'Tears of the Kingdom' Is a Big Step Up From 'Breath of the Wild' — How Big Is the Map?

Anthony Jones - Author
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Apr. 26 2023, Published 5:33 p.m. ET

'Tears of the Kingdom' Link gliding over Hyrule during daytime.
Source: Nintendo

Fueling its massive hype train, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom first impressions (check out our thoughts) are dropping across the internet, unveiling the sequel's firm and chaotic grip on discovery and crafty gameplay.

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Before, many skeptical fans considered Tears of the Kingdom as just another Breath of the Wild with little changes here and there, but we've learned it's way more than that.

The same appears true for the action-adventure title's world map, which seems significantly bigger and vastly different from the one in Breath of the Wild. If you're wondering how big, here's what we know so far.

'Tears of the Kingdom' Link crouching near a ledge in promo art.
Source: Nintendo
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How big is 'Tears of the Kingdom'?

According to the Nintendo eShop, Tears of the Kingdom has a base file size of 18.2 GB, becoming the largest game to date on the Nintendo Switch. Breath of the Wild had about 14.4 GB, and based on that detail alone, we could assume there's more in-game ground to cover in the sequel.

In fact, the addition of mysterious flying islands overhead Hyrule in Tears of the Kingdom may explain the extra data. The Hyrule below seems to have the same locales but with new structures, events, and discoveries, unlike the lands above with Zonai technology.

Players will make wild contraptions like wooden rafts with rockets slapped on to move between these islands, finding bizarre objects while solving puzzles.

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YouTuber @HMKilla and Washington Post journalist Gene Park confirmed on Twitter that players could even find a dungeon in the sky; however, no one knows how many are up there and if they're faithful to the classic dungeon-spelunking formula of old Zelda games.

'Tears of the Kingdom' Link running through a field of golden grass on a sky island.
Source: Nintendo
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With all this in mind, Tears of the Kingdom will definitely have a massive world map, which is familiar and alien from its predecessor, and likely require many hours to scour entirely. Although, at this time, we couldn't say how giant that might be before launch.

'Tears of the Kingdom' impressions reveal the game has "major performance issues."

The final build for Tears of the Kingdom could address these concerns, but some published impressions highlighted the version they played suffered from performance issues.

"The number of frame rate drops that I experienced in just this slice of the demo was more than a few," said YouTuber SkillUp in his video discussing his preview session. "Combat and exploration start to feel crappy when it's running at 15 frames per second."

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'Tears of the Kingdom' Link skydiving through the sky.
Source: Nintendo

Wirecutter editor Arthur Gies seconded this critique, stating he "saw major performance issues" while playing at the preview event.

The overall performance for some during this demo may not reflect the final product, but we are weeks away from its determined release. Tears of the Kingdom will probably be the biggest test for the Switch's hardware, and hopefully, it pulls through without any hitches.

Tears of the Kingdom will release on May 12 for the Nintendo Switch.

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