Linkle Is More Than The 'Girl Version' Of Link

Linkle Is More Than the 'Girl Version' of Link

When we first saw the concept art and game footage, we really didn't have much to go on. Now, with Linkle's debut appearance in the recently released Hyrule Warriors Legends, we do — she's far more than just "girl Link".

Linkle is one of the new characters added to the 3DS version of Hyrule Warriors and did not appear in the original Wii U game.

Linkle Is More Than the 'Girl Version' of Link

[Photo: Brian Ashcraft | Kotaku]

Previously, her only appearance was in a Hyrule Warriors art book. At that time, the official description read, "The girl version of the hero Link" (勇者リンクの女の子版). She was also described as 妹的 or "imouto teki", which means "little sister-like", but as Kotaku previously explained, she is not Link's kid sister. These descriptions can seem like oversimplifications. Linkle is an interesting character in her own right and much more than just the female version of Link.

Linkle Is More Than the 'Girl Version' of Link

[Photo: nintendokyo]

Warning: This article contains some spoilers.

Early in the game, we are introduced to Linkle. She's in bed, sleeping, when a couple of villagers wake her, telling her that monsters have descended on Hyrule. She takes off her white night cap and gets dressed in a green hooded cloak.

Linkle Is More Than the 'Girl Version' of Link

[GIF via Zephiel810]

The two villagers seem surprised by her get-up, but she explains that her grandmother told her she was a reincarnated hero. She shows them an old compass that her grandmother also gave her as proof. This is her motivation. She wants to keep her town safe, but also wants to fulfil her heroic destiny. This is what motivates her throughout the game.

Linkle heads off in one direction, passing a sign that shows Hyrule in another. The narration explains that all she has to go on is an old map, which, it appears, is difficult to read. After each of her missions, we see her puzzled by the map and then running off in the opposite direction from Hyrule.

Linkle Is More Than the 'Girl Version' of Link

[GIF via Zephiel810]

While we do see a sign, I felt this was more of a visual cue to us, the player, that Linkle is going the wrong way. The signs are posted in somewhat unusual places, at least, so I hope this is merely a visual shorthand for us to understand and not commentary on Linkle lacking observation skills.

In Hyrule Warriors, different characters are balanced differently for speed and power. Linkle is really good at clearing a room. When she fires her dual crossbows, which fire an endless supply of arrows, she shoots in different directions. They're ideal for when you are surrounded by enemies. Link's Crossbow Training, this ain't. Linkle moves and shoots like she's starring in an action film (though, she seems somewhat reminiscent of the Demon Hunter from Diablo III). Her spin crossbow attack does look similar to Link's spin attack, which makes sense because she is a reincarnated hero.

Linkle Is More Than the 'Girl Version' of Link

[GIF via Zephiel810]

So, some of this sounds very Link-ish, no? But that's the point. She's a hero — or "yuusha" (勇者) in the original Japanese. If she is in fact the reincarnation of another hero, it would only be natural that she shares elements with Link. This is why, as I mention above, she has a spin-type attack. Her attack isn't exactly the same, and all this doesn't mean she is merely a "girl Link", which I think doesn't give her enough credit as a character on her own standing.

Tecmo Koei had a difficult job cut out for themselves with Hyrule Warriors. First, there's pleasing Nintendo, which, no doubt, is no easy feat. Then, there's pleasing Zelda fans, which is also tough. They needed to create a unique character with her own personality, while touching on the fact that there are obvious expectations for a Link-type character that is a young woman.

The way Tecmo Koei handles it seems rather smart. In all the dialogue I've seen, the fact that she's a young woman isn't brought up that much. Most of the talk during the actual missions is "battle chat" kind of stuff, like, go here, let's do that, we're going to win, and so on.

Linkle Is More Than the 'Girl Version' of Link

[GIF via Zephiel810]

One of the times I did see it brought up was at the end of Mission 2. Here's the exchange:

Darunia: "Thanks for helping, brother!"

Linkle: "Brother? I'm a girl. Wha... The compass is flashing again."

It's brought up, they address it no matter how obvious it is, and then they move quickly on to the compass. There's no, "You're a girrrrrrrrrrrl?" kind of awkward stuff in any of the dialogue I saw. Likewise, her outfit is also tastefully done, and the hooded cloak looks quite cool.

Linkle Is More Than the 'Girl Version' of Link

[GIF via Zephiel810]

Linkle's storyline first appears a couple missions in, and after it's completed, we go back to the main arc. She then re-appears every once in a while as she continues her journey towards Hyrule. This makes for a smooth integration into the main game. Linkle's missions don't seem like they are tacked on unnaturally.

Throughout her storyline, she keeps either bumping into people or being asked to help. She's lost, and watching her go in the wrong direction time after time is played as a gag. But even if she doesn't know where she is, Linkle isn't out of her element. You never get the feeling that she's in the wrong place at the wrong time. Rather, she's in the wrong place at the right time. When she's thanked for her help, Linkle seems truly happy to be of service. She is a hero. This is what she was born to do.

Later in the game when she comes to Zelda's aid, the princess, meeting Linkle for the first time, thanks her. Linkle's reply sums up the character perfectly: "Helping a princess is a natural thing for a hero." When the same mission gets hairy, she says, "Princess, I will protect you!" Linkle does fulfil her destiny as a hero, and she does make it to Hyrule in the end. Her proudest moment, though, seems to be when she's thanked for joining the fight. That's exactly what she was born to do.

Hyrule Warriors Legends is not Zelda canon, so while this character is official, she doesn't yet exist in the chronology. The way that Linkle debuts in Hyrule Warriors Legends, however, does get me excited about if and when she finally makes her appearance in the Zelda timeline, whether that's appearing in a canonical Zelda game or, better yet, getting a title of her own.

Hyrule Warriors Legends was released in Japan on 21 January 2016. It will be released in Australia on 24 March 2016.

Top GIF via Zephiel810


Comments

    The Wii U version surprised me quite a lot with how much I enjoyed it, looking forward to this and playing as Linkle and Skull Kid.

    Hyrule Warriors on Wii U was many things.

    It was pilloried as 'how far the Wii U/Nintendo had fallen'.

    The chief antagonist was laughed and snorted at.

    It was confusing and divisive to A LOT of people.

    It was also a damn good game.

    The after-release support of quality DLC was a sign of how Nintendo/its other games would be handled.

    As an ardent fan of '3D' Zelda stuff and someone who doesn't really warm to the '2D' Zeldas (hey wait put down that club, Mark) I thought it was manna from heaven.

    You'll love it if you enjoyed the three main 3D ones (Ocarina, Twlight, Skyward) and be pleasantly surprised by the enjoyable way it plays.

    You'll also start to realise that Ganondorf and his red mane makes him almost indistinguishable from Bowser these days.

      Three main 3D ones? What an incredibly odd thing to say...

    See i like how they did this.
    She could still become a main character in a main zelda game without just being "Female Link". I think it would be cool to have her as a partner character to link, having control of two characters makes for fun puzzles too even if it has zero co op (but it would be cool if it did :P )

      They could always have a generation of the "chosen hero" happen to be twin brother and sister who get half the triforce of courage each but can combine their powers.

    Has Link ever had enough of a personality for it to matter, outisde of the cartoon?

    "A new guardian of the Triforce has been born... this monkey. Go stop Gorilladorf."

      "Well excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu..."

      *pause to breathe*

      "...uuuuuuuuuuuuuse me, princess!"

        You deserve a prize for that.

        [Makes a forth CD-i game featuring bodmania]

        Last edited 01/02/16 7:15 pm

      Not really, he's basically a vessel by design... He's so generic and blank beyond basic representational facials - does not even communicate anything but general reactions. All she'd need was a different coloured hat to be "more than the girl version of Link". Girl Link in itself is significant, it acknowledges a big enough cultural change for Nintendo to acknowledge a greater audience, even if she is just a drama vessel like Link, it's still an inclusive change. Trying to explain her actual in game character with an attempt at detail really feels like grasping at straws.

        I just don't get how a flat character who gets 'reset' every game can be called "not the girl version" after a gender swap. Especially when this incarnation needs a different name from all the previous ones.

        Either make her 'Link' or don't, if it's not important in-game.

    There's absolutely NO reason why they couldn't make a Zelda game with Linkle as the protagonist, and they don't even have to make it a spin-off. The series is called "The Legend of ZELDA" and only 3 of them (The Adventure of Link, A Link to the Past and Link's Awakening) even mention Link in the title (plus A Link to the Past was purely an English translation thing; the original Japanese title was 'Triforce of the Gods'). Someone give me a reason why you CAN'T have a mainstream Zelda game where you play as Linkle instead of Link, other than "because that's not how it's done".

      Four then, you forgot A Link Between Worlds.

      Five if you count Link's Crossbow Training :P

    problem is that without link as the protagonist it becomes feminism the game. the gods are female the princess is female the hero is female all fighting against the one important male whom is the villain

    It's interesting that a female link makes the game feminist yet the inverse (a male protagonist) is simply seen as neutral and not pushing any themes of its own.

    That's not really honest and belies a problem in current popular culture. It's not so much that female characters proactively change the story but that we don't see how male characters often do.

    I'm all for a range of protagonists, where their gender plays a role as well as when it doesn't. That range and potential for stories is much more appealing to me than being afraid of anything that isn't a white male hero or power fantasy.

      This is actually one of the things that feminism seeks to address. Not just in video games, but in all forms of fiction a male character is seen as the default or neutral option.

      Of course the 'end goal' of feminism is to get to a point where we can explore stories with female characters that don't have to be about the female-ness of the character, just as male protagonists are able to have character arcs that are separate from their male-ness. Wonderful, isn't it?

      I completely agree with you but there's a solution: throw alien puppeteers in to muddy the water. Worked wonders in Perfect Dark.

    the problem isn't the protagonist being female the problem is the only important male character would be the male villain. kinda gives a women unite against the evil patriarch vibe.

    Has there been anything about the possibility of bringing her to the original game as DLC or something? I'd like to play her route, but I don't want to buy the 3DS version just for that, especially when it's basically an inferior version of the game I have already.

      Yeah, I saw in multiple places that if you buy the 3DS version, you can use that to transfer the new characters to the Wii U version, so it probably won't be long until they come out as paid DLC for those who don't own the 3DS version.

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