I can still picture Breath of the Wild perfectly in my mind’s eye. The swish of grass, gently lapping lake water, that yellow sun hitting the top of the game’s snow-peaked mountains.
Now you can revisit the game, and your own favorite spots, in what a computer science student is calling “Zelda Breath of The Wild Street View.” Its title should tell you almost everything you need to know about the project. There’s a beautifully illustrated map of Hyrule (although, I should add, not by the student—one they found on the internet), with various Google Maps-esque pins positioned about it. You click on a pin, say for the Great Plateau, and, voila, you’re transported instantly to that location. Click and swivel your mouse to view the 360° image, soaking up those sweet virtual vistas. What’s cool is that clicking on arrows in the image moves you through the space like actual Google Maps Street View. It’s an uncanny way of experiencing a space you usually gallop through on horseback.
There’s an accompanying YouTube video in which its maker lays out the process behind the project. Basically, they downloaded Cemu, a Wii U Emulator and then installed mods which enabled them to play the game in first-person without any UI. Then they took a series of exacting screenshots 180° horizontally and 45° vertically to achieve the wrap-around image. Honestly, it seems like a ton of work, so to flesh out the project further, the student is inviting players to submit their own locations.
What’s the point of it all? Well, there isn’t one really apart from its maker expressing appreciation for an iconic video game environment that’s captured the hearts of millions. In this way, it reminds me of Other Places, a series of short YouTube videos celebrating beautiful game worlds. “Zelda Breath of The Wild Street View” is a novel twist on that sentiment, one which also presents the tantalizing possibility of a Hyrule-set round of GeoGuessr.
You can Street View your way through Gerudo and the Great Forest here.