Link Will Always Be Hero of Main Zelda Games, Miyamoto Says - Report

"In the classic games in the series, Link is the hero and that will not change."

215 Comments

At E3 2016 earlier this month, Nintendo revealed that it considered making Princess Zelda the main character of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This idea was ultimately rejected (more on that below). Now, series creator Shigeru Miyamoto has spoken up to say "Link is the hero and that will not change" for the mainline Zelda games.

However, he left the door open for the possibility of a Zelda spinoff game to feature a female character.

This came up in an interview with Gamekult. Nintendo Everything transcribed the question and answer from French; check it out below.

GameKult: We regularly talk about the possibility to include a female character in a Zelda game for several years. Considering her important role in the story and the name of the series, can we expect to see in the future a game with Zelda as the main protagonist? If Tingle managed to have two games in his glory on DS, surely it is possible to do something, right?

Miyamoto: "We clearly talked with the team to make a game centered about Sheik, so I cannot say it is impossible to see something of the sort in the future, but in the classic games in the series, Link is the hero and that will not change. For the rest, you have to be patient and see what happens!"

At E3, Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma explained why Princess Zelda could not be the playable hero in Breath of the Wild.

"...if we have princess Zelda as the main character who fights, then what is Link going to do?" he said. "Taking into account that, and also the idea of the balance of the Triforce, we thought it best to come back to this [original] makeup."

Breath of the Wild is scheduled to launch in 2017 for Wii U and NX. For lots more on the game, check out all of GameSpot's coverage here.

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so_hai

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There was a game with Zelda as the lead:

Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon

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Jinzo_111887

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@so_hai: That didn't work out too well from what I understand.

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so_hai

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Edited By so_hai

@Jinzo_111887: Neither did Link's CD-i game, who goes to show that gender has no impact on audience reception.

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so_hai

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It would have to be true that those calling for a female Link would have to support the call for a male Samus, which I believe will one day come about.

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Jinzo_111887

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@so_hai: They're hypocrites if they don't support the call for a male Samus. However, I can think of a few ways a female character can work out. Either a Link and Zelda tag team where they both have separate skills or having Link get killed during his adventure with son/daughter finishing off what he started. However, I don't think gender bending Link or using Linkle as a hero is a good idea. Linkle should be a separate adventurer who shows up on Link's quest researching the land, wild life, history, culture, etc. just to find out as much as she can about the stories of the hero she grew up hearing about. This would allow her to be able to offer advice and other info.

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Fantasy_Dragon

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It's not equality if you change a character to a female just for the sake of him being female.

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so_hai

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@Fantasy_Dragon: It's pandering.

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mirage_so3

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Edited By mirage_so3

I'm so tired of this argument appearing everywhere lately. If you want a strong female character, make one. Simple. Don't try to make other already established game/movie series put a woman in the lead role just to "be progressive." Make your own, good, female character that will show women can do anything men can. Heavenly sword is still my favorite PS3 game and it stared a woman. Nariko was the epitome of a strong woman.

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asmoddeuss

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Link will be Link, end of story.

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TheLoCoRaven

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Yea! Tell those SJWs to suck it!

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madsnakehhh

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OMG, i can't believe some people believe that Link is an Avatar...are you high or something...better yet, have you even played a single Zelda game before?

Oh wait, you say that Link doesn't have any development as a character? well, let me tell you this...go play the games for God Sake, many of them would dramatically change if Link was a girl.

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Blaise0fGl0ry

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Why is this an issue all of the sudden? Im so sick of all this politically correct gender controversy seeping its way into everything. Link has been Link since 1986 and should remain as such. I don't really care how developed he is or isn't! I don't play Tomb Raider wishing there was an alternative male lead. Hell even Portal, where the need for a developed lead is non existent, gives you a gender specific avatar. *SPOILER..... its female and I don't give a flaming number two.

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asmoddeuss

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@blaise0fgl0ry: That is how stupid people are now days, next they will want to change Bart Simpsons into Barta Simpsons, or maybe Rambo to Rambita. Then they will complain why Tarzan have to be a man and not a woman, and so on.

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Deadlysyns87

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Edited By Deadlysyns87

Link has history and a Story. He is not really an Avatar anymore. Yes you can name him what you want but i could name Cloud whatever i wanted to. However his Canon name is Cloud.

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DRowePrice

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So nintendo is supposed to alienate their core fans and story to please a few people who think links an avatar? What a spoiled bunch of gamers we have today! There are plenty of games with female leads! So no nintendo is not going to give you your way because you throw a tantrum. Loz started in 1986 what people are asking is freaking unreasonable! Sometimes I think people get up and say "What non-issue can I make an issue today"?

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edhc44

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"Link's an avatar".

LOL some people clearly haven't played The Legend of Zelda.

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deactivated-583276a1d2d91

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@edhc44: Describe Link's personality in details. If you cant describe me his personality in details, he is an avatar. Link have no personality. therefore he is an avatar.

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edhc44

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Edited By edhc44

@El_Zaggy: Well, why don't you describe Samus' personality traits, then? Except for the scared girl we saw in The Other M, of course. If you can't describe me her personality in details, she might as well be interchangeable with "Samuel".

BTW, "strong, independent woman" is ruled out as an option.

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iandizion713

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Edited By iandizion713

@El_Zaggy: He does, Link is very lazy. He loves his family, Zelda, and Hyrule. Hes very funny. He gets angry a lot. Sometimes he gets scared.

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deactivated-583276a1d2d91

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@iandizion713: ask yourself this: is this really Link's personality or just a mirror of yourself ? because I woult totally say the opposite of what you said in some points. And anyway, the description you made are so vague too. Link is me. Link is you. his personality is what you want it to be.

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DRowePrice

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Edited By DRowePrice

The legend of Zelda is a game with a great canon! It may not always be very clear but it has its own canon! People need to realize that. Link is the hero of time who saves hyrule from ganon. Princess Zelda plays an integral part in every game as she holds one of the three triforce pieces. Now why would Nintendo throw a monkey wrench in a tried and tested storyline just to make a couple of people happy who probably don't even care about the game, but just want to choose a female lead. It doesn't make sense and this is getting outrageous!

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Elranzer

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Good.

You want a strong female protagonist, play Metroid, Tomb Raider or Bayonetta.

Link is not an avatar, he's a developed character.

And Linkle is non-canon.

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Mogan

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Mogan  Moderator

@Elranzer: "Link is not an avatar, he's a developed character."

Ehhh, I don't know about that. If he was so developed, you'd think he'd have a set name and a personality.

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Articuno76

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@Elranzer: 'Link is not an avatar, he's a developed character'.

Really? Can you name any ways in which he is developed? What is developed about him exactly? And is it a constant (i.e. carries over across all his incarnations) because if it isn't then its a development of a singular Link across a game, not Link as a character overall.

Link has seemingly no awareness of the exploits of other Links. Which is funny because even Zelda and Ganon seem somewhat aware of the role they play.

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asmoddeuss

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@Articuno76: Do you even know the timelines? in which Zelda game you play as the same previous Link and what Zelda game have a different (incarnation) Link? I see you don't know.

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iandizion713

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Edited By iandizion713

@Articuno76: Zelda and Ganon dont know until they awaken. Same with Link. Link is developed in many ways, his friends, family, places he grew up, etc. Also, spoiler alert, Link is actually female, he is a reincarnation of one of the Goddess's of the Tri-Force. Link, Zelda, and Ganon are all female goddesses. Tri-force!

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so_hai

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Nobody complained that Link was Link in the original game...

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Articuno76

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@so_hai: There's no issue with Link being Link. There is an issue of a character that is ostensibly an avatar not actually functioning as one. Nintendo is just being really bafflingly dense here and failing to really grasp the issue.

People who want a female lead aren't saying Link shouldn't be the lead, they are saying a female variant of Link should be an option. And I see no problem with that and it doesn't detract from anyone who would use the male option.

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sonic_spark

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Edited By sonic_spark

@Articuno76: I continue to read your responses, and your argument is painfully circular. An avatar is a manifestation of the person playing the avatar. This is not the entire case here by any means. Link has an established story, he is a villager BOY (depending the game sometimes he's a farmhand, an island boy, etc.), who is courageous, and by virtue pure of heart. He has a close connection with family and friends; which usually jump starts his adventures. He has plenty of character traits.

The story, in every single Zelda game, revolves around a princess and a villager boy (a story as old as time). In every single Zelda game there is a rapport between the two, a romantic link (no pun intended). By changing the male character, you're inherently changing the story.

You claim you have played Zelda games but refer to it as an "RPG". No one refers to a Zelda game as an "RPG". It's an Action-Adventure game with RPG elements. It has never steered away from that in the history of the franchise.

Link is a character, who has enough background to make him such. Nintendo has done an excellent job by making Link silent (mute) and only using reactions so that the player can identify with Link. Other games use different methods. Master Chief has a voice, but you never see his face (well until the end of 4 technically).

Making Link into a female doesn't make sense. That's the problem. If you change Link into a female, you'd have to change Zelda's role. Or Midna's. etc. etc. in the game - which I note, are all very strong female characters. Link has always been referred to as Link, has always, at its core, been a story about a boy saving a princess.

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Elranzer

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@Articuno76: Imagine if in the Metroid games, "Samus" was just an avatar and the player could make her a male. Afterall, she's basically covered head-to-toe in space armor, so she could essentially be Nintendo's Master Chief if players wanted to maker her male.

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Mogan

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@Elranzer: That'd be fine. Outside of Other M (which was terrible) Samus doesn't really have a personality, and her being female has no impact on anything. They could totally through a gender option in there at the start of a new Metroid game too.

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Articuno76

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@Elranzer: Well, if Samus was just an avatar that would be fine. But Samus isn't an avatar. Nor is Master Chief. These are singular characters that have backstories that reveal themselves in their design and backstory (both in-game and extra-media).

Link is a different dude in almost every game, and within those games fulfills an avataric role.

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Heqteur

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@so_hai: Actually, SJWs and some people from "those other cultures" are making more and more noise about Nintendo being close minded on that subject. That's stupid, but that's also what our world has become: everyone has to justify their choices when not including every possible cultures in their games. You have to justify not putting female heroes, gay characters, etc...

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duodu2000

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Edited By duodu2000

@heqteur: Oh... you mean like all the white hypocrites like yourself who were crying there was NOT enough white creator features or voices in the NBA 2K games huh?

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Articuno76

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Edited By Articuno76

@heqteur: Here's the thing, though: Developers normally have to make those justifications on the design brief anyway i.e. state why things are the way they are for the betterment of the game overall.

Nintendo is simply being asked to tell us what their reasoning was so that we can understand it. They've failed to give us a reason that makes sense yet, despite the fact that as developers they should have already taken that step.

i.e. They don't actually have an artistic reason for doing what they are doing (or they would have told us what it was) so the lack of an option comes across as an oversight than a conscious design choice.

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tempaccess

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@Articuno76: "They've failed to give us a reason" Actually, they dont have to. Their vision for Zelda games is about a boy out in the world saving a princess, not a girl saving a princess. And having that as their vision is reason enough. And they dont have to justify why they envisioned it this way.

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edhc44

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@Articuno76: Because Link is Link, not a mere avatar as you claim. Probably has more personality than yourself.

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Edited By poe13

@Articuno76: Why has it come to this? Why do games, movies, TV shows, and books HAVE to justify why the main character is a white male? So what? There are plenty of series in each one of those hobbies that have a woman as the main character and the guy is on the side or just not there at all (Tomb Raider, Hunger Games, Supergirl, Jessica Jones, Metroid series, etc., not to mention all the games that let you create either a guy or a girl like Elder Scrolls, Dark Souls, Mass Effect, etc.). Game developers should NEVER have to say why they have the main character is a __________.

It really doesn't matter. If the story is good or if the gameplay is fun, then just have fun with it. All this bickering over the gender of a main character really needs to stop. It is creative choice for a developer of a game or a director of a movie to cast the lead roles and it should ALWAYS stay that way without them having to explain ALL the time why they chose not to make the woman the lead or the black, asian, hispanic, alien from outer space, yet another talking animated animal, or whatever else you can think of.

Just have fun with the games. Stop worrying about making Link a woman as he's been a guy since the 1980s. Miyamoto is right, he doesn't need to justify why. There are way more important factors that go into this like how well the open world will impact the quality of Breath of the Wild compared to the previous entries in the Zelda series.

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Articuno76

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Edited By Articuno76

@poe13: "Why has it come to this? Why do games, movies, TV shows, and books HAVE to justify why the main character is a white male?"

Nintendo didn't have to answer the question. They were under no obligation to offer a justification to us. But, they still have to offer a justification to themselves:

See, creators have always had to offer up those justifications in the design process no matter who their character was because if they can't justify it to themselves then it means their writing is poor. This has always been part of the creative process. After all, a well-written character is the sum result of their experiences which includes their race, current age, sex, gender and so on. <-- This is why you can't just randomly change any one of those things about a character and expect them to stand up as convincing.

But Link has never been written with any of those things factored into his characterisation (not that he has any).

The reason white males are picked on more is because they are often used as a generic stand-in rather than because the plot is actually about them as white male characters and their place in the world. A good counter-example would be Joel from TLoU as a white male Texan. That character HAD to be white and male because he was thoroughly written that way. This is fine, the developer is actually making a conscious creative choice, not defaulting out of oversight.

'It is creative choice for a developer of a game or a director of a movie to cast the lead roles'

See above: It's not really a creative CHOICE at all. That's the entire problem, it's an oversight, a defaulting the creators themselves haven't thought through.

'Just have fun with the games. Stop worrying about making Link a woman as he's been a guy since the 1980s'

You seem to be bothered by the 'option' of there being a female Link. Isn't it actually you who is bothered? I'm wondering why there isn't an option, and 'there just isn't' (currently the strongest argument there is) isn't cutting it for me. I'll stop being worried when the justifications stop being worrying.

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poe13

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Edited By poe13

@Articuno76: No seriously. It is as simple as this: Link is the white male lead of the Zelda series because he is. That's it. No reading too hard into this is necessary because you won't find an answer as to why. It just is. I was 7 back in 1998 when I first played Ocarina of Time. I remember thinking "Why is it called the Legend of Zelda when I play as Link? Who is this Zelda?" But as I played more and more, I found out that Zelda became a pivotal character in the game.

When you said that they chose Samus as a woman for the Metroid series, well I think it could go both ways in that regard too. I love that Samus is a woman, but the game is called Metroid, not Samus, so that COULD have been a guy too. I really couldn't care who it is, as (if memory serves me correctly) many gamers didn't know Samus was a girl until she took off her helmet in one of the earliest games.

I know this was a comment you made a little down below, but you said "if you don't have her in the lead then you don't have a Metroid game". Can you explain the difference between that and Zelda, because both of these games do not have the main character as the title of the game. Now that both of these series are well into their prime and many games have been made, yes, it would not make sense for Samus to not be the lead in a Metroid game. However I also feel that that same sentiment needs to also be applied to Zelda games. If you don't have Link as the main character in the lead then it's just not a Zelda game. If you're worried about character traits, both Samus and Link are pretty weak in terms of dialogue. But they fit in their respective games because they just do. Simple as that.

Also, no Nintendo were not under an obligation, but I'm glad Miyamoto said what he did. This is to quell all the whining of why Link has to be a guy when it is 2016 and we have to appropriate everything for all genders and races (Ghostbusters have to all be women now). Well, Miyamoto is not having any of it. He chose what he chose just because. Kind of like those commercials back in the early 2000s as to "hey why do you kids like Apple Jacks cereal?" and they always would respond with "We just do". They didn't say well I like the flaky texture of the fruity loops or how it tastes like apples or whatever. They just like the cereal because they do. Link is a guy because he is. The creators started with him as a guy back in 1986 and he's been the lead ever since. Metroid started also in 1986 and the lead was revealed to be a woman and I NEVER EVER questioned why. Not once. Even when I was a kid playing the Metroid Fusion and Metroid Prime games, I didn't care. I just loved being a character in a metal suit killing aliens in other planets with lasers and solving puzzles.

Again, just play the games and stop worrying about stuff that really has no bearing on the games at all.

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fox_fury

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Edited By fox_fury

Wait.... the main hero's name is not Zelda? :)

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Mogan

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Mogan  Moderator

@fox_fury: The main hero's name is generally whatever you want it to be. The last Zelda game I played was as a fairy boy named Queenie.

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