Back during E3 2014, Nintendo gave us our first look at the upcoming Zelda game now known as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Link’s appearance in the game’s first trailer was seen as so androgynous that many questioned if Link was actually female, and producer Eiji Aonuma fueled that speculation when he teased “No one explicitly said that that was Link.” However, this turned out to be a joke on Aonuma’s part, as Link is both the main character of the game and male.
Many fans were still hopeful that a female option would be included (while others remain vehemently opposed to the idea), but
Aonuma and his team have ruled this out. However, Aonuma has since revealed that the incarnation of Link we see in Breath of the Wild was specifically designed to appear gender-neutral so as to feel relatable to a wide range of fans. In fact, this has been Eiji Aonuma’s vision for the character since Ocarina of Time.
“Back during the Ocarina of Time days, I wanted Link to be gender neutral. I wanted the player to think ‘Maybe Link is a boy or a girl.’ If you saw Link as a guy, he’d have more of a feminine touch. Or vice versa, if you related to Link as a girl, it was with more of a masculine aspect. I really wanted the designer to encompass more of a gender-neutral figure. So I’ve always thought that for either female or male players, I wanted them to be able to relate to Link.”
“During the development of Twilight Princess, I went a different route and created a version of Link that was more masculine. But after Twilight Princess I went back to the drawing board and decided Link should be a more gender-neutral character. Hence I created the version of Link that you see in Breath of the Wild. As far as gender goes, Link is definitely a male, but I wanted to create a character where anybody would be able to relate to the character.
“So that’s why I think the rumor went around that Link could be a female. Because maybe the users were able to relate in that way.”
— Eiji Aonuma
Are you pleased with Link’s new look in
Breath of the Wild? Do you support Nintendo’s decision to keep Link as an exclusively male character, or would you have preferred a female option? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!