To voice act or not to voice act, that is the question.

And a topic nearly as hotly debated as the Zelda timeline–amongst the fans, that is. Though seemingly not within Nintendo itself, as in a recent inverview by Nintendo Power, producer Eiji Aonuma said that there will certainly not be voice acting in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, because Link not speaking is “part of the series’ history. It would break the image of Link to have him speak.” He went on to explain that none of the other characters should speak if Link is silent because it would be an “off mixture.” This seems to hint at the fact that there probably will never be voice acting within a Zelda game. At least not with Aonuma at the helm.

“But why?” lament many a Zelda fan. With nearly every other major videogame franchise giving in to voice acting, what’s holding Nintendo back? Well, we can only speculate, but what follows is a list of some chief concerns which surely cross the minds of Mr. Aonuma and Mr. Miyamoto.

The Strong Silent Type

Ever silent.

Since his inception Link was intended to be an avatar for the player. His very name clearly indicates this, but even more so does the fact that you can change his name to your own. With characters within the game referring to you by your own name, Nintendo hopes that you feel as if it is you galloping across the rolling plains of Hyrule and righting wrongs, not some in-story character.

It can however be argued that as of late this precept has been tarnished a bit by the elaborate cutscenes over which the player seldom has any control, thereby causing a bit of a disconnect when Link chooses an action or reaction that the player has no control over, and would not necessarily have so done had they been in control of the character.

Regardless, Nintendo has made clear its intent: you are Link. For this reason, we will certainly never hear Link speak more than a few grunts and war cries and gasps.

Voice “Talent”

When listening goes wrong.

Perhaps I’m just playing the wrong games, but I have never played a single game which contained voice acting that was what I’d consider “good.” Nearly all, in fact, I would deem “horrible” but I have played a few games where the voice acting was “okay.” There’s usually at least one or two awful voice actors that destroy the whole experience.

Maybe that’s just my acting background leading to an expecting of  higher standards, but it seems that the voice acting invariably ruins the gaming experience for me. Even high profile games with supposedly great casts (Tales of Symphonia) caused quite a few giggles at the sheer awfulness of the voice “talent.” And these giggles ruin what could have otherwise been a moving experience. Dawn of Mana, while not widely respected for its gameplay, is renowned for its story, music, and voice acting. And while the voice acting was mostly okay, there were several voices that utterly wrecked the game.

Even casts of A and B-list celebrities are not without fault. Take the Legend of Spyro trilogy. The titular character voiced by Elijah Wood is pitch perfect. Yet every time he speaks, one can only imagine a curly haired little shorty, not the intended purple dragon. Whether this is only because the story in the Legend of Spyro games feels like it’s trying to ape The Lord of the Rings, or simply because the wonderful Elijah Wood makes no attempt at creating a completely different voice from his own, the comparisons cannot be avoided. And don’t even get me started on how awful David Spade (and then Wayne Bradey) was in portraying the trusty sidekick Sparx the Dragonfly. Add to that account the bland supporting cast (including an actor who tries his best to copy Sir Ian MacKellan’s Gandolf to compound the Elijah Wood situation) and you have a series that would frankly had been better off not wasting all that money on A-list talent.

Which brings us to. . .

Money Makes the World Go ‘Round

Low-budget "talent"

Hiring voice talent isn’t that expensive in the long run and I highly doubt the money has much to do with it. However, it is surely a factor. When you take into consideration that Nintendo would want top notch talent for their beloved baby that is the Zelda series, with higher list talent comes higher salaries to be paid to them.

And while Charles Martinet (voice of Mario) isn’t exactly an A-list celebrity, neither does Mario do a great deal of talking. The Mario games are far more cartoon-ish and not to be taken as seriously as the Zelda series. Imagine Princess Zelda with a speaking voice like that of Peach. Laughable. Charles Martinet has even put forward that he would love to voice the character of Link someday, but for him that will remain only a pipe dream.

Operation of Time

"Leithscéaaaaaaaaaaal go maith dom, Banphrionsa!"

Besides the large budget of hiring expensive voice actors, we must also take into consideration that unlike the Mario games, a Zelda game with voice acting would have to be localized for every language it which it would appear. Mario retains its English voice acting for Japan and the rest of the world because of how very little dialogue there is. Zelda, on the other hand, would certainly need at least a Japanese cast as well as a North American cast, not to mention a separate cast for Spanish and French and German and so on. Attempting to ensure that all of these separate casts’ voice acting is top notch Nintendo-quality when the Zelda team themselves really only speak Japanese would be difficult if not impossible.

Unless the voice acting occurred only within cutscenes and the cutscenes were finalized at the beginning of development rather than at the end, this would in turn cause the already-long development time to expand to an even longer delay. But we know that at least this time around, work on Skyward Sword‘s cutscenes have only recently begun. In a German interview Mr. Miyamoto said that this time around they focused entirely on the gameplay first and saved work for the cutscenes until after they’d had that finalized.

Do you really want to wait any longer for your next Zelda game just for the added “benefit” of voice acting?

All of the Above

Whether it is one or more (or all) of the listed reasons above, Nintendo has surely thought long and hard about voice acting in Zelda, and they seem pretty resolute on their decision: we will not be hearing the dulcet tones of our Princess Zelda any time soon. And probably not ever.

To some of us, this is a godsend, because we’ve experienced far too many otherwise enjoyable games ruined by terrible voice acting. To others of us, this is frustrating beyond belief because we want Zelda to be taken as seriously as all those other franchises out there with voice acting. And to still others, who cares? Let’s get back to debating the timeline!

Related Topics
  • mrnjlw1090

    The first Nintendo game that I played that I thought had decent voice acting was Metroid Prime 3. Even though I was surprised that all the characters had a voice, I was disappointed that Samus was still left without one. It kind of gave the game a "left out" feeling, and I suppose that would make some people feel the same way about the Zelda series if suddenly everyone had a voice, and Link was left to grunt, sigh, and cry like Samus had been.


    hey man its boring to read while playing it would be 100 times cooler with voice acting…

    • Chad

      But Reading adds depth to the game and presents it as it is a series of Legends it wouldn't be much of a legend if everyone had a voice. This way it's like how legends are usually presented .They are read aloud like a story book.

      • Nick

        …you just contradicted yourself.

        "read aloud"

        stories used to be spoken, like you said. homer's epics were passed on by word of mouth.

        no one went to shakespeare's plays and read each character's dialogue in speech bubbles over their heads. the actors spoke them! did the fact that the characters have voices ruin the experience? i think not.

    • Robert

      Many people just dont realise how much voice acting would change a Zelda game. I prefer reading.

    • 209116032

      I hate how everyone voted your comment down just because you have a different opinion. What the hell is wrong with you guys?

      • Generally people vote down comments that they disagree with and vote up comments that they agree with. It isn't really personal. : P

        Though it's horribly ironic that your comment is now being voted down. <_< Here's, have a thumbs up!

    • Hellfire

      What if you hear wrong?

      • lootic

        adding a thumbs down only for the lulz, XD

    • E310

      go eat a boner you zelda noob.

    • cnn

      wow, so you mean your such a gimp you cant even read? you shouldnt be alive.

    • ssen

      BOO you GAY MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • bushes283

    If you wan't a game with great voice acting try Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 1&2, there's never been a moment in any of those games where I've thought "what an awful voice." Bioware is great with making sure the voice acting is top notch.

    Besides the games you've mentioned are all jrpg's (other than Spyro.) So it's practically a given they'll have those annoying high pitched voice actors for the "perky girl" archetype present in nearly every jrpg.

    • moonlitsky262

      yes, but, even if it didnt bug you specifically, it probably would piss off alot of hard core zelda fans. and sure its pissing off different, more open to new HC zelda fans, but, nintendo has always done that, and either way they dissapoint, so, since it has been like this since the start and nintendo already KNOWS that their fans will back them up without voice acting then they dont want to take a chance that might ruin everything. it would be a loss if link didnt talk, and i never want to re-experience the zelda cartoon again. and with the fact that they are getting better with you feeling like you are link with the wii motion plus, so why give a voice that might even dissapoint ppl who want a voice, because we all interpret charecters differently, and they cant make a voice to suit how everyone imagined zelda or navi or midna whoever to sound. therefore, staying like this is indeed the smarter way to go for zelda overall.

    • Chad

      Just because those games aren't ruined doesn't mean that Zelda won't be. For us who have played almost everygame in the series several times over a voice acted game would ruin it some may not think that it will but how it sounds will shock them and they will hate it. Those two games you mentioned only have 2 or 3 games in the series and people most likely didn't grow up playing it. So the first time they put voice acting it probably didn't surprise the fans but since zelda has 15 games it will surprise us and ruin the game series we love.

    • Hylian99

      I actually thought that, while the voice acting in most of Mass Effect was very good, Commander Shepard's (male) voice of all people was not done very well. He speaks very blandly and has this weird cardboard-cutout quality that makes him kind of annoying to listen to. I think this was done in order to make him more of an AVATAR TO THE PLAYER, *cough cough*, since you create Commander Shepard and control what he says, but to me it just served to make him sound weird.

    • Shadowknight1

      You can't bring up Dragon Age: Origins. You are FORBIDDEN. Why? YOUR CHARACTER DOESN'T SPEAK!

  • I agree that giving our protagonist a voice would shatter the Link image and the entire series. Voice qualities in all variant languages, would be nigh impossible to work out. But to hear Charles Martinet, who is an amazing vocalist (Mario's voice), would actually be pretty interesting to see, or hear.

    And Bastian, The Legend of Spyro is exactly what I was thinking when you compared voice acting in other games. But, in a little bit of contrast to what you have to say, Elijah Wood fit the character perfectly, for me. I didn't see the curly-haired "shorty" (XD); I saw a purple dragon struggling to accept his destiny. This is what made the trilogy a tattoo on my heart.

    • As far as Sparx goes, he was best portrayed by David Spade.
      (Oh, Bastian, Billy West also voiced this witty dragonfly, in the second installment, Eternal Night; just sayin').

      And the trilogy beats its previous titles, such as Spyro: A Hero's Tail, or at least, again for me. That games character was a bit too kiddish for my liking. I hate to admit this, but it reminded me of Link from OoT when he discovered a new song; just staring at the ocarina.

      One more thing…does anyone know if they're going to release another Legend of Spyro this year? I was recently checking Elijah Wood's bio on IMDB and found a LoS set for 2010, but I can't find it anywhere on the internet.

      • Guest

        I…thought this was ZeldaUniverse….

        Not SpyroUniverse…

        Honestly though, I think the most voice acting Zelda should ever have in a game equals Midna's gibberish. It was a nice extra that the game would feel empty without, and yet it won't carry on to the other games.

        Midna's like Sheik, I think. Love 'em or hate 'em, we've only got them for the one game, and that goes for any voice acting they had as well.

        • I understand that. Since this article centered on voice acting, and Bastian mentioned the Legend of Spyro in it, I figured that I might elaborate for the people who didn't know about it.

        • moonlitsjy262

          not to mention that the gibberish they sometimes speak could very well just be voice acting and they are showing that they are speaking the hylian language.

    • Ted

      I agree with you, but they need to have really good voice actors haha, if they have an awful voice actor for link that would totally "shatter link's image"

      • MoonLitSky262

        Not to mention the fact then i never want to re-experience the zelda cartoon again.
        -_- and link reminds me of a 40 year old virgin prostitute in that stupid cartoon
        Oh boy! time for a kiss.
        Zelda looks like she is 20 and he looks twice her age.

  • freedom410

    I agree that Metroid Prime 3 has pretty good voice acting, although there were a few moments that struck me as odd (Admiral Danes' voice for example). Metroid: Other M has full voice acting, including for Samus. From what I've heard on the trailers thus far, it sounds pretty good. On the other hand, I think there's only dialogue during cutscenes. In Zelda, you have to interact with a lot of other characters (think of Hyrule Castle in TP!), so it would be infinitely more complex and require far more voice talent than even Metroid.

  • I rather stick to reading the text on the game because that way I can imagine the characters talking in my imagination rather than a silly celebrity ruining the game with their terrible voice acting.

    • GorCoronSumo

      And your name is "Voice Acting"?

  • LoverOfLegends

    Lol wow i never thought i would read about Spyro on a Zelda site… In my opinion, Spyro had great voice acting, and every time i hear Elijah Wood, i see Spyro, not him. I understand what you mean about the Gandalf-mimicking. The Chronicler even surprised my brother. He walked in, and was like, "Are you watching the Lord of the Rings?". But i think all the voice acting for that game was wonderful, it is my second favorite video game series. Personally, i prefer The Legend of Spyro as to Spyro, not just because of improved graphics, but the voice acting and storyline are much more visable and more touching.

    • Oh man, I tried to pinpoint who Bastian mentioned as the "Gandalf-mimic". I figured it might of been Ignitus, but Gary Oldman was a bit more "Harry Potterish" to me (maybe because he was in it?). Anyway, I also think of Elijah Wood as Spyro over Frodo when hear his name. Don't get me wrong: I love The Lord of the Rings far more than the Legend of Spyro. 😉

  • WDD

    What do you mean there aren't any games with great voice acting? Two words: Metal Gear.

    • Like I said, maybe I haven't played the games that actually have great voice acting. And I haven't played Metal Gear; it doesn't interest me.

      • linkdude101

        High Five!

        • Couldn't agree more, the entire voice acting cast for the Metal Gear series is fantastic (my favorite being David Haytar, a.k.a. Snake).

          But as for this whole voice acting debate, I think it'd be interesting if Nintendo tried giving everyone else a voice EXCEPT Link. It worked pretty well for games like Knights of the Old Republic, but if they decided to try that method it'd also be cool, like KOTOR, if you could choose your own responses. Even if it didn't end up working well, it'd be an interesting experiment. Personally, I'm not too upset that Nintendo's choosing to keep the silent approach for Skyward Sword. It's nice to keep a small mix of nostalgia in such a beloved series!

  • personally, I think the the tune that plays when you scroll through what people are saying adds to the charm and character of the zelda games. Wouldn't be the same without it.

  • cuju


  • KingOfHeart

    Well if they're not going to have voice acting, I hope they add in more questions we can ask during the game. It's one way that we the player can give Link a personality that relates to us.

    In Twilight Princess we could answer the question of which sister is the cutest.
    We need more things like this.

    • freedom410

      The one running the fishing pond was obviously cuter.

  • patrolmicro

    Ive been saying these exact things for years. NO VOICE ACTING. Thats it. No other argument ever needs to be made, and the debate is over. Not only is Nintendo not going to do it (from their own mouths), but this article sums up all the reasons why it wouldnt work even if they did want to add it.

    Now yes, everybody get back to debating timeline theories while ignoring the fact that there really is no timeline because Zelda is a made up video game.

    • MLS262

      that was just about the smartest comment i have read about this article so far!
      Every one just shuddap and stop debating it because they clearly wont do it!

      Now back to the imaginary timeline that nintendo thinks we should not know about

    • Chad

      -_- Um they told us there was a master timeline….-_-

    • E310

      whoa,whoa,leave the timeline out of this.

  • Nin10Gamer

    No great voice acting? Ever heard of Metal Gear Solid or Metroid Prime 3: Corruption? Both had excellent voice acting and dialog (especially Metal Gear Solid). Lack of voice acting wouldn't be accepted by other game developers so why should it be accepted here? Sure games like Sonic and Super Mario Sunshine had bad voice acting, but at least they actually attempted to do so. Also, this is an industry standard and has been for over a decade. It's time for Nintendo to get with the times.

    • POOPER


    • Chad

      Ok look it's the *LEGEND* of Zelda and how are Legends told they are usually read or recited not acted out. We don't need another voice acted game if you wan't one of those go pick one up at Gamestop Zelda isn't supposed to have it so go play your Metal Gear Solid and leave this series alone.

    • So because you play voice acting games so much, you can't read? I feel sorry for you…

      • E310

        i know right?

    • Thiefenz

      but Voice acting in Zelda will not work. it shouldn't start simply for the novelty that every other game is doing it. besides, it would completely kill Link's image. I can never imagine him talking.

  • Wise_Keaton

    Now, I know next to nothing about the game, but didn't BS Zelda no Densetsu Inishie no Sekiban have voice acting? I mean, not a whole lot of people got the opportunity to play it compared to today's audience, I'm sure. (Such a shame, I was born too late for that one. I was only three years old when it was released in 1995, and still too young to have fully developed an appreciation for video games when it was rebroadcast two years later. It was only released in Japan anyway. *sigh* ) And I'm honestly not sure of the difference between the Satellaview releases, of which I think there were two… (Don't quote me on it. My sources are giving me mixed messages.) Although I guess technically they're spin off games, because you play as Mascot female or Mascot Male, and not Link.

    • Chad

      No there wasn't any it was like Alttp go type in BS Zelda no Densetsu Inishie no Sekiban walthrough on youtube and you can watch them play it. It's quitwe interesting.

    • Well, it's true that BS Zelda and BS Ancient Stone Tablets had voice acting, but that was preformed live and not recorded, and those games are largely ignored by Zelda fans as they aren't exactly canon. They certainly ARE fun, though!

  • michael12268

    you guys need to play Arc Rise Fantasia. now that game has terrible voice acting! though the voices can be turned off which is a good thing

  • eewww Link from Zelda cartoon is sure ugly after all,can they hire a better painter or something just….fix that!!

    • Yeah, and have you noticed since the first Zelda game the concept art has gotten WAY better?

  • gordon

    Norse by Norse West, a PC remake of The Lost Vikings II, had terrific voice acting.

  • Dude05

    You should play some Lucasarts adventure games for some great voice acting. Monkey Island, Grim Fandango…

    • Monkey Island is certainly funny. . . but it comes off as very cartoon-ish and silly. I don't think that's what we'd want for Zelda.

  • Ted

    I don't think Zelda should ever get voice acting for the reason they mentioned in this article. But It's not like its silent, I mean sometimes they say "hey listen!" or something like that lol.

    • MLS262

      That should be as far as they go with links grunt and him yelling "Come on" (in WW) because we all interpret how he sound differently. if they added voice, then it would probably only satisfy few of the many Z fans. therefore, go with what has always worked.

    • E310

      well, the thing is, it wasent very clear and it was a very small thing he said.

  • pooper

    god,I PRAY thy never use voice acting.

  • mufosta

    Best voice acting is your filmer in the Skate games. He's hilarious

  • I don't think that they should use voice acting in Zelda games. It'll just mess up the series, and I get my daily reading amount from playing Zelda games too. I think that voice acting works in some games (Example: Jak and Daxter, but that didn't work out great), but not in Zelda games, it just doesn't work that way, and I understand all of your points in why Nintendo won't do it. It just wouldn't work.

    • TheLastLink

      Why? IMO the only (substantial) voice acting we have had for the series is Midna
      (And the cdi games, but those dont count for obvious reasons)!
      Which gives me an idea… say, instead of voice acting in English/Japanese,
      what about having voice acting similar to Midna's VA? Sure you couldn't tell what she was saying, but it was a lot more pleasing (for me anyway), and a lot less awkward than watching her mouth move and not hearing anything. also, we would be able to know what Hylian sounds like!

      • I was thinking that, and that is all I think that they should do, however, it would be REALLY annoying to just hear the jibber jabber of Hylain all day, so I don't think that they should do that either.

  • Majora

    I hope there is no voice acting in Zelda because how would you get a good voice acting for Link what if its a Japanese accent or a really girl voice?

  • LoZymugglegater

    I have to say I definitely agree with Aonuma 100% on this.Voice acting,especially for Link,would I believe destroy the freedom of Zelda.And I SO don't lament for its non-inclusion in SS and rejoice that,at least as long as Aonuma's at the helm I won't have to worry about anyone busting it like that.

  • hero of twilight

    the spyro trilogy has really good voice acting except for sparx in the 1st and 3rd games but thats one character and all the others suit their voices ,

    • Right, but my point is even with A-list celebs, Sparx in all three games was terrible (and, hey, I love me some Billy West! But his Sparx wasn't much better than the awful David Spades or Wayne Bradey versions) and that one single terribly voiced character takes me out of the game and thereby shatters the experience.

      Not only that, but I found The Chronicler, while well acted, to sound (intentionally) exactly like Ian McKellan's Gandolf, which when coupled with Elijah Wood as Sypro . . . just sounded like a cheesy LotR ripoff. And several of the the background characters were pretty awful.

      Elijah Woods and Gary Oldman were not enough to counter-balance all the other awfulness.

      • Nick

        Play Batman: Arkham Asylum and then re-write this article. You've obviously been playing the wrong games

        • You want me to play a Batman game? I'm sorry, but that's not gonna happen. 😀

  • Tales games usually have pretty good voice acting, but TOS2’s sequel was a bit disappointing. The game I’ve played with the worst voice acting? Baten Kaitos. I never knew about Charles Martinet wanting to play Link…It’s hard to imagine…And is the “pipe dream” an intentional pun? 😛
    But I’m against voice acting in the Zelda series and I agree with every point you’ve made.

    • "And is the 'pipe dream' an intentional pun?"
      Did you even need to ask? 😛

      As for the Tales games . . . the only one I played was Tales of Symphonia, and it sounded like a cheesy cartoon to me. Very cliche anime, in my opinion. I had to turn the voices off.

      • Hmm…Yeah, it is very anime-y, but I think that the voices were pretty well done. I'm pretty sure that it was one of my first games with voice acting in it though so maybe I have some sort of attachment because of that too. The thing about voice acting is that everyone has their different voices imagined in their heads, so no one will be satisfied when they hear the decided voices for any game. It's like that with every aspect in life though, so I really am glad that voices are a definite no in the Zelda series.

  • Cukeman

    Voice acting is overrated, usually it sucks like in Sonic or the new Kid Icarus, great voice acting like in Viewtiful Joe or Resident Evil 4 is few and far between. If you want Zelda with voice overs, just play the cd-i games. They tried it in Metroid Prime 3, and it was just acceptable, not great.

  • GamerRob1

    Yeah I would have Nintendo stick with Text in Zelda. No Zelda game has had voice acting and it never will. If they did it would just be too much of a dramatic change. Especially having Link talk would ruin the game since he is silent. Having other characters talk in voice acting would still simply ruin the game. Text does indeed add depth to the game and makes the game easier to follow and more enjoyable.

    • Nick

      How does it add depth? People keep saying that but I have yet to understand.

  • linkdude101

    Metal Gear sucks…

  • linkdude101

    No one's mentioned Final Fantasy yet? Wow.

    • TheMaverickk

      By most critics standards Final Fantasy's voice acting is subpar… originally FFX was considered to be good but over time people noted it for being pretty poor. Since then FFXII and FFXIII have fallen in the same frame… I've yet to personally even be impressed.

      I enjoyed Tales of Symphonia, which had some decent moments in voice acting, but seriously it didn't matter as I was just as happy to read text bubbles.

      • Nick

        Who considers FFX as having poor voice acting? The only complaints that I've heard is that Tidus is whiny.

        Also, FFVII: Advent Children has incredible voice acting. It isn't a video game, but it is a sequel to one.

  • Vic George

    I'd love there to be a Dramatic Audio Presentation of the Legend of Zelda series games like Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, The Wind Waker, or Twilight Princess if Nintendo isn't too chicken-hearted to allow such a thing to happen. If they want to help broaden the appeal of the series without destroying its integrity, they will need to bite the bullet and take some risks.

  • Skorpious

    I disagree with the authors view on voice-acting in games being "horrible". While I cannot argue with an opinion, there are plenty of games with absolutely amazing voice-acting such as Bioware's Mass Effect series.

    Mass Effect is but one example – Red Dead Redemption, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Dragon Age: Origins, and even ancient classics such as the Longest Journey feature phenomenal VO's.

    While fully voiced characters may not mesh well with the Zelda series, one cannot ignore how far/accomplished voice-acting has come in the industry.

  • Bob Warner

    okay this shitty site is gay. Get on http://forums.the-bell-tree and troll it.

    • Bob Warner
      • 0.o I hope you were apologizing for that obscene phrase above, because some of us happen to like this site.

    • David

      How does an article about voice acting make a website homosexual?

  • Isabela

    Sincerely, I prefer no voice acting because by hearing the characters "talk" (by text), I can imagine what are they talking. Plus, I don't why xD but I prefer the silent classic Link :3

  • matt17

    I hope they don't make link talk in the game via text. link should never talk, neither voice acting or text

  • David

    Is Bastian Irish? As far as I know they don't teach Gaeilge anywhere bar Ireland seeing as we're too bloody patriotic! Or were you just using Google translate?

  • David

    Lol! Maybe being over patriotic isn't too bad after all!

  • 209116032

    Ugh…. One day there will be voice-acting and I refuse to believe otherwise. If you see the current trend in video games it is quite obvious that in the near-future every major console game will have some degree of voice-acting. Nintendo is occupied with quality and gameplay and I certainly do understand that, however, their Zelda games will begin to appear increasingly dated due to their lack of voice-acting. I don't care if this seems shallow; it's just what's going to happen if they don't incorporate it in anytime soon. I agree with the point that Link should remain silent because that doesn't really bother me all too much. I don't believe that having the other characters talk will throw off the mixture in any way, as long as there is an explanation provided as to why Link is mute. It's not a very complicated problem. I just think Nintendo is conservative, really.

    • TheMaverickk

      Actually voice acting isn't necessary or dating. Anything from the past can be brought into the future. It's about style and practice. Quality in a video game has little to do with voice acting… who plays a video game and remember how great it was voice acted. Video games are about game play and always will be… the day it stops being about game play will be a dark day indeed.

      In any case though not everything needs to be turned into a Hollywood-esque movie. That's what video games today are sadly becoming… not that it means that it's bad, but some developers are trying so hard to make video games an "art form" despite the fact that they already were…. before they started getting fancy with things like voice acting and fancy camera pans and cinematic sequences.

      In reality they developers are just turning video games into some form of interactive films… as opposed to simply being video games.

      Video games can be great whether or not they use text or voice acting… or whether they are an FPS, or a puzzle game…. the only time anything becomes passe or outdated is when people claim it is and enforce it. Lets face it old things come back into being trendy and cool all the time, and then they are new again. It's like how retro fashion became cool again at the start of the new millennium as an example.

      Or how music and movies even began reincorporating lo-fi sounds and style. Even if text in video games becomes somewhat "out dated" it will likely come back into style eventually. Heck in the end some of us will never find it dated.

  • Derp

    I've actually warmed up to the idea of voice acting. I've always been against it but I think it could add a lot to the series, as long as it's done well.

  • Says the Lurker

    Voice acting wouldn't work for me, because they wouldn't do Link's voice as the semi-British voice I always do for him 🙂 Don't ask me why it's British, I have no idea myself.

    But yeah, no voice acting plz

    • Nick

      I don't think Link should have a voice either, and I really don't think anyone wants him to speak. It's all of the other characters that need to have voices

      • Says the Lurker

        But then it would just be awkward…everyone speaking except your character?? No thanks.

  • N&Z13

    If you were to ask my dad he would say that voiceacting is completly stupid, becouse he think that there's already to much text. The amount in the first Zelda is about enough. But that would'nt work.

    • Skorpious

      I'm confused – you're dad thinks voiced characters are stupid because there is too much text? That doesn't make much sense. =p

  • Nick

    I take several issues with this article.

    First: You've never played a game with good voice acting? You must not play many games. I frequently mention Dragon Quest VIII in these comments because I enjoyed the voice acting and the main character never speaks (but others have disagreed with me). The Halo series would be another close example since I've never taken issue with the voices there and Master Chief doesn't speak much. Also, if you want to play a game with great (almost impeccable) voice talent, play Batman: Arkham Asylum. It is truly an incredible experience.

    Second: How does one bad voice ruin a whole experience? I feel like you're nitpicking and trying to find something about voice acting to complain about. That's like saying you hate OoT because of Navi. Did she really ruin that whole experience? I think the large majority of people would say she annoyed them but didn't negatively impact the experience.

    Third: You chose a game (Spyro) that you knew for having bad (though some might disagree) voice acting. However, Elijah Wood is not a voice actor. I'll link you to wikipedia for some info about this (listen to the sound clip with Billy West). Also, I'm sure you've played a different game with similar star power that no one complains about. That game: Kingdom Hearts. I think the voice acting from that game is a major part of why I enjoyed it so much.

  • Zaros

    i personally dont care at all but…. c'mon it would be better to read him say "yes" rather to see him give nod acting pretty dumb, its exactly the same, we would have said "yes" too. in the end the effect is the same theres no contradiction in us being link.
    Now that im on it i think it wouldnt be too hard to make him be a silent character, not interfering with the players thoughts but at the same time making him have a lil more of interaction with the rest of his (-our-) world

  • Yoey

    I found it really strange in the crash bandicoot games where every one but crash spoke

  • M

    Wow, I love how people with no lives debate on non existant voicr acting. Whatever happens in the series, HAPPENS. Just chill out.

  • kfir

    one word:
    hylian !

  • Shadow

    Hey, here's another one to add to the list. Some people simply dislike some accents and find it difficult to relate to them. Then there's the use of colloquialisms that may only be relevent to specific regions (and will perhaps make the game appear very dated in the future). For want of a better example, 'awesome' is a very American word that isn't used quite so frequently elsewhere. After all, why should all English speaking regions use North American voice actors.

    Nintendo is right to keep the games easy to personally relate to, and they are achieving this well by avoiding all kinds of elements with regional variations.

  • Aleksandar

    They shoud´ve done voice acting earlier, now it seems too late, especially since everyone is used in Links "silentness".

    Okay it worked in Metroid Prime: Corruption where everyone besides Samus talked, but that doesen´t mean it´s gonna work for Zelda too.

  • Axapez

    In response to a lack of good voice acting, I have a bit to chime in; Metroid Prime 3 did voice acting exceptionally well, with authentic sounding computer voices emitting from areas, even being obscured by gunshots or other stuff. The Metal Gear Solid series also did amazing.

  • Graupner

    it could be cool, if people talk in zelda series, but i would be afraid, if skyward sword have voice acting, what about link voice sounds like idiot, the hole game became rubbish. so i'm thanking all, that there are no voice acting in zeldas.

  • Deano

    the day they put voice acting in zelda is the day i stop playing the games.

    Video games seem to be suffering an identity crisis, people seem to be labouring under the misguided asumption that games need to become more "cinema like" in order to be considered contemporary.

    I do not agree with that. Games are there own medium, Zelda is one of the few consistant shining examples of what that medium is capable of.

    Voice acting not only takes away from the gamers imagination but also can have overtones of cultural imperialism which can segregate gamers.

    I would not in a million years swap a roster of top hollywood voice actors for the infinatley charming and wonderfully mystical umming and ahhing of the magic bean salesman.

  • Slixxer

    OMG SHUT UP the ppl who say zelda needs voice acting i mean really giving Link a voice would put an end to the Silent Hero thing that he has going on though the game implies that he speaks at time. What im saying is that if Nintendo gave Link a voice it would destroy a part of who he is and thus I doubt they would make that sacrifice.


    The idea that voice could never be realistically done or would "destroy" the series is nonsense. It is simply nostalgic, antiquated nonsense. The idea that it can't change because "that is how it always been" is a simple resistance to change. Some of you even say that you would never play another Zelda game because of the change.

    Truthfully, it could easily be done. An increase in budget would be required, but to say a company like Nintendo couldn't acquire a quality staff in multiple languages is absurd. It would not be a detraction once the shock wore off from staunch followers. Contrarily it likely increase the emotional depth of the game and, thus, the immersive quality of it.

  • Millisar-san

    Ok yeah I admit im interested but still…It just looks AND sounds weird in my imagination….=_=

  • Joko tree

    I believe link should take an oath of silence but he should be able to grunt and scream.



  • 1xCloudStrifex1

    this is what i've been saying for years everytime some says nintendo "needs" to put in voice work and get with the times. they act all disappointed and some of these people are reviewers from big website names like IGN. these people are obivously not true zelda fans because the true ones know, for a fact, that voices would ruin the series. thank you nintendo for setting things straight with the people that want voice work. pretty much, if they made a zelda game with voices, that would be the end of the series for me. i would not buy that game and future voice work zeldas…i would only keep the classic close to my heart and replay them a bunch like i already do now 🙂

    • No.1 Zelda Fan

      the most brilliant post i've seen all day and pretty much sums up this whole article what to do if they added voices 🙂
      thx, you made my day

  • sk8on9876

    Picture Link talking now and tell me, would his voice be the way you imagined it all these years? What if you hate his voice nintendo gave him? The whole game would suck, no, Link doesnt need a voice. Maybe the other characters could get one, but never Link.

  • TDB

    The reasons above as to why Nintendo won't do voices are not great reasons. The author even said so. There is no great, definitive reason why Nintendo cannot at least try it out on a game. Maybe remake an older one with voices, or something.They have the money, the time, and the resources to do so. So maybe it would take longer, so what? We wouldnt know it was coming out at all if they didnt tell us anyway. I would be very interested to see a Zelda with voice acting. Reading dialogue in a video game in 2011 makes the game seem old and outdated no matter how new it really is.

    • sgtoath

      I have been a Nintendo fan since the days of SNES [I was way too young for NES], but playing a new Nintendo game that is formulated almost the same way as when I was a kid takes me back my childhood. Very few games now a days take a person back to their childhood and I'm glad Nintendo can still do that for me. Zelda doens't need voice acting, not now not ever!

  • Drummerboy

    I've been playing Zelda my whole life, and I have never heard Link say a word, unless you count his occasional grunts. In fact, they never even have text for Link that I remember. Link has always been silent. If that changed,k it wouldn't be Link

  • Vaati0609

    I am a huge Zelda fan, and to be honest I think that voice acting could be a welcomed addition to the franchise. I hardly think that voice acting would ruin the series, in fact, I think it would help the series by expanding on the storytelling and emotion that the text just cannot hold. Creating more feeling and depth within a character and ending up sympathizing or hating that character (depending if he's good or evil). I think that Nintendo should at least try it once.


    Voice acting in a Legend of Zelda game? That would be plain incorrect by definition.
    And for those who believe the series should acquire vocal performance simply to "compete with other games, such as 'Metal Gear' or 'Grand Theft Auto'", are you implying that these games even come close to holding a candle to the Legend of Zelda series?

    Legend of Zelda is the single greatest video game series of all time; with each installment being much more than just a game. Literally works of art. Why on earth would anyone want it to resemble other games lol

    • sgtoath

      Completely agree!

  • LycanWhite

    If they did add voice acting to the Zelda series (which I am kind of glad they just keep all "voice" sounds to grunts, groans, and the Great Fairies' laughter, it lets me read stuff out in my own voices for the characters), I think they would have to handle Link's muteness like Chell's in Portal and Portal 2. Actively establish that he's mute, and have at least one or two characters mock him for it (20 points if it's Gannon!).

  • Viktor Burke

    I think that if FIN helped you could definitely beast it up with voice acting:) Fire Emblem is a huge game with GameCube which is a NINTENDO product. If you can have voice acting that good in Fire Emblem, I did some research and in some countries it is more popular than Zelda, I believe that NINTENDO can have voice acting… and you say "silent and deadly is a Link tradition" well it was the same way with Fire Emblem until they got to Ike.. at least give Link some kind of voice and screaming like a child when he gets hit DOES NOT COUNT

  • Viktor Burke

    I think you can have voice acting… you already have people grunt and scream like idiots just use those people for the voice acting but only in cutscenes

  • I dont know why the companies cant cast 'good voice overs', done right, it would enhance the game. And it need not be 'celebrities'. There are many voice actors our there such as myself that could do it. But maybe it might spoil the 'charm' of the games 😉

  • Situations

    I agree, voice acting should not go further than a very few sounds or words, but for Link, I don't think voice acting should even go past the sounds he makes when swinging his sword….

  • you always bring us fresh and awesome, I like what you bring and I will share with my friends know about you