wanted to dip into TotK and potential mods early via piracy were met with a minefield of malware.
All of that unpleasantness aside, you can now legally dump your own copy of Tears of the Kingdom to play on PC with equal or greater performance to the original Switch on a wide range of hardware—on r/pcgaming (opens in new tab), I’m seeing users report rock-solid framerates beyond 1080p resolution on 30-series graphics cards. The other major Switch emulation project, Ryujinx, looks to be roughly on par with Yuzu—this video from YouTuber KyoKat (opens in new tab) shows TotK running at a fairly solid 1440p 30fps on the positively ancient GTX 1060 mid-range GPU. Meanwhile, I’m probably going to stick to playing it on my dinky, 2017, OG Switch—resolution be damned, I just love the form factor.