As a quiet member of the D1DLC team, I often abstain from most conversations of new games because I am a proud niche gamer. I prefer to dedicate time to specific games and to play them through to completion. The Legend of Zelda (LoZ) series is one of the games that is near and dear to my heart. It has come to my attention that there is a petition circulating about making Link a female character for the next game. As I have two LoZ tattoos on my arm I feel I am qualified to weigh in on this suggestion.
I do not support this proposal. To be clear I am almost a proud feminist and believe solely in equal rights for women, in fact I believe in equal rights for all. My argument against this proposal is this: why? Why now? After so many versions of this game, why now should we transform all the characters? Why this game? Should we make Nathan Drake, Desmond Miles or even Geralt of Rivia a woman? The answer should be no! These games were designed around a given character. The argument could be said that the next instalment of Tomb Raider will be Leon Croft. I strongly believe that more female protagonist games should be developed and supported, but I do not agree with changing those games in which the character has been honed and developed.
If we look at the LoZ canon lore, I make the proposal that the change would not fit. Link has the Triforce of Courage, and Zelda the Triforce of Wisdom. It is Zelda’s destiny to guide link through his journey as he grows in courage as the story unfolds. Usually the strength of Zelda is through spirituality and prayer. To swap gender roles, would suggest that Prince Link would now play the part of a sage and Zelda the Hero of Time. I understand the argument is and (I am being open-minded here) that Zelda could do what Link has done in the past. But how believable is the storyline? I do not say this to be chauvinist, I say this as a realist. Link’s character is based around strength and masculinity. I did not design his character, Nintendo did.
If we take for example the ‘Phantom Hourglass’, Zelda played a pivotal role in helping Link. This I believe should be the set structure for the LoZ series. I understand too that I am treading on thin ice by suggesting that Zelda (or female Link – however it is to be developed) could not ‘grow in courage’ and be the protagonist, but then what would do you do with the undertone love interest? Do you keep Princess Zelda a woman and make the love interest homosexual or do you make the sage male and he is just a figurehead, a sidekick if you will. Either way it doesn’t sit right with me. It would be like sitting down to a favourite tv show when they swap the actors.
The Nintendo franchise has proven beyond doubt that Zelda/Sheik is a possible protagonist. Even Impa in Skyward Sword could leave Link for dead at points. But if you are going to build a game around a strong female character, please make a spinoff. It is all I am saying. Make Zelda Sheik and give her her own storyline, character development and history etc. I would love to play this game and learn a whole new story especially as it ties in with one that I love so dearly.
Getting back to my earlier point about characters being set in stone, let’s take Geralt of Rivia, from the Witcher series as a perfect example. As a GAYmer and well an inquisitive soul, I tried in Witcher 3 for Geralt to have a homosexual love interest. I checked the forums/noticeboards etc. and I received the same resounding answer: No! I very quickly accepted that response because the explanation was fair and just. Geralt is a man, a womaniser, really and as much as I wanted to make him gay or even bi-curious, it would be out of his character to adopt those behaviours. I feel the same argument could be said about Link. As much as you could make Link a woman, you shouldn’t, the character has already been identified as male.
I further make the point, that we could make the Hero female, but why stop there? Let’s replace the Master Sword with some kind of Crystal Moon Wand or Silver Crystal Sword and instead of collecting dungeon items, Link could rescue other girls who can call upon certain planets for power to be used in each dungeon. Moreover the love interest could be some strange figure in a mask and a black cape and instead of shooting light arrows he could throw red roses, if you will.
The point I am making here in this article is that the game has been set since 1991. It doesn’t need to be changed, and if you change it, why stop at gender? If it wasn’t such a popular series it would not have lasted as long as it has. To suggest further that females can not relate to this game is in my opinion a thin argument as I personally know many ‘gamer chicks’ who love to smash out a session in Ol’ Hyrule. To make this argument also states that because I am a male I can not play FFXIII or Bayonetta because I don’t have the ‘equipment’ to relate to the protagonist.
Games should be about being lost in the character. Yes, sometimes it’s cute when you name your character after yourself or your in-game pet, your real pet’s name but at the end of the day there is a distinction, you’re playing a character. So as much as I wanted to bed one of the ‘rent boys’ in Witcher 3, I had sex with Kiera, Triss and Yennefer..oh and and and elf from Passiflora – if only for the experience points, of course 😉