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Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Missing Link

While E3 is a time of hype and excitement about the upcoming games for us to enjoy in the fall, I haven't been paying much attention to it. In all honesty, I've found my interest in E3 waning with each passing year. I suppose this could be due to overblown press conferences with game reps go on and on when we really wish they'd just show us some freaking gameplay but I'm getting off topic here.

The trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was finally unveiled during Nintendo's Tree House event of E3 2016. Breath of the Wild's visuals look nothing short of stunning  and I am very much intrigued at the prospect of an open world Zelda adventure. For years players have been wanting to the mainline Zelda titles to feature a female version of Link and rumors were flying that upcoming Zelda for the Wii U and NX could possibly star a female Link for the first time. But the hopes of a female Link were dashed during the reveal as Link is one again male.

I could say I'm disappointed that Nintendo chose to keep Link as a male lead for Breath of the Wild, but in truth, I'm not bothered by this. Yes, having a female Link would be a great way to spice things up and it is something fans have been championing for for ages, but it just isn't in the cards for this installment.

Frustrating hopeful fans further is that the game's producer, Eiji Aonuma and his team did discuss the possibility of a female hero for Breath of the Wild. However, before that idea had a chance to get off the ground, they considered making Zelda the start this time. Now that would have been seriously interesting! A Zelda game where we actually play as Zelda?! Freaking cool! But since Link is once again the main character, that's another idea that was scrapped, but not without reason. According to Aonuma "If we have princess Zelda as the main character who fights, then what is Link going to do?" Well, I didn't say it was a good reason, now did I?

If I may be so bold and I am because this is my blog, Aonuma's reasoning for not having Zelda be the central character is a load of horse manure. He's basically saying that if Zelda is the hero, Link has nothing to do. You mean to tell me that Link doesn't do anything else besides save Hyrule? Even Mario finds other things to do when he isn't saving Peach. He races, plays golf, tennis and he's a physician. Heck, Peach has even tagged along on a few of Mario's platforming adventures because he was *gasp* saving someone else! If you're a game developer and you can't find something else for your poster boy to do than that creative well is really running dry. I'm not even mad that a female Link or Zelda herself aren't the main stars of Breath of the Wild. Aonuma's reason for it has me more annoyed than anything.

There's also the backlash that Aonuma's statements are going to bring about. Now he isn't saying that Zelda's role is to get captured so Link can save her. We know Zelda is far from helpless. In Ocarina of Time, she turned into the badawesome ninja known as Shiek. In Wind Waker she was on the battlefield with Link during the final battle against Ganondorf. Girl can take care of herself, but having said that, Aonuma's words are going to be taken the wrong way from some fans and feminists.

Link doesn't really say much outside of a few grunts and whatnot. His name is what it is is because he serves as a Link to the player in his world. Zelda, on the other hand is quite chatty. In any game she appears in, she always has far more to say than what Link probably ever will. While playing as Zelda would be welcome, I wouldn't want it to be at the cost of her becoming a silent protagonist.

Breath of the Wild would have been the perfect opportunity to let us choose Link's gender. It isn't like he has any major personality defining traits so the option of a female Link wouldn't be detrimental to the game in the slightest. The player would still be Link with the only difference being in the gender. Splatoon allows the player to play as a boy or a girl Inkling and that's working out great. We're actually seeing a lot of males playing as the female Inklings due to her design. Its like Nintendo is keeping Link a male out of tired old tradition. While I'm not that bummed out about the decision, I can clearly see why a lot of fans are and as it stands, the female remains the missing Link.

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