Female Links

With all the speculation and theorizing surrounding not only the upcoming release of A Link Between Worlds, but highly anticipated information concerning Zelda for the Wii U, many sub-topics have arisen for debate. One that Official Nintendo Magazine UKย took notice of last week was the topic of a female Link.

Many potential options for a female protagonist to enter the Zelda stage have been presented, both on and off the ONM forums. However, the most popular choices include having Zelda be the playable character, as well as having an option at the beginning of the game to choose between male and female, similar to the format of Pokemon and Harvest Moon. There is also debate on if the switch should be superficial, meaning that the story would be the same as always regardless of gender options, or if the switch to a female Link would demand a change in the dynamics of Link’s character, i.e. more depth, personality, etc. for a totally different kind of hero.

Those players who are pro-female Link say that it is time for Zelda to join the ranks of those fighting gender inequality in the gaming universe and present the enormous fan base with a strong female role model that does more than help out in the final battle. Based on what Nintendo has seen in their forums, I would say that everyone would be satisfied to some degree if, in-game, a lady character was playable from time to time in an expanded version of Kafei from Majora’s Mask. For those who do not know, Kafei becomes briefly playable as he and Link complete puzzles together in an optional side quest.

If, say, Nintendo took advantage of Link’s downtime in scenarios like his seven-year sleep in the Temple of Time and created a story arc for a female lead, that would provide a great deal of diversity for the game and open the door for a more in-depth story without searching for a way to sneak it in. This example would be a perfect opportunity, though it is a long time past. Making Zelda playable after Link enters the Sacred Realm, taking her through her training and education with Impa as her kingdom crumbles would have unveiled so much mystery in Ocarina of Time, and would have been wicked fun to play.

On the flip-side, some players either do not want any playable females, or are strictly against one in particular. We previously published an article about a Facebook group against Zelda being playable. These players are worried that such a change will alter the game too much and take away the “Zelda-ness” that we all love. Whether they would be against a female character in general or an in-game segment with Zelda or another girl remains unclear.

So, what would you prefer? Should we keep boy/teen Link, ย mix it up a bit with a lady lead or have some combination of the two? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Official Nintendo Magazineย UK
  • Legender

    Zelda helped out a lot in Spirit Tracks. And that was really fun! It allowed for a lot of different puzzles, and even changed up a lot of typical block puzzles that the Zelda series is so full of. I would love to see an expanded-upon version like this, at the very least, if we don't get a female main.

    I would like a female main though… ๐Ÿ™

  • Canyarion

    I have no problems with a female Link per se…

    But a female Link would complicate the interaction with all the women in the Zelda universe, including Zelda. They’d either need a male Zelda/Malon/etc. OR touch the sensitive subject of homosexuality.
    I prefer they keep it simple.

    Doesn’t the huge amount of female gamers show that The Legend of Zelda is a female-friendly game already? It doesn’t matter if you’re old, young, boy, girl… everybody is Link in Zelda.

  • arichietothepast

    What I noticed about zelda fans is that most are completely narrow minded…no offense… I have love the legend of zelda ever since I was a friggin baby. And personally I would friggin love to see zeldas creators get really creative. And so what if some where down the line ljnk happened to be conceived as a girl… the whole point is the “hero of time” has the same bloodline as the original link. Duh. Either way im excited for the new ideas.. and new stuff…. like ong ima scream like a school girl… I want a wii u so bad…ahhhhh and I want a 3ds.. I wish I wasnt so poor.

  • smcrzgi

    i think what Nintendo should do is create a "custom" link and a "classic" link for new zelda games. the custom link will allow you to choose which gender and face your version of link has (kinda like mass effect) but the canonical version of the game will be the classic look for link. the "great" gender equality would be appeased, and those who still want to play as link, and have the main character be the classsic link would be appeased as well. either this, or make zelda a playable character along with link, kind like how spirit tracks did it but more so through out the whole game, instead of in one area. this would also allow for multiplayer gameplay if you do this like how the lego games do their multyplayer..

  • LinkingSwords

    I actually would not prefer link to be a girl, like how others have said that would completely change the LoZ timeline. It seems like this is only happening to LoZ what about Mario, should he be a female plumber as well??… I think many people would be against that idea so lets keep Link male. I would actually prefer Zelda to be playable, I especially like the Idea of making a game based on the 7 year gap when Link is trapped in the sacred realm. Truthfully deep down everyone wants to play as Zelda and Shiek, and the would make both opposing sides happy.

    • Rachel

      The big difference between Mario and Link is that while Mario is one guy, who is in a bunch of different games, most Zelda games feature a different Link. While I don't necessarily want a female Link myself, there is no real reason Link couldn't be born female. Also there are lots of Mario games that allow you to select Peach, Daisy, Toadette, etc.

      • Reece

        Exactly. I don't see how it would "change the timeline", because the next Link born after a female Link could still be male again. The timeline is just an afterthought by the developers anyway–it was only created because fans were so intent on having all of the games officially and canonically connected.

        And that's just the attitude I want Nintendo to continue to utilise: think of the gameplay, story and characters over the overarching connections with other games, which is a far less crucial aspect to creating an enjoyable game. Why impose restrictions when there could be so many possibilities with each new Zelda title?

        And yes, Mario isn't the best comparison as there's only one Mario. Also, the Mario series has no focus on any story elements–that's why the kidnapping plot hasn't changed in almost 30 years. Changing a character would add nothing, but I think it could possibly be a refreshing take on a new Zelda game.

  • Datahound

    Might I suggest that people against a female lead character read 'Living Dolls, the return of Sexism' by Natasha Walter before they find themselves becoming an extension of the issue.

    The concept of having Link as either a man or woman is completely feasible within the confines of Hyrulian law. There is no indication throughout the series that this could not be a possibility, and actually reaffirm that female characters can have a strong role within the progression of both the playable game and the storyline which we know and all love. Might I take note of Navi, Tatl, Minda, Romani, Zelda, Sheik, Saria and Fi and among others. Each has held a particular role aiding the progression of the hero in his goal to save the world from the many incarnations of Gannon. Whats to say that one of those characters could or should not be made into the focal point for a new realisation of the Zelda series.

    One of the greatest strengths to the Zelda series is that it leaves the potential for new games to be developed filling either unresolved plots or developing new ones altogether. Majoras Mask is a prime example of a game where an unresolved plot was expanded upon, who is to say they couldn't do another game focusing upon the sub plot of a female character.

    As Canyarion said 'Doesn't the huge amount of female gamers show that The Legend of Zelda is a female-friendly game already?' but as a product of that question I'd like to ask 'if there are so many female gamers that love the series, why isn't there a game which focuses on a female character?'

    Nintendo are aware of this issue, and it is clear that they are taking steps to rectify this situation by including female characters whose powers are utilisable by the player. I am sure they shall continue, without the expense of isolating their current fan basis, to increase the use of female characters, and I feel our gaming community could only benefit from such a mentality.

    • Harrison Garrett

      I disagree with the reasoning of "if there are so many female gamers that love the series, why isn't there a game which focuses on a female character?". The reason is that there doesn't necessarily need to be. These fans don't need a female character to play as just because they're female. I think that's a harmful premise to pursue, because then the gender of both the characters and the fans become a focus, and that does nothing constructive for The Legend of Zelda as a series or for any individual game. It also doesn't do anything particularly useful for the fans. They already enjoy playing as Link as he is; why do they need to play as a girl just because that's what they are? If they truly do WANT to, then that's a different question, but to presume that they do because of their gender confines the women of the Zelda fandom to purposeless gender roles.

      I think a good female lead is entirely conceivable, but I think so on the premise that the gender of the lead shouldn't impact the play-ability, desirability, or popularity of the game. I don't want Nintendo to be closed to the idea of a female lead, but I also don't think they should pursue the idea for its own sake. I think the most important consideration we need to take is WHY the main character ought to be a women. Personally, I think doing it to make a political statement or doing it just because it's different are unreasonable and unwise. If the story, plot, or characterization or any actual quality of a game would be improved by using either a female incarnation of Link or some preexisting female character as the lead, then by all means Nintendo should not hesitate.

      • Datahound

        I agree with you that there doesn't need to be, but isn't the whole premise of the series to innovate? Wouldn't it be good to see less appropriation and more creation. I mean the series has had 15 male Links, wouldn't it be a revelation if for once there was a female main lead? As for alienating the fan-base, let us all be realistic. The fact is fans still would buy into the series perhaps out of curiosity, or out of excitement for a genuinely new and original addition to the series. Whether you like it or hate it, its still an interesting concept. As for making a Zelda game for the sake of it; I doubt that would be the main driving force to invest vast sums of capitol, only to whimsically add another game. As to WHY the character ought to be female; it is not a matter of must, but it is a matter of interest. If anyone else wishes to comment please do, and thank you Harrison for your reply; it really got me thinking.

  • i am a girl and a dont think to have a female character would be very great cause i play every game(not oracle of season and age) and to have a main female would be really disturbing for the saga to be a young boy or a man play its role in the series so change that and its change all the game , but to include zelda more in the game (like in spirit track) is great cause she is not just the princess that you save only at the end … but im waithig for the new one and the new idea of the creator ^^

  • Casey

    I have no problem with a female lead in a game. Metroid is one of my favorite game series period, but with that being said Link should remain a male. If you are wanting to get creative and make a female protagonist make a whole new game series. That would make everyone happy. And despite the recent wii u release of windwaker, we all remember the backlash nintendo had when they announced it. People as a whole do not want their system messed with. The idea of another character being playable during down time is interesting, but then you have to deal with similar issues that some people say the wind waker had while playing as the bird girl. ( can’t remember name right now). This character would have to be fully realized and have a full set of skills and abilities. Just my opinion on the situation though. I doubt they will make that kind of a change to the series due to fears of alienating their fan base. Especially when trying to get those wii u’s off the shelf.

  • This character would have to be fully realized and have a full set of skills and abilities. Just my opinion on the situation though. I doubt they will make that kind of a change to the series due to fears of alienating their fan base.

  • Random

    I don't think a female Link would be a good idea. After all he is Link! If they we're to make any female character playable it should be Zelda or a new character. Personally, I would LOVE to play as Zelda so…Yeah. No girl Link. EVER! But having a girl character would be a nice change, even if you only get to play as her a little.

  • Philip Akkerman

    It would change the dynamic of the game I think if Link was no longer a guy, especially with his relationship with Zelda and the other female NPC’s.
    On the other hand though, I think it’d be kinda funny if they gave the boy/girl option but didn’t change the story at all. Suddenly all the girls who fall for Link are Les, and the guys around Link are for some reason not attracted to her at all. Lol it could make for some interesting scenes…
    Other than that though, if female Link was cute like some of the girl cos-players, it might not be so bad ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • GreenPatches

    A girl version of link would just be strange, its not right after so many years of him being a guy to be changed into a female. Maybe if a completely new female character or zelda were playable during a side quest or main character wouldn't have much of a change as the drastic change of link becoming a woman…

  • Guest

    It has already been well established that link is male , and so he should stay a male. However, nintindo can make a female version of him (with a diffrent defalt name) in a game. In this senario, i think it would be a good idea to give link and his female counterpart different, but linked, stories.

  • Leg

    I was one of the people that commented in the Magazine, I do think it could work ,but the problem being the Characters are often always white and male.
    I'm thinking of the Star Trek series like in Star Trek Voyager the lead captain was a woman and in Star Trek Deep Space nine the person in charge was a black man, I know there not video games, but if they had something like that but for video games it would be great,

    • Keaton Fox

      You know, I think that would be a great idea to include other genders and races in video games. But let's not do it to Zelda, a game whose main characters have already long since been decided upon.

  • Guest

    i mean, if she was as hot as either of those two ^ it'd be fine by me…

    • Leg

      What?

      • huh

        That confuses you?

  • icefox337

    Personally, I wouldn't mind whether Link stays male in all of his incarnations or if he is female in some of them, but I would definitely like Zelda to be playable or at least be more of a hero than a damsel, if that makes sense. I really liked her personality in Skyward Sword, and I think it would be really cool if she was a more active role in the story, considering we mostly see her only in the beginning and end of a lot of the games.

  • Joe

    A female Link wouldn’t be a bad idea. Link doesn’t have to be male or female. His “spirit” could reincarnate into anything. I don’t think making Zelda playable is the answer. It would just take all the mystery away from her character. People say that having a female Link would be weird because Zelda is female… do you realize that the only game Zelda and Link had any romantic feelings was Skyward Sword? Otherwise, they were just allies fighting for the greater good. I think it would be neat to have a change of pace. The franchise needs something to stir it up, and create buzz.

    • Raichu-Keaton1411

      THANK YOU!!! There are always so many people stuck in their ways about this, both that link always must be the same, and yet thinking there is always something going on between him and zelda ๐Ÿ˜› thanks for being reasonable ๐Ÿ™‚

  • steve

    Don’t get me wrong it would be cool to have a female but wouldn’t it kinda screw up the whole story ?? I mean if there was a female wouldn’t Zelda have to be a boy?? And if so prince Zelda lmao would be pretty dumb I mean who ever heard of rescuing a prince …….

    • Situations

      Maybe it's time to try something new. (Just not with this franchise) And I'm pretty sure a prince wouldn't be named Zelda.

    • John

      Why would Zelda have to be a boy? I mean, this is the year 2013, who cares if Link becomes a girl and zelda stays a girl or if they both stay the same or if link stays a boy and zelda becomes a boy, It shouldn't be a big deal, a zelda game will always be a zelda game no matter what

  • K2L

    Why Zelda or a female Link?

    Can't it be an all-new female character?

    It's obvious you guys played Mass Effect WAAAYYY too much.

  • Alex

    I think SOME of the storyline would have to change. You could still rescue Zelda and meet all the same people, but the interactions might be different. For example, the girl that liked Link in Skyward Sword might react differently to Female Link. (After all, why change the name? I mean, the whole point is that the character serves as a "Link" to the player).

    I think it'd be fun, but would have absolutely no impact on necessary game play.

  • Keaton Fox

    Coming from a gamer girl who's grown up with Zelda, I personally am really against a girl Link. Sure his spirit does reincarnate, but let's face it; his character (which includes his spirit) is male and should remain as such. I think being able to play as Zelda would be a cool idea and is something I would be happy with Nintendo doing. But seriously, if you want to play a game with a female main character, then go play a different game, because Zelda's main is male. Don't screw up Zelda over some stupid gender controversies.
    Link seems to stand out as a symbol for a lot people (at least me anyway). If you mess up his image too much (change his gender or make his looks customizable) then he loses that, loses his individual personality, and he just becomes any other video game character. And honestly, I'm a huge Link fangirl, and find him extremely attractive. Please don't destroy that! Don't destroy him!

    • Reece

      Your argument kind of falls apart when it comes down to "I don't want to see this character go because I think they're hot". I never really have understood this attitude towards fictional characters, from both men and women–if you want to look at attractive men/women, then you've opportunities everywhere with the internet and TV.

      Also, your suggestion "if you want to play a game with a female main character, then go play a different game" ties into exactly why people would like a FemLink: because there really aren't all that many games with strong, independent and fearless playable women. I'm not saying there aren't any examples, but there are very few in comparison.

      You say that Link is symbolic to you, and that's fair enough. But every Link still has their own appearance, style, age and personality, right? So if they're already so different, why can't there be one female? It just seems like a natural progression. The legend says that a hero appears whenever evil rises, but it never says that that hero HAS to be male. There have been female warriors in the series before like the Sheikah, so to me there's no reason why there couldn't be a female Link. It wouldn't make Link "any other character", it would make Link one of the rare exceptions and possibly one of the most unique characters.

      Then you might question, "why Zelda? Why can't we have new strong female characters somewhere else?" Well, I can't speak for everyone's opinion who are in favour of FemLink, but I don't want to see a female protagonist to prove any point or to adhere to any ethical equality. I'm actually tired of seeing the same feminist arguments pop up everywhere around video games lately, and I'm of the opinion that nothing should compromise the game's story or design. I actually think a female Link would have something to add to a Zelda game, and not just be there for the sake of it. Remember, just because someone is female doesn't mean they have to be feminine. I'd really love to see a lady Hylian destroying evil with the same fierceness, determination and courage as all the male Links she succeeds. Nintendo revolutionised the female protagonist in video games with Metroid, so who better to carry out this idea? In my opinion, it would just be a very interesting, fun and refreshing change–I always play as a woman at most opportunities I get, because I'm already exposed to male-driven stories and personalities so much.

  • Chris Byerly

    It is called Legend of Zelda after all, not Legend of Princess Zelda. If they did a gender swap with them it would still center around the royal family, right? I wouldn't be opposed to the idea, given it would to add something refreshing to the series. I think if the team did decide to go in that direction they would handle it in a way that would do the series justice.

  • Tonyborbony

    I'm all in favor of a female character you can play as. But mainly as a support character alongside Link.

  • A

    I'm fine with a female playable character. But a female Link would be a terrible idea, and definitely be a step in the wrong direction.
    In Pokemon and Harvest Moon, a gender choice made sense because the character was YOU. Their personality and role in the story were yours. But with The Legend of Zelda, you're not playing as you, you're playing as Link, who we all acknowledge as a distinct character and person, despite the fact that we play as him. To change him would take away the whole spirit of Zelda; at it's heart it is a Legend, and epic story about a GUY who saves his country and princess. It's not sexist, it's a story, and changing the main character's gender halfway through the story isn't "in favor of gender equality", it's just stupid.
    *Note: I'm saying all this as a girl myself. Never once have I felt discriminated against in this game, and I'm sure the majority of women will agree.*

    • ijuinkun

      I totally agree. Certainly there should be more games that have female player characters who aren't sex objects, but the storyline for The Legend of Zelda and the Link-Zelda dynamic are already established, and trying to change them now would feel forced and gimmicky.

    • Reece

      This isn't about sexism or discrimination. At least, it shouldn't be, and I hope people don't want women in Zelda just for feminist-driven intentions. I'm interested in the idea because I genuinely think it would make for a great game.

      You wouldn't have to play as "yourself", because we're not talking about Skyrim/Mass Effect-style, personalised experiences. It's not just a choice of male or nothing. Why can't there be a story created with a female Link in mind, just as there has been with male Link? The "distinct character" you describe is different in every game, because it's not one person. As I said in a previous comment, the "legend" dictates that a hero shall appear whenever evil rises–not which gender said hero must be.

  • Cassidy

    I’m in favor of a female Link. The only thing that would need to change story-wise is his interaction with female characters. Instead of being romantically inclined towards them, they could just be good friends/ best friends. It really wouldn’t need to change that much. Instead of a boy saving the princess it would be a girl wanting to save the kingdom just as badly and proving that she’s the heroine. ๐Ÿ˜€ I would want to play as a female link, as long as she functioned the same as male Link.
    Heck, her and male Link could meet up and fall in love after a battle against each other or something XD

    • Reece

      I don't think that romance is a particularly important aspect of the series, at least in my opinion. Any romance between Link and any women he meets is purely either implied or vastly exaggerated by fans. To me, Link doesn't save the princess because of love, but because he has a courageous, kind-hearted, pure spirit. So yeah, I agree that there doesn't have to be any romantic side-plot shoehorned into a story centred around a female Link.

      • John

        I don't think you are getting through to them… but at least I feel like I see it your way, but sadly there are too many people set in their ways, the only time anything was ever implied between link and zelda was in skyward sword, and it was very little, but being me I always pretended he had this secret thing with pippit just because I can, thats what everyone else does, they pair link and zelda because they can, with no credible evidence to support it ๐Ÿ˜› That being said have I nice day everyone, I'm done rambling lol

        • Reece

          Well thanks buddy! I'm not trying to get anything through anyone though, because I don't want to force someone to change their opinion. I'm just content in sharing my own, which happens to conflict with a lot of peoples'.

      • im totaly agree with ya ๐Ÿ˜€

    • agree in all that u said, will be interesting have another view of the hylian world behind of a Female Links eyes

  • Abigail

    I'm for the female character but not as a main probably a support character or have both of them onscreen at the same time and you could switch. They could be like the first ever twin boy/girl heroes of juvenile or something

  • Abigail

    Hyrule*

  • Ransom

    I would love a female Link if it were not for Zelda, the love thing would be awkward and I don't want a male Zelda.

  • Jason

    what If the Female lead was like Link's daughter or something that could work

  • LuigiRulz324

    I think if they do make Zelda playable they should add in it slowly like the Peach interludes in the Paper Mario games.

  • felix

    I am not a big fan of the playable Zelda I like the whole damsel in distress aspect of the games… that being said I think you might be able to get away with female link. as long as there is no meet up or romance between the two versions of link. in other words parallel universes.

  • Situations

    I don't like this idea…I'm to used to male Link. However it would be cool if there was like a spin-off game where you could do stuff as Zelda.

  • RPH1

    I would much rather play as Zelda than female Link. I don't think Link should be a girl. If it was Link's daughter, she should have a different name. I would like to play as a Link that is older than a teenager.

  • Blahah42

    The idea of having Zelda’s timeline when Link is in THe Scared World is a very good idea, as during those seven years, There is nothing happening, and those seven years go by as seven seconds! This is an opportunity that Nintendo is missing. And the “female main character” dispute has been going on for a while. Nintendo proves that they listen to their fans, as with the remake of Ocarina. Maybe, like with project Rainfall and Moonfall(which is still trying to work), we can make another fan-based project for Nintendo.

  • Joel

    The very fact that almost every game has a new reincarnation of each character is justification enough for almost any different incarnation of each character that one could consider. It's in no way outside the realm of possibilities for Link to be born female, or Zelda a male, or Ganon a horse. Granted: the game mechanics are something one would have to consider, but at its core idea, it poses no problem with continuity.

    That said, while I have no issues with a female Link, that wouldn't really change the game enough to be much more interesting. I think the most interesting idea I've ever come across is what Aaron Diaz posted on his Tumblr page over here:
    http://dresdencodak.tumblr.com/post/47724463171/i

  • Vladislak

    I'd have to say that I'm not particularly fond of the female Link idea. I mean why does having a female lead require gender-swaping existing characters (I realize there are many Link's, but they functionally have the same persona).

    It seems kind of silly to me. Especially since Zelda already a well established character in the franchise who seems more than capable of serving as strong female lead. She been placed in increasingly active roles as the games go on and I've enjoyed it. So Zelda would definitely get my vote here.

  • luigixhero

    … just play bs-x zelda and play as the pink haired female hero of light ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Navi

    As fun as it would be, wearing Link’s tunic and sock cap, I must say no; Ladies, please dont. People already make fun of him and call him girlish for the earrings, the little hop he does in TP when ever he wants to put on/ take off his iron boots, the tunic (which is often called a dress or nightgown) and not to mention all the yaoi pairings…
    And Honestly, I get alittle disappointed when I find a really good link cosplay and find out its a girl, its like when anime fans found out Naruto and Goku where voice acted by girls. Come on, Stick to Zelda, Ruto or Malon, give the boys Link.

  • Kitsune

    I think the skyward sword hero mode was an excellent chance to do a gender swap. Hero mode is not cannon, so that removes one of the arguments. In hero mode the monsters are stronger, but that can easily be attributed to you being weaker. As a girl gamer I do tend to use female characters whenever possible, it would just be a plus that defeating the game as a girl would be the higher accomplishment.

    • Kitsune

      I just realized I spelled "canon" wrong…

  • four. The cuts are so enormous, they are going to be catastrophic.
    ?????? ??? http://www.cheersport.net/templates/goose-13-shop.html

  • allen hileman

    dont

  • Lexi Noel

    This is just asinine. I was a young girl when ocarina came out and I never had an issue with Link being male. As a child, i never needed validation of who I was through a video game character. I was truly a fan of the game and of the story. I liked it the way it was and still do as an adult. Not everything needs to be gender neutral…Link should be able to be who he is without such a silly request of change.