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Zelda: Breath of the Wild uses dynamic resolution scaling

Posted on March 14, 2017 by (@NE_Brian) in News, Switch, Wii U

Eurogamer has a new report up explaining how The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild uses dynamic resolution scaling. It doesn’t mean much for the end user, but it’s still pretty interesting. The technique is used in the game to help maintain the frame rate.

When Zelda: Breath of the Wild is running Switch to the max, resolution appears to dip to 90 percent on both axes. In other words, when in portable mode, resolution drops to 1152×648 for 81 percent of native 720p in total. Breath of the Wild has a native pixel-count of 1440×810 when docked and stressed, dropping from its usual 1600×900.

Eurogamer further adds:

“It’s the same 56 per cent increase in resolution between the two modes, whether the dynamic scaler is active or not, so the bottom line is that Breath of the Wild’s increased performance level in handheld mode isn’t explained by the game’s ability to change its native rendering resolution. The comparatively small bump in memory bandwidth between mobile and docked configuration remains our best theory here. Undocked, Switch runs its LPDD4 modules at 1331MHz, rising to 1600MHz when plugged into the dock. That’s only a 20 per cent increase in bandwidth to sustain a 56 per cent uplift in resolution. Meanwhile, both CPU and GPU are tapping into that same pool of bandwidth, possibly causing contention issues.

Further testing may prove otherwise, but right now our contention is that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild switches between two resolutions depending on configuration – so to confirm, that’s 648p/720p on Wii U and Switch mobile, and 810p/900p on the docked Switch. Thus far, we’ve not seen any intermediate pixel-counts and nor have we seen any dips below a 90 per cent reading on either axis. Bearing in mind that the technique has mostly escaped notice thus far, it looks like Nintendo made a pretty good call on where to draw the line in terms of reducing resolution.”

In other news, Eurogamer has an update on yesterday’s report that Wi-Fi could be impacting Switch performance. It’s possible that some players may be affected, but the site itself is “finding that this has no impact on our existing results.” Eurogamer does point out though that Shin’en says FAST RMX’s performance may be improved when a firmware issues is taken care of.

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  • hi v3.0

    So this game is not even HD sometimes…. Wow…

    • Jon Conner

      HD is anything over 540

      • hi v3.0

        No HD is 720 or higher

        • Jon Conner

          No, it’s not

    • tHe_MaN_wItH_nO_hAnD

      And the majority will never know nor care

  • Hermione Granger

    i did notice that, 900p to 480p in a blink of an eye with fps drops… worst experience ever, when i am used to 1080p at 60fps.

    • nemo37

      Well there is something wrong with your eyes if you noticed it go from 900p to 480P. The resolution switches from 900P to 810P while docked.

      • Hermione Granger

        go check your eye sight mister, because you are wrong.

        • nemo37

          The article says that it switches between two resolutions 900P and 810P it cannot technically go below that. Dynamic resolution has an upper limit (in this case 900P) and a lower limit (in this 810P) you cannot go above or below these limits unless the company modifies the game to allow that. So no it did not go from 900P to 480P.

    • Justin McQuillen

      Ahahahaha typical PSmasterrace4 response. “I’m used to 1080P 60fps” In what game?? There is maybe like 2 PS4 games that run at those stats. That’s not even good. I have a PC with 2 GTX980tis, and guess what? Running GTAV in 4K at 60fps uses 98% of both of them. It costs over $2000 for the hardware to run GTAV at max settings in 4K. Your PS4 runs that game at garbage settings in 30fps 900p, JUST LIKE SWITCH. The only differences are that Zelda is a way better game, and this hardware can fit in my pocket. Looks like it’s time to get a life.

      • Hermione Granger

        where did i say ps4???… you nintfanboy zealot try to act as you are a pc gamer, LOL, your cover have been blown, idiot.

        • Justin McQuillen

          here’s a recording i uploaded of my PC running BOTW https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sm2VCF6yhzw

          • Hermione Granger

            not one monster in sight, no long draw distances to be seen… of course it runs good right here… but when you put some stress on the game it crumble easy.

          • Justin McQuillen

            so your point is that Breath of the Wild has good graphics, nice job you really slam dunked that one

      • Switchling

        sony always wins though

        • Justin McQuillen

          Yoooo! My boy got dat text!

  • The truth-ier

    Dumb for a first party game, when a 1st party flagship has such terrible performance it says a lot. To bad the reviewers overlooked the big rez and fps issues

    • Steven Stratton

      The game doesn’t perform terribly. I’ll admit that I wish Nintendo had the balls and faith in it’s fans to price the Switch $100 higher for solid 1080P 30-60FPS support and more, but it isn’t a bad console.

      • tHe_MaN_wItH_nO_hAnD

        I don’t think 100$ would make that difference, plus it’s already 400$ in Canada another 100$ puts it even further out of reach for a secondary console, not to mention this whole 1080p/60 thing has more to do with the game and how it was developed then some cross the board setting… hell there are tons of games on xbox and Sony that never even com e close to that

    • amak11

      Shut up you nimrod.

      You really have no idea how technology works do you?

    • nemo37

      LOL this is funny coming from an Xbox fanboy, considering Halo 5, Microsoft’s first party flagship for the XOne also used dynamic resolutions (where the resolution switches from 1168×810, 1440×840, 1344×972, and 1536×1080). Based on your previous comments on this site and on Playstation sites, you seem to infer that it does not say a lot when Microsoft’s first party flagships do this, but it does say a lot when Sony and Nintendo do it with their first party games. One more example of hypocrisy in your many comments on Playstation and Nintendo articles.

      • Justin McQuillen

        Yeah Xbox and Sony fanboys gotta lie to themselves and pretend they’re not playing in 900p 30fps on COD rn.

  • Linkavitch Chomofsky

    I can’t relate to some gamers today. They’re obsessed with specs and resolutions. Meanwhile here I am just enjoying what is fast becoming my favorite game of all time.

    • Thomas_NE

      Me too! That being said, the framerate dips can be a little distracting. Kinda wish they just ran it in 720p instead if it meant no dips.

    • dbizal

      I don’t care about the resolution. As long as it looks great I don’t care. However you cannot disregard FPS. Frames are everything and you most certainly do notice dips here and there.

      Breath of the Wild is still incredible though!

      • Linkavitch Chomofsky

        I prefer solid frame rates, but I’d had a lot of fun with far worse.

  • maxleresistant

    I was wondering about that. On my WiiU I noticed that the image seems to be less sharp in some places.
    One good example is the forest where you found the master sword. That place gets all blurry AND the framerate is awful.

    I was right again.

    • nemo37

      I noticed it while playing at a friend’s house on their Wii U (I do not own the Wii U version). More specifically, towns with a lot going on looked more blurry. I had a harder time noticing on the Switch (though I barely play on TV, and the portable mode’s dynamic range is similar to the Wii U except that it is occurring on a smaller screen so it is more difficult to notice). Personally speaking, the frame rate (being capped at 30) and the drops in frame rate bother me a lot more though.

  • YoungTheFish

    I think more games should do this. Framerate affects the feeling of a game way more than resolution, since the latter doesn’t actually affects controls. As long as the game looks good, the exact number of pixels is nothing more than a number for fanboys to complain over.

  • Tomo910

    who cares its an unbelievable game. Cannot tell when playing the game

  • Fandangle

    I figured that this was the case. Too bad it can’t even stop the horrible FPS that most of the areas in the game has, but that’s something I’m noticing less and less the more I play, but I dunno if I’m just getting used to it or not. I am noticing the pop in more however.

    In about 5 years when this game is emulatable at true HD and 60FPS it’ll really be as great as everyones making it out to be, right now it’s just an exceptional game in general.

  • Michael Cortorreal

    Interesting, it’s a good technique to be honest.
    The game has some places that FPS do drop considerably but I noticed not moving the camera helps to get the FPS to 30 faster.

    Also, it’s not as common as I thought it would be, when the dip happens is so fast that it doesn’t bother me one or 2 secs tops.

  • JasonBall

    Has anyone else noticed the game looks a lot worse at night? Is it intentionally blurry at night or is it related to this thing?

  • tHe_MaN_wItH_nO_hAnD

    Lol so I made a habit of blocking obvious trolls on this site, so far I see 10 troll comments and the responses to the blocked comments makes it clear all these people do is troll which is pretty funny

Related Game Info


Platform: SWITCHWII U
Genre: ACTIONADVENTURE
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Release date: March 3, 2017
OWN IT: 20 [I own this game]
BEAT IT: 8 [I beat this game]
Buy now