If you’ve been following the development of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you’ll know there’s been plenty of chatter about the game possibly having a female hero for the first time. The talk started when Nintendo first teased the game back in 2014 — the trailer featured a rather feminine-looking main character, leading folks to speculate that it was a “female Link” or perhaps Zelda herself. Nintendo shot those rumors down, but later did create a female version of Link for the Zelda spin-off Hyrule Warriors. In recent weeks, rumors again began to swirl that the new Zelda would have a female hero, or let you choose your gender.
Well, Nintendo finally released a full trailer for The Legend of the Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and has been streaming the game all day, and it seems hopes of a female hero have been dashed. I mean, the game begins with the main character running around shirtless, and it definitely seems like Link is once again a dude.
Given all the fan speculation, Gamespot caught up with Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma, and asked him if Nintendo had considered a female hero, or letting players choose their gender…
“We thought about it, and decided that if we’re going to have a female protagonist it’s simpler to have Princess Zelda as the main character. [But] if we have Princess Zelda as the main character who fights, then what is Link going to do? Taking into account that, and also the idea of the balance of the Triforce, we thought it best to come back to the original makeup.”
That’s fairly flimsy reasoning, which will probably get Aonuma dragged over the coals a bit, but I’m always cautious about judging non-English speakers, who are no doubt dealing with translation issues, for somewhat inelegant phrasing. Would Aonuma have stated this better in his native language? Maybe.
Honestly, Nintendo just doesn’t think much about character. Breath of the Wild actually uses spoken voice overs for the first time, and the narrator refers to the main character as Link. I have a feeling that, along with the basic “What would we do with Link?” question is probably as deeply as Nintendo thought about their protagonist’s gender. Perhaps Nintendo should have thought about it more, and fans are certainly justified in being a bit let down, but I don’t think Link staying male was done out of malice or any particular reactionary bent. Nintendo features playable female protagonists more often than most publishers.
What are your thoughts on the whole female Link question? How are you liking the footage of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Nintendo is showing off, in general?