Here's Why Zelda: Triforce Heroes Won't Let You Play as a Female

A Nintendo executive said that the game's story requires male heroes.


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The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes lets you team up with three friends to conquer dungeons in the Zelda universe. But even though there are three heroes and a bunch of different costumes to wear, there will not be a female character playable in the game.

In an interview with IGN, director Hiromasa Shikata explained that Triforce Heroes' story requires male heroes, leaving no room for playable female leads. He said that the story focuses on a prophecy, which was made with male heroes in mind. "The story calls for this sort of legend/prophecy where heroes will come together to help solve a problem," Shikata stated. "And in that, they are male characters. So, because the game is set with that as the story background, you cannot choose a gender; you are a male character."

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When the interviewer expressed disappointment with this explanation, Shikata said that the developer doesn't see a big problem with this choice and that there's still room in the game for women to become personally invested in it. He said, "I understand what you're saying, and just as general information, we do have a lot of female staff members who are playing this game and enjoying it. It doesn't seem to be a big issue to them. They still are getting emotional investment in this game. And to be honest, Link isn't the most masculine of guys in the world, depending on how you want to project yourself into the character."

The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes focuses on co-op puzzle-solving and monster-battling, with an emphasis on crafting different outfits with different stats. It launches later this year for the 3DS. You can watch our E3 impressions of the game here.

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Avatar image for jollychick

What's funny is that someone already mentioned that there was no need for a guy to complain about not being able to use a male protagonist in a game like Tomb Raider because of the existence of games like Uncharted. Couldn't that same logic be used here?

The day Nintendo decides to change the protagonist for The Legend of Zelda is the day I stop buying it. Zelda has always been a story driven RPG. It's not about choices but it's telling a predetermined story and we're just playing through that story.

What's the point in adding a female character? As a female gamer, I was begging Nintendo to add more decent looking males to the game. What purpose does adding a girl do if they were only bullied by Internet people into doing it? Real fans of the game won't buy it.

Honestly, I'd be interested in a game where I could use Zelda rather than Link. I think it would be cool if they wrote an original story for her. But that isn't the same as saying "Add a girl because I say so!"

This isn't a problem. It's just that some people are trying to make it one.

Avatar image for Kaiganeer

Now you just have to tell me why I should care and we'll be set!

Avatar image for athmel

That is a remarkably poor explanation. These stories, especially ones written about some magic land populated by monsters and elves and don't share our gender politics, are fiction. The author shapes the world and everything that goes on within it. The story didn't just create itself leaving you helpless. Link is a male because he was created as a male, not because of some "legend/prophecy."

I'd be so much happier if they just said they didn't want a female or didn't think to put one in. Then we know where we stand. Like the Witcher; if I wonder about the lack of minorities I don't need your treatise on Slavic history while you step over, or worse try to explain away, the well groomed, attractive peasant women whose breasts almost fall out of their top. But then, wait, there is apparently a minority! And that's ok, even though it goes against the aforementioned treatise.

Avatar image for HipHopBeats

NIntendo was a childhood delight but they should just retire and go the software route like Sega. They've been rehashing the same games since the 80's.

Avatar image for Fraz_66

This is a Zelda game. Zelda games feature Link as the main protagonist. Link is a male... Why do we need an article about this?

Avatar image for turtlethetaffer

Well, the history of this series has been Link... A male... And since it looks just like three toon links, I just assumed he split up again somehow.

Avatar image for kibuza

Why can't I play Tomb Raider as a male? What? You mean to say the story is based around a certain character and gender swapping for no reason other than to please my stupid requests is a dumb idea? Well you must be sexist then.

Seriously, this shit is getting ridiculous.

Avatar image for HipHopBeats

@kibuza: I concur. This politically correct, sexual revolution is bullshit. Let the story be what it is.

Avatar image for Red_hot_smasher

@kibuza: Seconded.

Avatar image for lizabey

Girls playing this would probably just be happy that they get to play as their 'husbando' from the Four Swords manga, assuming they've read it- Aside from Vio and Shadow not being playable. (RIP Vio) If a female character was ever included in a game like this, that would be nice and all, but that doesn't mean that female players would chose her as a main, just because the character is female. (Assuming that you can chose who you play as, rather than your character being based on what player you are)

Avatar image for a1a

These same people who criticize the game developers for NOT including a female lead would probably just criticize them just the same if they included one, for being too sexualized... really? Just play the game. I've never seen a blockbuster female stripping movie, but they have Magic Mike. I've never got mad because Mario couldn't change genders... get real. It's a character, fiction at best, and the way the media just attacks anybody they deem worthy is just ridiculous...

Avatar image for athmel

@a1a:Well, I often see this big thing about males not being able to play as female avatars, but then criticize females for not being able to put gender aside and play as a male.

The film you were looking for is Showgirls. If you're looking for titillation in general, then there's an article on Tvtropes called Best Known for the Fanservice, which has a list of films. A majority are about some sort of undressed female.

Avatar image for The_evil_Nemesi

Another damn click baity article

Avatar image for mirage_so3

I'm all for women in video games, but please stop trying to put them everywhere. You don't watch a movie and expect to pick which gender the star is.

Avatar image for sum_guy09

I wouldn't play this game for free & I hope it sells terribly so they never attempt at making a generic ass Zelda game again. A real new Zelda game would've been nice, but instead we got this & "Hyrule Warriors"...

Avatar image for lief_katano

@sum_guy09: This is a "real new Zelda game".

Avatar image for Cyber_Akuma

Funny, I don't see anybody complaining that you can't play as a male lead in Tomb Raider, Metroid, or Portal...

Avatar image for barnett5562

@Cyber_Akuma: Same here: And I don't know why that's so big a problem that all you can be here in this game is a male.

The people who complain about this should be getting together with other people and creating their own games with all the female characters that they want to see in them, rather than be constantly complaining about games like this. Only thing is, what they make probably won't be that great.

Avatar image for p1p3dream

@Cyber_Akuma: thats probably because we have indiana jones, we have uncharted, the last of us, assassins creed, and no shortage of 3rd person male protagonist lead games. you'd kind of have to be mentally challenged to complain that you can't play as a male lead in tomb raider? :)

Avatar image for Mochipants

Bummed, but meh, nothing to get too upset about. Dunno how much longer they can use that excuse though, considering how more games allow you to pick your character, and how wildly successful that model has proven to be. For that matter, HAS there ever been a game revolving around a prophecy that entailed a female heroine? I mean, Dark Souls' plot was prophesied and you could choose to play either gender, but never as a hardline female, at least not in my memory.

Avatar image for athmel

@Mochipants: I'm more confused about what signifies a male must be chosen in the prophecy at all. If it said the warrior will marry the princess then you could reasonably assume the warrior in question is male.

That the protagonist is male because the (developer confirms the vague) prophecy says so is lame.

Avatar image for aiat_gamer

@Mochipants: You must be a new gamer then. Also, it is not an excuse, it is how they visioned the story and the game. What is this weird obsession with changing the protagonist sex from male to female, I will never know. No one in the world cares, it is just those intolerable feminists in America.

Avatar image for nini200

Why does Link have a Zelda outfit???

Avatar image for liquidation_ily

What did I expect from looking at the comments section on this article? Well, I didn't expect like 90% of the people here to blame feminists for this. Seriously though? Feminists, which I hope includes any logical person, support equality between men and women. The reason feminists exist is for women to have every right and opportunity a man does, which includes things like equal wages and access to contraceptives. You'd have to be the most close minded, hardcore conservative out there to NOT support gender equality.

Avatar image for ArabrockermanX

@liquidation_ily:Difference between gender equality and demanding that a long established series should have a female lead just cause...

This "Nintendo against women" nonsense comes after most Nintendo games that let you play a male/female lead don't start you on a default gender...

Avatar image for nini200

@liquidation_ily: You are 100% correct about what a feminist is and I support equality between women and men as one should not be paid less depending on their gender if they are doing the same work. However, most now aren't feminist. They are Female Supremacists that want Female Superiority over Males and they use the word Feminist without understanding it's meaning. That's a discussion for another time though.

Avatar image for Mochipants

@nini200: Don't see why it has to be "another time", you yourself brought it up, the can o' worms is open, so let's dissect it. I admit I'm confused by what you mean by female supremacists, because as a feminist who has exclusively feminist friends both male and female, not a one of the hundreds of people I know are a supremacist in any way, shape, or form. So I do not agree that they are the majority as you claim. Anyone who truly feels that way is either living in a bubble or spends way too much time on the internet.

However, I do agree that anyone who DOES want female privilege over equality aren't feminists. Like, at all. The main problem is that people sure seem to paint both types with the same brush, you know? Again I bring up the internet, because online you can always count on a few loud crazies to permanently taint a noble cause.

Personally, my goal as a feminist is to just have theses things be not a big deal. Same goes for race. When we vote in a black president or a woman, or an atheist, or whatever, I wish it could be that no one even batted an eye. ...But while I'm still dreaming, I'd like a pet unicorn that ate rainbows and crapped out hostess cupcakes.

Avatar image for nini200

@Mochipants: I brought it up? You brought it up. I responded in summary to what you brought up. It has to be another time because this is not the Off Topic Board and I do not feel like filling up this entire section with comments about feminism.

Avatar image for XxParasite

How do you know that they're not crossdressing?

Avatar image for Mochipants

@XxParasite: That's the angle they went for in Stick of Truth, and that was good enough for me. xD

Avatar image for jamieparsons

Because Link is a male? So these Links are male. Not hard to understand.

Avatar image for garathe_den

I didn't think there was anything wrong with it until I read Shikata's weird explanation for it.

Avatar image for athmel

@garathe_den: Same. I wouldn't have given it a second thought. The protagonists of Zelda has traditionally been a male. But I was curious to see how it'd be spun, looking for buzzwords or some sophistry. This was just nonsense.

Avatar image for Mochipants

@garathe_den: Likewise. I don't really blame him though as much as I blame Nintendo. Having worked there for five years and played their games for decades, if there's one thing I've learned it's that they hate change.

Avatar image for p1p3dream

@Mochipants: You also have to look at the issue through Japanese culture. If you don't take in japanese culture into account, you're not seeing a large part of the conttext. I just came back from 3 months in Japan, and japan is a very MALE dominated culture. Women are extremely submissive, and are expected to act that way. The developer doesn't see a problem with this, because in Japan, its just assumed males are superior, and there isn't a lot of people that question this.

Avatar image for Mochipants

@p1p3dream: Believe me, I'm aware. But to say that isn't a problem,'s kind of a problem.

Avatar image for p1p3dream

@Mochipants: Lol. Sorry, I was pretty busy at work earlier, and obviously mentally slow- having worked at Nintendo and your screen name Mochipants, clearly you're versed with Japan. Sorry!!! And no, I wasn't meaning to say it wasn't a problem. It's definitely a problem. I've always felt Nintendo was pretty sexist, but never really "got it" until I spent time in asian culture.

It's a problem.

Avatar image for gudsskyfall

**** this disgusting social injustice warrior culture. DON'T politicize the gender of the playable characters in a video game you lunatics. Find a less hateful religion than femitheism to follow for "God's" sake.

Avatar image for Mochipants

@gudsskyfall: Not sure if trolling, or just has a huge, irrational problem with women...

Avatar image for batkiller

@BlueFlameBat What on earth? You have caused quite the kerfuffle! Your logic is, to say the least - illogical. You have turned an entire comment thread against you with your closed mindedness. Please, indulge me; let me explain.

In any artistic medium, it is the artists decision, not yours, on what will be painted on the canvas.

For example; would you demand that the story of Harry Potter be rewritten with a female protagonist? Simply because you want it so? How about the collected stories of Conan the Barbarian?

Perhaps they should rewrite the script for Kill-Bill? I'm not so fond of "The Bride", I demand "The Groom". I feel very much discriminated against, since there has been no alternate telling of this story, with a strong male lead character. I'm looking at you, Bruce Willis.

You have defined your logic as follows:

I am a female. I want to play this game as a female character. The developers have neglected my gender. I feel discriminated against. That's it. Your statements have no merit; they do not warrant discussion. The artist is free to develop their art; as he, or she sees fit.

No point trying to glorify your statements with false intellect either. You've added nothing to the conversation. You've inadvertently made yourself a target, provided illogical argument and proven yourself the fool in the room.

But, by all means continue. It is always amusing to see someone floundering around, trying to change the opinions of others; simply because they can't accept that others opinions do not always align with their own.

Avatar image for BlueFlameBat

@batkiller: Interesting name you chose creating your account the exact same day you made that post...

My logic is just fine. Your interpretation of my logic is what's flawed. I'm not female, I'm not interested in going back and changing Link's gender in past games, and the only thing even remotely resembling discrimination I feel right now is from fanatics who can't seem to stand a dissenting opinion, especially when it's worded harshly.

Yes, I did word my post harshly because I was frankly pissed off, sick of all the heroes being male even though most of them aren't actually the same person, and the tired old "guy saves girl" angle that's been done to death (granted not every single Zelda game has that trope).

And yes, game makers can do whatever the **** they want! I'm not demanding laws or anything forcing them to make their games my way, just voicing my opinions which some of you seem to have a big problem with! What the **** <i>is</i> your problem anyway?! You're getting the game you want and no posts here are going to change that so don't get your fucking bloomers in a bunch! That goes for the rest of you too!!

Having a strong opinion that doesn't fit with the majority does not make one a fool, by the way. I've had online arguments against racism, sexism, and homophobia in places with a majority of bigots, especially online.

The only reason I'm replying here is because I have some sort of bizarre compulsion. I shouldn't really a give a **** what any of you think at this point!

Avatar image for gameplayer23

I'm not personally offened in anyway that there's no female character. I don't really care who or what I play as, although I think it would be really cool to have a female character to chose from. They could have you save Prince Zelda or something. They would have to change the story slightly, but it could still be fun. It's really up to the game creator if they want to have it as an option or not. I would definitely like to see a female character but it's not a big deal if there isn't one.

Avatar image for barnett5562

@gameplayer23: Why don't said dissatisfied people make their own game(s) with said female heroine, then? Instead of blasting Nintendo and the creator of this game for doing the heroes be the way they are?

Avatar image for gameplayer23

@barnett5562: I understand why you're saying. The people who are upset about it are just trying to voice their opinions in a way so they will he heard, even if they can unintentionally be a bit rude. The dissatisfied people could make their own game if they'd like, but I think they would've if that's what they wanted. Most people don't have the skills to make their own games, and it seems to me that they want to change this exact game. There's nothing wrong with giving Nintendo feedback about their games, but they shouldn't be upset when Nintendo came back with an answer to why they don't have a female lead character. In my opinion I would like the female character because it could make the game a little better for some people, but I don't think Nintendo is horrible and sexist because there's not one. On Nintendo's side having a female character could help with ratings and help them sell more games because it's something new. Or on the other hand if they'd rather keep it they way it is, that's fine too they will sell plenty either way.

Avatar image for BlueFlameBat

Articles regarding gender and video games really seem to be bringing out really ugly sides of some people. Some people criticize a game and then a bunch of fanatics (metaphorically) jump on those critics like a pack of wolves.

Avatar image for corydl5

I don't understand why so many people are pushing developers to include playable female roles. Just let them make the games they want to make, they shouldn't have to make excuses as to why you can't play as a female or in some cases a male. All they should have to say is we decided not include this gender because we didn't want to end of story.