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How To Play Breath of the Wild On Steam Deck

How To Play Breath of the Wild On Steam Deck

Emulation is becoming the most popular thing on the Steam Deck. Games that were previously console exclusives, like the exceptional Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, are finding their new home on the Steam Deck. How can you play Breath of the Wild on the Steam Deck, well you need to follow the steps in this article to set up the emulator first. We will be using the WiiU emulator CEMU.

To play Breath of the Wild on the Steam Deck you need to first install EmuDeck and then configure Cemu (WiiU emulator) to play the game.

There are a lot of steps to make this game work on the Steam Deck so set some time apart and follow along.

Installing EmuDeck On The Steam Deck

emudeck

EmuDeck is a hub where all types of consoles can be emulated tailored made for the Steam Deck. Not only can you play Breath of the Wild on an emulated WiiU but you can also play many other consoles of the past using this nifty piece of software. It is your perfect companion if you are into game emulation.

Optional Action

To take advantage of EmuDeck’s full capabilities, we will recommend an Expert installation later down the line, and for that, you will need to set up an account password for your Steam Deck.

In Desktop Mode, go to System Settings, then Users and select change password.

password

If you are not using a physical keyboard then you can always bring up the virtual keyboard on the Steam Deck by pressing the STEAM + X buttons.

Related: Steam Deck Vs. Gaming Laptop (The Ultimate Comparison)

Downloading EmuDeck

To download EmuDeck launch the web browser and go to EmuDeck.com. At the top of the page, select Download and then Download the app. Drag the downloaded file to your desktop and select [Move here]. Then close the browser.

download emudeck

EmuDeck Installation

Go back to the desktop and run “Install Emu Deck“. Click „Continue” and wait for the script to download the necessary files, then select OK.

installing emudeck

Now you have a choice of two installation modes Easy or Expert. We recommend choosing Expert as it allows you to take full advantage of Steam Deck’s capabilities including motion controls or changing the number of CPU threads which allows you to get better performance in some games.

expert mode

Choose where you want to install the ROMs, presumably you will be using an SD card for this. We do recommend that you format the card before doing this.

SD card

You can then select the individual components you want to install. Enter the password you created earlier using the physical or on-screen keyboard.

emudeck components

In the next step, the installer will ask for a theme for EmuStation-DE if you have decided to install it, followed by a selection of emulators you want to use. Select the ones you want to play especially CEMU in this case.

Next, choose whether you want to use widescreen hacks. Note that not all of them work perfectly and may cause problems. You can always disable them later from the emulator.

It is not important during initial installation, but EmuDeck will ask you whether to keep the individual emulator settings or reset them to defaults. Pay attention to this when you make updates. Select OK.

Now wait for the installation and automatic configuration of all files, it may take a while.

If you are using RetroArch Achievements then you can log in now.

EmuDeck has been properly installed on your Steam Deck.

emudeck installation done

Related: How to Use Xbox Remote Play on Steam Deck (Easy Guide)

Cemu Emulator WiiU On Steam Deck

Now that Emudeck is installed on the Steam Deck and with it CEMU Emulator WiiU is on the device too, it is time that we install the games i.e. Breath of the Wild.

Sharing game ROMs, updates, and DLC files are illegal, so you will have to acquire them yourself. A simple Google search will lead you to sites that have these.

Installing Games for Cemu Emulator WiiU On Steam Deck

Once you have acquired the Breath of the Wild ROM you need to go to Desktop Mode. Run Dolphin File Manager and go to the location you chose at the beginning of the installation of EmuDeck

You need to put the game folder in the following location; Emulation>roms>wiiu>roms. Move or paste the game into the roms folder. You need a file format supported by the emulator: .rpx .wud .wux .elf .iso .wad

For more info check the EmuDeck Wiki.

installing games

Installing updates and DLC for WiiU games

To avoid unnecessary problems, copy the update and DLC file folders to the location of the CEMU installation, which is Emulation>roms>wiiu.

update and DLC files

If you do not do this then available space on the storage may be detected incorrectly. 

When you are ready, run Dolphin File Manager and go back to the location you chose at the beginning of the installation of EmuDeck either SD Card or Internal. Find the “Emulation” folder and go to tools >launchers.

launcher

Here you will find shortcuts to all the emulators. Run “cemu.sh”. If the application starts, go to the next point. If nothing is happening, you need to edit the “cemu.sh” file and replace the line of code with KWrite like below:

“${PROTONLAUNCH}” -p ‘7.0’ -i 1 — “${CEMU}” “${@}”

Kwrite

Note: If it still doesn’t work then launch any game from Steam and force Proton Experimental. Make sure all its files are downloaded. Then go back to edit Cemu.sh and change the line of code to:
“${PROTONLAUNCH}” -p ‘ – Experimental’ -i 1 — “${CEMU}” “${@}” !!!

Run Cemu. In the upper left of the application, click on File and select Install game title, update or DLC”.

Select the folder where the files are located, then go to “meta” and select “meta.xml”.

installing game DLC update

The whole process can take a while, so be patient. When a window confirming the successful installation appears, click “OK” and close CEMU

You can now go back to the “wiiu” folder and delete the files you have already installed. 

delete files

Updating CEMU with EmuDeck

Once all of the upper steps are done successfully, we recommend doing a CEMU update.

Go to the desktop and run the EmuDeck Tool Updater script. From the list, deselect everything except the Nintendo WiiU Emu. Choose the latest available version and click OK. CEMU will now be updated.   

updating cemu

Related: How to Install GOG Games on Steam Deck (Quick, Easy Guide)

Configuration of Cemu WiiU Emulator

EmuDeck’s default settings are very good and should work fine with most games. Before launching any game we do recommend that you check wiki.cemu.info and seeing if the game requires any special changes. Do not make any changes to the settings if everything is working properly. 

Graphics Packs in Cemu WiiU Emulator

CEMU has an additional option, called Graphic Packs. These are modifications that allow you to change the quality of the visuals, and gameplay settings, as well as turn on some hotfixes.

Go to Options and select Graphic Packs. Click on the Download latest community graphic packs button at the bottom of this window. 

graphics pack

The name of the installed game should appear at the top of the window. Click on the “+” and expand all available options. For Breath of the Wild, you can go to Mods and select FPS++, and set the FPS Limit to 30FPS Limit.

You can also opt for the 60fps limit but the game doesn’t run smoothly on this setting and will stay around 40-50 fps so it is better that you go for a stable 30fps experience.

fps++

You can also select Cheats from this menu which will add interesting elements to the game.

Controls setup for Steam Deck

If you have installed EmuDeck in Expert mode then all control settings should be set correctly by default, including motion controls supported in selected titles. There is no need to change anything here. When you return to Game Mode, everything should work properly.

Related: Minecraft Steam Deck: Install, Performance, Mods, Controls

Steam ROM Manager

The final step in Desktop Mode is Steam ROM Manager. It is a program that will automatically add individual games and emulators to Steam with all the necessary commands.

Click on “Preview”Generate app list” and as the final step “Save app list”. You’re all set and once Steam is up and running, you can choose Breath of the Wild from the list. You can visit this site for more information on Steam ROM Manager.

steam rom manager

Play Breath of the Wild

steamOS botw

Return to Gaming Mode when all of the previous steps are done. You can find Breath of the Wild in the library under the Non-Steam tab.

non steam game

You will have to get accustomed to the Nintendo controller buttons which are quite different from the Xbox layout.


With everything set up as we have guided you, you can enjoy Breath of the Wild on the Steam Deck with ease. It is a rather long-winded process but you have to set it up properly to make the game work and using this same method you can play other emulated games as well. Just a little bit of patience and now you have all these consoles you can play on essentially.