Eiji Aonuma Clears Up Fan Speculation On The New Zelda

Nintendo's newly announced Zelda game is different. It looks different, it has slightly different design goals. The main character, whoever he or she is, looks a little different and immediately after Zelda's reveal the speculation began.

Is Link a girl in the new Zelda? Is the main character even Link? The man behind the game, Eiji Aonuma even contributed to the furore by insinuating that the character shown in the trailer wasn't even Link. But now he's clearing things up.

In an interview with MMGN he confirmed that, firstly, the character shown was Link and, secondly, all-but confirmed he was male.

"Actually that comment I made jokingly," he said. "It's not that I said that it wasn't Link. It's that I never said that it was Link. It's not really the same thing, but I can understand how it could be taken that way.

"It seems like it has kind of taken off where people are saying 'oh it's a female character' and it just kind of grew. But my intent in saying that [was humour]. You know, you have to show Link when you create a trailer for a Zelda announcement."

Head to MMGN to get Aonumu's interesting take on the rumours. Worth reading. It seems Aonuma is developing a Kojima-esque ability to troll his fanbase.

That said, I would probably be slightly disappointed if Link turned out to be a male character. I have no problem with it, but a female Link would have signalled that this Zelda game would be completely different. It would be a revolutionary change. It would certainly get me more interested in the game.

Not that I'm not already interested! It's Zelda for god's sake!

'That was Link' in Zelda Wii U trailer and rumours it was a girl 'kind of grew' - Aonuma [MMGN]


Comments

    One thing to take from E3 is that people for some reason really want female characters. Is this some affirmative action for female characters because I don't want female characters for the sake of female characters.

    It would hardly have been revolutionary. It makes no difference whether this Link is male or female. Stop making a big deal out of nothing.

      Agree with this entirely. Female Link does nothing for anything, and I'll argue to the death on that. Zelda as a PLAYABLE character on the hand would be revolutionary. Any disappointment that'll exist from this was because people saw what they wanted to see and built themselves up for disappointment. From Nintendo's perspective, Link and Zelda's genders are set in stone, their roles in games however are up for debate.

      Last edited 13/06/14 9:30 am

      It does make a difference, but not in the way most people will think it does.

      Link is a Boy/Man plain and simple, if they want a female lead that's great, but don't make a female link, be creative give the character its own origins, not just a "Hey people look female link hur hur".

      Its a cheap sensationalist tactic to just be all like... "hey Shepard was potentially a female all along"

        Female Link works within the canon of the reborn Hero of Time. Link is meant to be a blank slate that the player can inhabit to become the hero of the game, which is where the name Link came from in the first place, a link between the player and the game.

          Yup, Link has virtually no character or personality. Not only that, Link appears pretty feminine as it is.

        Thank god I thought I was the only one who thought this was blown out of proportion along with the whole AC no female multi character. Who cares whether they are male or female it is a collection of pixels, not to mention you stare at their back for 90% of the game. I think it is all a bit silly we have plenty of games where females are the main character, so ridiculous this has gone on as long as it has and even more ridiculous that people are disappointed link isnt a girl...

          Woman are adequately represented in games. Confirmed. You heard it here first. Now can we stop this argument forever?

            At the end of the day if this was a real issue that concerned people they wouldn't buy the games on principal alone, but that's not going to happen.

            This is just this weeks hot topic I guarantee in 2 weeks no one will even remember this happened nor care, if this issue is as important as the Mark pointed out in his article or it really mattered that much to gamers as whole these games would be boycotted, but everyone knows when you are actually playing the game the sex of your character doesn't effect anything.

            If you are really disgusted by this inequality and under representations of women leads in games don't bitch on a message board (do nothing) boycott the game (do something), if you aren't willing to do that people should just shut up and quit whining.

      No, I don't agree. If people are making a big deal out of it, it's because it would be a big deal. If Nintendo made Link female, it would be discussed and written about for years, and not just amongst gamers. It probably wouldn't be revolutionary, but it would definitely be significant.

        I disagree with your statement that "because people made a big deal out of it it's a big deal". There's so much bullshit that's made into a big deal on a daily basis which is just that - bullshit.

        Also IMO this whole 'revolutionary' thing is taking it a little too far. 4-6 months on, who is talking about a game? Unless it's the hype train of Dark Souls, no one.

          Yep, it's absolutely not a game changer or anything completely earth shattering, but I think the reaction to it is pretty proportionate (a few threads, a bit of twitter trending, some discussions like this). It clearly resonates with some people, so I don't think people are making a big deal out of nothing.

            I don't think people are making too much of a big deal over it, but publications like Kotaku are. Like below, I haven't seen a single Kotaku article talking about the details of the vid. :(

        Or to alter that a bit: "If people are making a big deal out of it, it is a big deal". That's kind of how social issues work.

        I don't think this needs to become a rant about the evils of the patriarchy, but it's clearly something that resonates with a lot of fans of different genders. Whether some people like it or not, I think gender representation is becoming the social issue of this (and perhaps next) decade.

        Would it affect the gameplay or storyline? Almost certainly not. Would it be an important milestone for many gamers? Probably.

        Link has always been a blank slate. He never speaks and you control his every action - including his name if you choose too. His gender has never been relevant.

          I agree, which for me is the reasoning behind why it shouldn't be an issue to have a female Link.

          I think to you and other people arguing that it's not important, you don't even notice Link's gender because it's not important to the story (except for perhaps in Skyward Sword, there's never really a romantic connection to Zelda anyway). But perhaps you don't see his gender because it's the same as your gender, so it just becomes normal? I can assure you that to a girl it's noticeable that Link, the hero, is a boy and not a girl - my daughter wasn't happy when we suggested she dress up as Zelda, because she wanted to be the hero. I think perhaps it's not an issue to you because it's invisible to you.

          It's a subtle thing, having almost all the heroes being men, it's one of those things that doesn't seem to have an effect on individual people, but broadly it does have an powerful effect on society. Basically, if you look at horribly sexist countries / ideologies, you can see those views reflected in their art and the in particular the lack of women in any significant roles. The more equal a group of people become, the more that is reflected in their art, which in turn informs the next generation of that society about what equality means.

          Last edited 13/06/14 10:17 am

            Your daughter has it right, she obviously sees Link as a role model regardless of whether he is male or female. I see no reason your daughter could not be dressed up as Link. If you stopped her from dressing up as Link just because she's female then that's on you. He's a role model regardless of gender.

            If you went back and changed Link to a female character in every previous Zelda I would enjoy it no less.

              I did say she can dress as Link, but she didn't want to because Link is a boy. To her it feels like we're humouring her by saying that she can be Link anyway.

              If Link was female in every previous Zelda most people would enjoy it no less, but it would also have the added benefit of introducing more female heroes into the world. It's a subtle, but powerful thing.

              Last edited 13/06/14 10:29 am

            Which goes back to my original stance that a role swap with Zelda being the hero would be much more powerful than a gender swap of Link. For every girl who wants to identify with a female hero in the series, there's just as many boys who identify with Link being a boy who doesn't possess the current traits of buffed up, macho male space marines. That in itself is just as important as the need more female protagonists in our video games.

            Last edited 13/06/14 10:37 am

              I think Zelda as a protagonist would be very cool. But personally I don't think it's nearly as powerful a message as saying "The Hero of Time can be female".

              And I'd also disagree that there's as many boys who need a non-macho role model or that it's just as important as having more female protagonists. There are hundreds of non-macho male role-models in popular media as well as in games... man, I'm just looking through my Steam library right now, and so many games have male protagonists:

              Alan Wake, Assassins Creed (1, 2 Bro, Revelation, 3, Black Flag), Bastion, Batman, Bionic Commando, Bioshock, Brutal Legend, Castlevania, Condemnded, Crysis, Darksiders (1 and 2), Dead Space (1 and 2), Deus Ex (1, 2, HR), Dishonoured, Devil May Cry, Doom.... Jeeze, only up to "D" of the games that are currently installed, and the only female protagonist so far was in Beyond Good and Evil.

              Men have a plethora of potential role models and heroes to play as, Women have a few, and usually only in roleplaying games where you can choose. They're 50% of the population and they have no representation.

                I think there's a difference between protagonist and brotagonist.

                And that message could be applied to every game in existence. Why not Super Maria Sisters, Batwoman Arkham Knight etc. Every game. It's no surprise that there isn't enough female protagonists, anyone who isn't blind or doesn't have their head in the sand can see that. That's just a wider problem that we'll hopefully fix one day. I just don't think swapping existing characters to female is the answer, developing existing ones to flesh them out and new ones for new games is.

                The gender of a protagonist (along with any other trait) should in of itself not be a problem. Boys should be comfortable playing as girls just as girls should be comfortable playing as boys. It's a video game. The real problem is that there's so few good girl characters to play as, that the gender of the protagonist gets brought up every time. How do we fix that?

                Last edited 13/06/14 11:37 am

                  Well obviously I think a good way to help fix that is to make Link a girl, precisely because (s)he's a blank character, and partially because there's no narrative reason why Link shouldn't be - (almost) each new Zelda game has a completely different Link in it. Each game is a retelling of the same basic story of a hero stepping up to save the world. It's not gender swapping a character, it's just retelling the story with a female hero.

                  If you make it Maria Sisters or Batwoman you're just gender swapping a character, if your make it girl-Link you're gender swapping an archetype - the hero. That's why I think it's a potentially more powerful change, but having said that, I absolutely agree that developing existing female characters and making new ones is important, and for most franchises would be the best way to create more gender equality.

          So he should default to male? Honestly, I don't care if Link is a male or female. But I don't think "Male is the default gender" is the right mindset to have.

        This is an argument that I have not heard of or thought of before, and I instantly agree fully.

      x2, he's already a feminine looking elfish character. I really don't see why it would be revolutionary to change it...

    While I think it would be neat if they made Link female, it wouldn't be that much of a difference. Link would still be a silent protagonist, but the grunts and shouts might sound a little lighter.

      Not unless she summons the power of Michelle Larcher de Brito..
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-7WLIqa2M0

    90% of anime characters look like chicks anyway. Final Fantasy anyone? I didn't know if most were guys until they spoke.

    Would making Link female actually be the change in the series that it needs? Too much focus atm on what gender Link is and not everything else we saw in the clip (admittedly not much), but I'll always be infinitely more excited about the possibilities in an open-world Zelda than having the option to play as a woman

      Damn right. No one saying "wow what the fuck was that octopus thing, and did you see those explosions?! Mounted combat?! Environment that can be destroyed?!?!"

      Last edited 13/06/14 9:51 am

        People are absolutely saying those things, that's what everybody is excited for! Most people didn't even notice that potential gender of Link, they were to busy looking at the cool landscape.

        Everybody agrees that it looks awesome, so there's not as much argument about it. The open question on Link's gender is something that people could hash back and forth. I think that's all it is personally.

        It looks like you're dead set playing a studio Ghibli movie, and THAT is what has me excited!

    There's still the fact that Link is using Zelda's bow and holding it like he's right-handed. Might be important, no?

      Zelda's bow is quite different, made out of gold for one. Right handed because we're likely going to be using the Wiimote again, though hoping not necessary.

    I don't see why there shouldn't have been a female option. Link's meant to be a blank slate that anyone can project onto, surely that would be easier if they gave the option to choose his gender as well. RPGs have been doing this forever. Even Pokemon does it.

    Oh well, hopefully they'll take the reaction this got into account when they make the next one. If nothing else, people were seriously hoping for this.

    Outside of maybe Skyward Sword Links gender has never been important story-wise, so I see no reason a girl couldn't end up as the next Hero of Time.
    Link is always a blank state kinda protagonist so I think it should be about as easy as possible to let people choose their gender.
    Hell they wouldn't even need to change the model, just the text would probably be enough :p

    I am mildly disappointed. That’s about it though. Will still be an amazing game.

    Considering the idea of Nintendo making Link a girl is the biggest discussion about Zelda games since they switched to cel-shading, I'd say this is an important issue that needs careful examination.

    I think the reason its questionable whether he looks like a boy or a girl is to give the illusion that each player can decide for themselves.. you are all seriously looking into it too much.. its like asking make mario a girl.. because we need to cross gender this iconic character... sheeshh..

    Eh, Link has an androgynous look anyway.

    1. Player chooses whether male or female
    2. Just change any pronouns if any, no need to change the character's look at all
    3. ?????
    4. PROFIT

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