Part 4 of TheMaverickk’s visual examination series is finally here! This time around, he focuses on our favorite green-clad hero, noting changes both in Link’s appearance and the design of his equipment in Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword.

View the full comparison after the jump, along with additional speculative notes from TheMaverickk himself.

And while you’re at it, be sure to check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the series, which compare the designs of the Deku Baba, Red Chu Chu and Bokoblin respectively.

(Download the full size image here (right click and Save As) >>)

A few additional notes from the TheMaverickk:

“There are a few additional notes I should mention from this study, but I didn’t want to throw in speculation into the created image. Leaving it as a sort of post note.

The first is that Link is missing his riding gauntlet (worn on his sword arm in TP). The metal wrist bracers are the same in both TP and SS, so I didn’t mention this. It’s simply that the SS model is missing that one decorative piece for horse riding which is placed on his sword arm bracer. Speculatively speaking this strongly implies that Epona and horse riding will likely not be in Skyward Sword. This is again speculation, but it is a detail I noticed.

Overall SS Link’s outfit looks new, it doesn’t look worn. This may simply be a result of art style, or it may be a choice based on it being an earlier Zelda game in the Time Line. So the uniform isn’t aged yet or ancient (seeing as how in TP by some divine act he is given the hero’s clothes).

The Hylian Shield is actually closer to the original design of OoT’s Hylian Shield. The phoenix on it has straight wings like the original design and no hole.”

As always, we love to hear your thoughts, questions and opinions – so leave them in the comments!

  • Ryan

    The picture is so small i can't read it even when i click to enlarge.

    • ncocs

      It's actually huge. There are different things you can do to view it.

      Internet Explorer – Right Click on the image, and click view image.
      Mozilla Firefox – Same thing.

      Safari, Opera, Google Chrome – Drag the image into a new tab.

    • Deku_Scrub

      You've just got to open the file.

  • Ryan

    Ah ok it's fixed. I like the Skyward Sword Link better because he loses the tights for travelers pants, which is cool. The color of his tunic is also better than TP Link's. His boots also aren't as gay, no offense.

  • X x7

    I did a comparison just like this on OoT Link, and TP Link before we knew about SS in order to figure out who the Link in the concept art was, and if the game would be a sequel to MM or TP. I was proven wrong on both those theories, obviously, but nonetheless, this is a good piece of work.

  • Entorien_Scriber

    I prefer the TP Link, but I agree that the earlier timeline of SS could account for the outfit being less ornate and more functional.

    Not too keen on the changes to Link's face, I'm rather fond of the slightly realistic look of TP, and those new ears look somewhat stunted to me.

    I really hope the loss of the riding gauntlet doesn't mean there's no Epona, I enjoy that part of the games far too much! Every time she goes missing, I get a serious does of, 'my horse, gimme'!

    All in all I'm not sure about the new look. The colours are brighter, which is nice, but I prefer the high detail from TP.

    • P.U.B.L.I.C

      TP didnt really have better detail. just because u have the stitches and all doesnt mean they looked good either. the closer you looked the more blurry it got. While SS is being made for a bigger system with bigger capabilities meaning better details and gorgeous graphics:)

    • SweetLie

      Maybe he has a Pegasus in this game.
      Imagine the possibilities…

      • Brian

        Unfortunately, Eiji Aonuma said that Link doesn't have a Pegasus! πŸ™

    • ZeldaGurl_

      I have to agree with you all the way on this. I like TP Link more, for pretty much everything. I liked his look. Not too crazy for the Traveler's Pants either…. And his boots just look…eh… And his face just seems really Babydoll-ish.

      I don't know, must be because I'm a girl and all, but I like Link to be good lookin', and right now he just looks real fragile. But, considering the fact that it's only late July/ early August, I'm hoping some changes will be made to his look to improve. I mean, we can totally see the changes from TP over time until it was released. I just really hope that Link still has that handsome charm about him, so he won't seem so girly man-ish.

      And I really, REALLY hope that Epona is in SS. That is one of my favorite parts in OoT, MM, and TP, and I couldn't imagine not having her there as his trusty steed. Riding through the lad upon her back and slaying enemies as I ride into battle makes me feel as if I really am the Savior of Hyrule. Whenever she would be taken I would want to kill those bad guys even more for touching his horse baby. I just really really REALLY pray that she is there. If anything, she's the girl for Link. If Zelda can't have Link, then Epona gets him. xP

      But as always, we'll never really know what SS has in store for us until the time comes for it to be released or exposed for all of its glory. Either way I'm going to love it for the Zelda game that it is, but where it goes as opposed to the others games….well, that has yet to be determined.

  • GamerRob1

    Very Interesting, I really like Skyward Sword's graphics so far. I like the new graphical style they are going for. I am loving it!

  • Gerudude

    In sword battle, I'd rather have a chain mail under my shirt than none.
    And that's all I have to say about all of this.
    It won't change anything.

    • Brian

      Yeah. Me, too! πŸ™‚

  • cuju

    Great work, I realy appreciate all these comparisons. Could you please keep making these ?

  • Aeolus

    In a video game, chain mail is only for looks… lol. I like the new Link, I like the old Link, I like OoT and WW Link!! Its all perfect! hahaha

    • Brian

      Oh, I get it! XD

  • APEXMAN

    I prefer the style and detail TP had to offer. Though it does make sense that SS Links tunic is fairly new since it comes even before OoT.

    Still, i hope Nintendo puts more detail into the overall look of SS Link as the game is released.

    And PLEASE. change his face. just do it. it needs to be done.

  • I wonder if the Phoenix design on the shield isn’t from this game, originally. Like having something to do with the Skyward Sword.

    • TheMaverickk

      This is actually more so the the case. From what I've seen although the Triforce has acted as the "Royal Crest" in games like OoT overall the combination of the phoenix and the Triforce may be to represent Hylian ties to the sky. Or some connection to a race of birds…

      Birds are an integral icon in the Zelda series. The Hylian phoenix is on the shield, it's on the Door leading to the Temple of Time (in TP) , it's in the fountain in Hyrule Town… in OoT Kaepora Gaebora is a bird guide for the Hero of Time… ancient magical bird statues are scattered around in Twilight Princess. Needless to say the crest of Hyrule seems to have always had a strong connection to the Sky and Birds alike.

  • anon

    there is chain mail, it's just less visible

  • Chad

    I like the TP link better he looks less feminine. Although for sure SS has a better art style.

    • Vibed

      I don't know what makes it more feminine….Maybe the darkened color to the lips or defined nostrils (both of which I hate.)

  • claudioace

    Tell me if i'm wrong, but it 's supposed to be a different sword, so what's the point of having the same sheath? (i can understand the shield, its the royal family seal)

    • LuX

      It's the same sword…..It's just not the Master sword YET. Tbh it becoming the master sword could simply be a change in name at the end of the game when the sword becomes legend and not the sword actually changing but going off pat Zeldas what is more likely is that the sword needs to be "powered up" in some way with magic and what have you resulting in it's eventually being the Master sword…..
      And last but not least this could be the Master Sword after the Skyward Sword is changed so we haven't actually seen the Skyward Sword yet.

    • UltimaHedgie

      As LuX said, the "Skyward Sword" is actually the Master Sword. It sounds like a plot twist, yeah, but it was revealed at E3. Apparently it later "becomes" the Master Sword, my guess being that it later gains that title, as opposed to the sword literally changing.

  • Cam

    Two things I would like to see fixed:
    SS Link's face (a little too feminine) and his baggy pants O_o

    • *stalk stalk*

      Face. Work. Please.
      I still say his pants look like Aladdin's…

      • P.U.B.L.I.C

        I say forget the tights lol pants look way better

    • Brian

      I agree. πŸ™

  • ShadowHero31

    sorry Cam but Link's new pants are here to stay
    and they look great not stupid πŸ™‚
    as for his face i don't know, but chances are it will recieve a little improvement.

  • Link

    I like TP and SS Link I would just like his face to be fixed up some because it doesn't look anywhere as good as the concept art. Its just the nose mouth and eyes just need to be changed. of course these are the beta graphics and they are still working on the graphics so this is just a place holder or something like that. Also I would like them to either lighten his pants color or make them white because they blend in with his skin color which in turn kind of looks like fat on his legs so they should either fix his pants or skin color. That's my opinion and I think he will get Epona will appear.

  • TheMaverickk

    Overall I think this comparison fits the middle ground more.

    In it it's clear that a lot of the ornate details have been removed in favor of a more simplistic design. Which supports the fans that feel like SS lacks certain details TP had…

    While still displaying that much conscience thought, time and effort have still been put into model design and over all changes. The changes really are a nice means of differentiating this Link with past versions.

  • Chainoftermina

    I actually like TP's hat better. for everything else, I prefer SS :p…………………………well, okay FINE. His face is a little better in TP. The eyebrows and the ears. especially the ears.

    • maefreak

      If you look at Links ears in WW they are very similar to SS ears.

  • Muskiok

    Also, the cross-hatched stitching has been removed from his sleeves and sides of the tunic. Other than that, I think you caught everything. It's nice to compare in such detail. Thanks for doing this.

    (and I still prefer the TP hat. It's super-long (the longest of any we've seen) and epic… but that could just be me…)

    • TheMaverickk

      I actually stated that all cross hatching had been removed from the tunic. This I figured would cover the sleeves and sides of the tunic.

      As for the hat being longer and more pointed… theoretically speaking the patch at the end may have been added to that rounded shorter hat over time due to wear and tear to it. It would account for TP's hat being longer and more pointed with an obvious patch seam around that area.

      Of course this is simply more speculation, not anything that should be thought that much about.

  • Majora16

    I noticed that SS Link has visible fingers too, unlike TP Link. SS Link even has finger nails! :O

    • TheMaverickk

      Yeah there's a lot more detail in the models overall. The shields back is no longer a flat backing… it's actually got an edge and detailed model in the back, mind you it's a detail that isn't quite as big to notice.

      All of these are indication of the time and effotr they've put in improving Link in this Zelda title.

  • Elijah

    I like SS Link, you can see his features a little more. TP Link was realistic but there are some parts you can't see too well.

  • Goro

    I've also notice SS Link's hair is less blocky than his TP counterpart during some gameplay footage I saw.

  • Urban link

    they forgot to mention that link,s hair is diferent it not only points a diferent direction but is in a diferent style imitating the old school link,s . his ear,s are also smaller and his eyes are darker in color

  • einah

    I miss the tunic stitching details. They probably work better with TP's style, but… still πŸ™

    I agree with some of the above posters about his face. I once took a glance at some SS screenshots and immediately thought "Justin Bieber". The thought terrifies me and needs to be unseen.

  • Siaarn

    Errggh.. I didn't realize how weird SS Link's face looked :s He looks like he's wearing makeup or something.. I hope they fix that.

  • ItzTommyboy

    His face looks like freakin Micheal Jackson + Justin Bieber or something
    I've been a fan of Zelda since i was a little kid, so this quite shocked me 0_0

  • Shadowoflight

    Curly in TP was just one of the features that fits the game.
    It makes it look nostalgic and dark.
    '
    I'm sure SS has a lot of other features to express the graphical style.

  • I thought he looks like a girl but couldn't really say why before… Oh, he's wearing eyeliner. Yeah, that would do it. Hopefully they'll do something about his face before release. Other than that, the game looks good.

  • MDH

    Nice and detailed comparison! I rather like the new design; the baggier pants in particular are a fresh touch. Supposedly they're similar to a skydiving suit where the bagginess improves aerodynamics, so with the sky theme of SS…well, it fits!

    I do wonder whether they'll polish the overall detail though, despite the art style. And his face does need to be redone slightly, though I'm sure it'll grow on us either way.

    • Brian

      @MDH, I think that Nintendo is going to polish up the overall details! πŸ™‚

  • Sanity's_Theif

    So what I got from this is that TP Link is more detailed looking… not happy about that at all considering this is made for the Wii from the ground up

    If they want to change the artstyle fine but make sure you detail the graphics enough!

    • TheMaverickk

      Detail wise they are actually equal, style wise they are completely different.

      There's a lot more detail in the models (fingers are seperated, the back of the shield is no longer flat, the hair isn't so jagged and sharp, ect.) and there is still all the detail in terms of seams, chain mail, buckles, belts, boot outer sole and so on.

      The only missing aspects are things like the cross stitch on various parts of the clothes, and the little curl designs that were on all his clothing and boots before. That has nothing really to do with "detail" that has to do with style. In reality most people probably couldn't see all those little details when they were playing the game anyways considering that Link is always a certain distance away from the camera.

      Unless you were specifically trying to zoom in to admire every single curl detail, you most likely never saw them at all during the gameplay as Link leaped around swing his sword in the middle of battle or was moving while walking.

  • Nathan

    What is Miyamoto's advantage with keeping the Master Timeline secret? I can't see what he's gaining out of it, it just leaves us in a haze of confusion.

  • Well it is cool but prefer the TP graphics and the game is going to be ool πŸ™‚

  • Just because he's missing a bracer doesn't mean Epona won't be in the game… Nice study, though.

    • TheMaverickk

      Well it does say that such an observation is "speculative" meaning that it's a possibility. Also it's the only accessory completely removed from Link's out fit, and it was a part of Link's previous out fit since horse riding was an important aspect of the game.

      There's always a chance he may get it later in the game when he is able to ride Epona… or it's possible he may ride without it. Although I really think it's a much stronger possibility that there will be no horse riding in this game at all.

    • Vibed

      I have a slight feeling that we're riding a phoenix (or a Pegasus.)

  • Anon

    Is it just me or does SS Link have more pronounced lips?

    • Vibed

      It's not you, I see it too. I personally don't mind so long as the lips aren't too darkened.

  • ……….

    Not to mention TP Link is way hotter lol

  • Volroc

    IMO either way Links lips make him look like a girl

  • Sam

    SS Link Sucks! <_<

  • still hate grahics….oh well

  • althought I was ecpecting a story which is stick with Twilight Princess ,the game still looked great

  • UltimaHedgie

    I did like the extra detailing on the Twilight Princess models and the more realistic looking. Whether or not SS is graphical superior doesn't mean a thing; its all about the style of graphics. SS has less detail and also has the cel-shading… FAR better than WW, but I still prefer TP's look.

  • Emi

    Just a note, not sure if anyone's said it yet, but it's spelled "seams" when referring to the stitching. Other than the repeated typo, good job, totally enjoyable.

  • Teengamer

    Very interesting comparative study. I'm glad there was no opinion on which style was better, since both have their positives and negatives. πŸ™‚

  • Over all, who looks better?

    TP Link does for me, still… 8P

  • Rinku

    i feel like SS is like oot and mm with a mix of tp n ww i think SS is goin to be on of the best zeldas ever and link doesnt look like a female

  • "It’s simply that the SS model is missing that one decorative piece for horse riding which is placed on his sword arm bracer."
    Maybe I'm wrong but I always thought the piece on his sword arm was meant for the Hawks you called. Bird handlers used it so the talons wouldn't pierce them? I know OoT and MM are old but neither of those had any special piece just for horse riding. OoT had Gauntlets for strength, and MM had nothing of the sort. Link doesn't control Epona with his sword arm in TP anyway, he uses his other arm. That being said, the piece on his arm has nothing to do with horse riding.
    Epona probably won't be in this game though. Wind Waker didn't have Epona and this game probably won't either.. but I won't give up hope πŸ™‚

  • Isabela

    You forgot one difference, TheMaverickk πŸ™‚

    Hair: TP Link's hair is darker, while SS Link's is a brighter blonde. Also, TP Link's hair bang is less abundant than the SS one and it is placed on the right, while SS Link's one is placed on the left.
    Check: http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2010/215/4/2/Li
    What do you think? πŸ™‚

  • Puck

    So far I think Link looks passable in Skyward Sword, the only change I dislike is his skintone. It looks too white-washed if you ask me, as if he were made of clouds. Technically, if he were living above the clouds, shouldn't his skin be a little more tan, or a little more pink at least. But what do I know? Maybe his uber-white skin will act as a contrast on the ground for the darker world. My personal favorites on this Link are his ears(more rounded and bat-like, probably better for hearing in certain conditions) his open shirt(looks more comfortable and more hero-like) and his baggy pants (Practical for both adventuring and skydiving, plus I wear pants like those). On average I'd say both Links look just fine and neither one is better than the other overall.

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  • Foh

    Hm, it looks nice, I do still wish they had an improved graphics on TP Link for Skyward Sword, but I suppose it's just because I'm not used to the new art style yet. It'll come to me, I'm sure.

  • jakk

    whos older

  • I prefer the TP Link

  • Midna

    I also prefer Twilight Princess Link because he’s more adult and looks more realistic which is what did it for me. Obviously, anyone who says else has played a different game that they favor more. Everyone has that first game that they play where they instantly love it so a sequel is either terrible or much better. I’m a bit bais because TP was my first game in the Zelda series so that’s probably why it had the most impact for me. Also I just started Skyward Sword and I’m not really a fan and they copied TP with they ‘Pieces of your Soul Tears’ or whatever! Are you kidding me?? That’s like the first thing you do in TP!! All that I really like in SS is the Wii Motion Plus feature and flying your Loftwing and it isn’t realistic due to the Impressionism art form. Plus you have to sleep for it to be night?? TP had a game realistic time through the day type thing and you could do anything whenever and wherever. Plus Fi is SOO annoying with the statics, at least Midna added some flavor to your mission and made you laugh. Midna was tsundere!!! She changed and grew and I’ve heard that Fi leaves but I guess (no shit) being emotionless basically and leaving is gonna make some people cry but I doubt I will. Midna like had a thing with Link but you know, SS isn’t really going that far in my record book.

  • I think all links look awesome in their own way and i have a blog about the legend of Zelda. If you people want to talk about that and only that. So feel free to go on my blog if you want an account just tell me as a guest and i will set it up for you πŸ™‚