Breath of the Wild boasts having an insanely big map. In fact, before the game’s launch, many used the size of the Great Plateau to estimate the size of Breath of the Wild‘s Hyrule in comparison to other massive open-world games. For example, according to some estimates, this new version of Hyrule would be roughly 8.6 times the square area of Skyrim‘s map. But that was just an estimated size. Now that the game is out, we can know for sure: Just how big is Hyrule?
Traversing the map of Hyrule from corner to corner takes 56 minutes, 30 seconds. This journey takes us from the very southwest corner of the map (where the game stops you from going further) near Hawa Koth Shrine all the way to Tu Ka’loh Shrine in the far northeast. We tested this journey twice, and our results differed only by a few seconds. Given that the in-game clock runs 60 times faster than real time (meaning one minute of real time translates to one hour of game time), it takes a fraction over two in-game days to journey across the world.
When testing this, I wanted to adhere to a few guidelines. The first rule was that I would follow a road whenever one was available. There are a few reasons for this rule. First, given that Breath of the Wild‘s map has a lot of verticality to it, a complete straight shot from corner to corner was bound to run into some cliffs that’d require climbing. Since climbing at normal speed was likely to be slower than walking, I figured sticking to the road made good sense, even if the road took a few turns to navigate said vertical cliffs. More importantly, any corner-to-corner journey would inevitably run through Central Hyrule, a big open field that contains a number of Guardian Stalkers, mobile Guardians that would completely decimate Link as he ambled past them. By adhering to a very specific set of roads, I ensured that I could minimize encounters with enemies I’d rather completely avoid and save time by not getting hit.
The second rule was that Link could not run, climb, or use the Paraglider unless there was no other choice. I did have to climb over one obstacle (as the road is blocked in one location), and a specific type of enemy forced me to use the Paraglider to avoid its attacks. And of course I needed to use the Paraglider to cross over to the island in the far northeast. Otherwise, I held true to these restrictions.
Lastly, I did not use any elixirs, food, or gear that improved Link’s base movement speed. That includes using anything to improve Link’s speed walking across snow or sand. Any armor Link equipped was strictly about surviving the elements and whatever enemies he might face along the way.
In my journey, I did get hit by a few attacks along the way. That invariably added to the time of the journey by some small amount. However, I did pause the clock whenever I needed to check the map or whenever I changed Link’s armor to avoid taking damage from excessive heat or cold or to avoid getting struck by lightning.
Curiously enough, crossing the entire expanse of Skyrim takes 130 minutes, a little over 2¼ times as long as Breath of the Wild‘s epic journey. However, that 130-minute pace in Skyrim is partially due to the fact that the Dovahkiin walks at a pretty paltry pace whereas Link’s normal pace is a healthy jog, meaning that the comparison isn’t strictly apples to apples. If Link’s jog is, say, four times faster than Dovahkiin’s walk, that would easily make Breath of the Wild bigger than Skyrim, though perhaps by less than early guesses seemed to suggest.
As another point of comparison, it takes 15 minutes for Link to do a full lap around Hyrule Field in Twilight Princess, meaning that you could do about four laps around Twilight Princess‘ Hyrule Field in the time it would take you to cross Breath of the Wild‘s Hyrule.