Gamers everywhere are clamoring for news and updates about the next game in the Zelda franchise. It’s been far too long since we’ve been able to play as The Hero of Time (or some other iteration of the character). And now a new rumor swirling around says that our hero might end up being quite different than the one we’re used to controlling.
Rumors should always be taken with the required dosage of salt, so I’m not completely jumping on board with this being fact just yet. However, a fairly well-known Nintendo blogger by the name of Emily Rogers has an interesting scoop from “multiple sources.” She says that in the next Zelda title you’ll be able to choose from two different Links. One male, one female.
Sure, this might seem like a radical concept for a franchise that has the same hero (okay, it gets complicated, but they’re still different incarnations of the same character). But there is a little bit of a precedent for it. In Hyrule Warriors, we were introduced to Linkle, a young woman who believes that she is the reincarnation of the hero, Link.
What’s interesting about Linkle is that she was an idea that got scrapped during the development stages of Hyrule Warriors. However, she still appeared in the game’s art book, which was released in Japan. Fans of the game loved the idea of a female Link, and she grew so popular that Nintendo decided to go ahead and include her in the game later on. So there is definitely a large group of people who would enjoy taking on the role of the Hero of Time, as a female.
This also isn’t the first time that gender roles have been addressed in a Zelda game. In Ocarina of Time, Princess takes on the role of Sheik, a male character. In the role of Sheik, Zelda is able to help Link by teaching him songs, and giving him important information.
The final piece of evidence that lends some credit to the rumor is a statement directly from Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma. In an interview about Linkle back in December with IGN, he had this to say: “She doesn’t feel out of place at all in the world of the Zelda games. I’m sure we will keep her in mind when thinking about future titles.”
That’s hardly concrete proof that she will be in the next Zelda game, but it does show us that Nintendo was already considering her for future titles, back in December.
Many people have gotten pretty upset at the notion that their favorite male protagonist could be interchanged with a female. But honestly, Link’s gender doesn’t really come into play much in the games. Sure, he seems to fall for Princess Zelda, but who’s to say that Linkle couldn’t fall in love with her, instead? Or perhaps the game’s story doesn’t have anything to do with love at all, and it’s just a tale of a hero saving a kingdom.
While some people might be up in arms at the idea of having the option to play as a female character in a Zelda game, for others it could be a very welcome experience. In a game where the story doesn’t specifically depend on the character being male, it would be great to see Nintendo offer the ability to choose the gender of your protagonist. Personally, I’m going to identify with a male character, because, well, I’m a guy. But some people may feel more compelled to play a game where the gender of the main character matches their own, or where they at least have the ability to choose.
Right now this is nothing more than a rumor that’s come from a single source. So it’s entirely possible that this was an idea that was merely kicked around, like Linkle originally was. Or perhaps it was made up entirely. However, I’d be impressed with Nintendo, should they decide to go this route. I’m a gamer through and through, and the more people that can enjoy a game, the better.