A couple of weeks ago, Melpomene made a video discussing the idea of a female Link in Zelda. The answer from fans was largely a “no”, but looking at the reasons, amongst them were several that I just couldn’t agree with, from reasons of just straight-up 1950’s sexism (“GIRLS CAN’T SAVE PEOPLE THAT’S WHAT MEN DO”) to other arguments like “but that would be like changing Mario or Samus” or “but that means male Zelda!” that I just find incorrect or irrelevant on other grounds.

Hit the jump for my video, where I rebut some of the above arguments and give some reasons why I feel that a female Link (or a female option Mass Effect style) wouldn’t be the dramatic negative change that people are suggesting.

For those unable to watch a video at the moment here’s some basic bulletpoints:

– Link is not a single “character” to be changed – he is as of the time of writing approximately 12 characters (with some debate over how many Links Four Swords count as). Each Link is a different age, has a different hair colour, has different body proportions, etc. The only thing linking (ohoho) them together is the tunic and the call to save the world. On top of that, many fans argue that Link is not a full “character” but a link to the player, in which case an option would help more players “link” to the game. In that case, a female option would be no more controversial than the female option for Pokemon game protagonists.

– It doesn’t mean Male Zelda at all – that’s kind of completely unrelated. The Legend of Zelda is not a series about relationships and for the most part Nintendo tend to go out of their way to keep Link out of them. A change to the main character doesn’t affect the other characters at all – it’s a world-saving adventure, not a half dating-sim where you need to select a wife to take back to Ordon Ranch. There is a game series like that, but it’s called Harvest Moon, and even it lets you select gender as of the last few console generations.

– Of course women can be heroes. I don’t even have much to say about that line of argument except that it is about 60 years out of date.

It’s a fairly unexplored field of discussion, so discussion is welcome!

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  • Dodongo

    It’s not really a matter of gender, but for those who truly have a love for The Legend of Zelda series it’s nostalgia. We know who Link is. We knew him since he picked up his first sword and although he went through multiple physical changes he is still the same in our hearts. Changing Link to a female just wouldn’t be the right move for Nintendo. It would would shock a lot of The Legend of Zelda fans. I’m not being sexist at all here just out of my love for what Link has been in my mind for these 25 years it wouldn’t match up.

    • Sandra

      I'm female and I feel the same way you do. The only thing I'd accept is that Link is King and has a little Princess as a daughter
      (maybe she isn't even brave like her father, would be fun, or she has to fight ganondorf because she is the "good side" of the one who can "wear" the Triforce of Power…or so).

      —> But let Link stay Link please!

      If nothing new comes to Nintendos mind then they should end it (please don't be angry, but I loved Ocarina of time, it was perfect. The new game reminds me of mixtures of various anime and I don't like it. Better stop.)

      • Rob Silicano

        I feel like this idea where Link is King, if "done right", could make for a really interesting spin-off! To mix up the formula a bit, perhaps you start out playing as Link's offspring, who at the sunset of their innocence, was caught in a conflict where a revengeful evil targeted their father and caused him to disappear. In this scenario, I think it would be neat to play as a female protagonist!

        Hell, perhaps Zelda could be Queen Zelda this time… and you happen to play as the descendant of the holders of courage and knowledge respectively. Maybe Link can even be playable himself some point later in the story.

        Again though, the writers would really have to play their cards right on this one… or it would turn out like a crappy fan fiction. I'm no writer and I understand how radical it sounds.

    • Callin

      Yeah, it's the same reason we don't give like other-colored hair and always give him a green tunic. They're what make Link Link. They're a tradition for the series.

      • Cody

        Link does have other-coloured hair though? Sometimes it's pink and sometimes it's blond and sometimes it's brown and sometimes he's an adult and sometimes he's a child and sometimes his head is larger than his body. That's not what makes Link Link.

        • Raiz

          True, but Link still has a relatively consistent look. I mean, none of the games are giving Link black or purple hair, or giving him a red shirt and blue dress pants, or whatever. He still looks like Link in every Zelda game, just like Mario looks like Mario whether he's wearing his regular plumber outfit or decked out as Metal Mario.

  • Mike

    I'm all for it. Why not? Even if it changed a lot of story elements, It would just give you another reason to play through again!

  • Kharg Reed

    I open my mind to the option of playing "The Legend Of Zelda" with a female Link a long time ago.

    Girls can save the world too! Just take a look to Samus…

    I agree with a Zelda game having a female Link.

  • Homero

    Females can save the world… in other video games. Link is fine the way he is, then you would want Mario, Fox and other characters to become girls

    • HyruleWeirdo

      Did you even watch the video?

    • Jquestionmark

      And what if we did want that? Honestly, I miss the good old Mario 2 days where I could play as Peach in a Mario game (in as much as that's a Mario game, but still). Fox is just a pilot whose father was a hero killed by Andross – in what way would it affect his character to be a female? Honestly, Nintendo protagonists tend to be so flat, simple, and almost soulless to the point where changing gender would have no impact. Within most Nintendo settings, gender doesn't matter, so the gender of the protagonist becomes irrelevant.

  • VanitasXII

    Anyone who thinks female Link would ruin the series, you're absolutely wrong. The role Link plays, connecting the player to the game, can be filled by any character regardless of gender or even name. Female Link is entirely possibly and would be a huge boon for the series. It would mean Nintendo actually has to put work into the physics engine of the game. It would attract newcomers and fans alike. Are you people so quick to hate? Did Spirit Tracks and Phantom Hourglass not succeed? Did The Wind Waker not succeed? All three of those games had concepts which claimed would ruin the series…yet they didn't. Did Twilight Princess succeed? The same crazed fanboys who bash games for having good graphics automatically jumped to TP for its realistic graphics. Female Link would likely reach the same reception: amazing reception.

    At best, Nintendo only has to do the following things:
    Change the 3D Link model for a more feminine approach (breasts, eyes, proportion etc)
    Get a female voice actor (we technically already did have one, Fujiko Takimoto, but she played for Young Link)
    Edit the game's physics.

    Done. Story doesn't need to be changed in the slightest of ways (besides putting all He references to She for female Link). There's just no way a small change to a character who essentially is just our avatar can destroy the entire game. It's not giving Link a gun. It's not putting Hyrule in an Old West theme. It's not taking away all physics and forcing the game to be as easy as pressing the A button. It'll be the same ol Legend of Zelda with a female playable character.

  • Clawshot

    Nice idea but no, thanks but no… Probably if in a game they could add a helper-like girl, which you can play with by turns (like when you could play with Kafei, Medli and Makar, but not only in dungeons or for 5 min… more like in 4 swords. but anyway, I think Link must always be in legend of zelda games as a boy/man.. HE is the legend told by Zelda after all, and every Link is a reincarnation of the first Link… isn't it?

    • Jquestionmark

      Reducing an archetype of Courage to gender and saying that it can only be male is a tad on the sexist side if you ask me. Link's legend being told by Zelda is wholly irrelevant to gender. It is a tale of Courage, not a tale of Masculinity,

  • he mentioned pokemon. Why couldn't Nintendo do it that way? Let the player choose at the start of the game whether they want to be a girl or guy. That way it's in the hands of the player. If you want male Link, then be male Link.

  • Deeoh

    It's not that it's wrong to eventually have a female Link, it's just pointless. It wouldn't really serve any purpose and would only upset fans, so why even do it?

  • Hmmm… It'd take away a lot of potential elements while adding very few. In OoT I found it funny that so many female characters had a thing for Link, and in TP there's obviously fondness between Link and Midna, not to mention Link and Ilia. That sort of stuff would be lost in translation. Samus is a woman and I have no problem with that, do many people think there should be a "Sam" in her place…? Why do they think it's necessary in Zelda…?

  • scyen

    Traditions exist only to be replaced, remixed, reworded, reborn. Nintendo has clearly always had lofty aspirations for the series, taking it from a top-down dungeon crawler all the way into three dimensions, breaking free of not only it's most traditional design elements, but innovating in the way we actually play video games. I don't think many people realize what a giant break with tradition the Wii Remote Plus controls are. Miyamoto and Aonuma both stated that the story of Skyward Sword would come secondary to the play mechanics, and I suppose that is the case. But if they're doing so much to break free of Zelda's traditions within our hands, who's to stop them from doing the same within the story itself? Why can't we have a cyber-punk Zelda? Why not a game where, instead of saving Zelda, you're sent to murder her? Why can't Link be a girl, chosen by the gods to save the land of Hyrule, or Termina, or a new nation, a new continent, a new planet? Zelda has always been about exploration. Why build walls with tradition when you can use it to build bridges toward new experiences?

    • I just want to point out that the 2D dungeon crawler wasn't really a tradition for Nintendo, it what the technology at the time limited them to do. If they could've done the Wii Motion Plus sooner, they would have.

      • scyen

        Exactly. These traditions only exist because of previous limitations. The tech has grown to support new play ideas, and the audience has grown to include more than just the 10 – 25 year old male demographic. A white, male Link isn't the standard avatar representation of the gamer anymore.

  • The only problem is that you didn't address the fact that Link's persona has remained the same. Sure the character changes from game to game most of the time, but the feel of the character is the same. I'm not so much against the idea of a female version of Link as I am a change in his persona's identity. A female Link would have to have a different feel to her character than what Link has been up until now. Before you cite Pokemon (in that there's no personality, and thus makes my argument invalid), as you've said Cody, Link has been gaining a personality over the recent characters. He has been given more of a character.
    As for the argument toward making him more of a "link" to other players, that only furthers my point of changing his personality. I'd like to assume that most girls don't enjoy acting like boys or at least gaining their character/personality. In that sense, a female Link would need somewhat of a personality change in order to make her character fit better into the Zelda world.
    In all honesty, I think they should try it at least once. See what the reaction is and then go on from there. Like I said, I'm not against a female Link so much as I'm against a change in his base character. Thus, I can't REALLY choose a side for this argument. I'd have to try it out myself to make a final decision.

  • TheRealSlimJim

    I have thought having a female link would be awesome, but she doesn’t necessarily have to replace link. She could be a twin sister that fights with him, or something to that effect.

    • RedVirtue

      I like this suggestion of one generation of Links being twins. Male and Female co-existing in the same game. Honestly that may be my favorite option if Nintendo really wanted to play with the idea. Two Links could cause another fork in the timeline too. Which would only add to the fun and potential. Of coarse if they are twins I doubt they would be given the same name though. But they can both be just as critical and present to the arch of the story.

      The only downside I can see to this is it building a new "standard" and dividing fans. A portion of fans that connect to the new character may get upset if the female doppelganger doesn't make a return on a regular basis afterwards.

  • WingzemonX

    I am male, and honestly would be 100% agree that a future protagonist of some game were a woman, in fact, what surprises me is that nobody has considered so far, and that some are reused to the idea by now. It's not like Mario or Samus change, because they are a single character, Link is more like a title, as the Avatar (The Last Airbender). We have had many links throughout the story, not just one. It is illogical to think that all will be men; that some born as a woman is more than possible. Mature please, if women can play Zelda and enjoy it, you won't be gays for a female character xD. In fact I've always thought that a female protagonist has more potential than a male. Handled well, a female protagonist can become more significant presence.

    And as you say, there is no reason to a Zelda sex change as well. This is not about relationships, and even if it were, who says that he always has to stay with Zelda? It's absurd. I'd be more than happy to see a different Link, to refresh and bring something new to the series. But Nintendo never be encouraged to do so, because despite everything, is a company, and will not do if they think there is a risk of lose money, and I understand them. If 100 players say "yes", but 10.000 say "no", then who would blame them? : /

  • zerandomguy

    this has become a battleground for sexist women/men… please people if they do make a female option, I'm sure Nintendo won't screw it up. And even if they do, at least they won't make the same mistake twice.

  • AdemirZX

    It might be a good idea but, not exactly, i mean, what if they create a completely new character, and it turns out to be a woman, and a descendant of link, such as link's grandmother in Wind Waker, and she would be the new main character on a new saga of TLOZ.

    I think i would support this idea.

  • Why can't Link be black?

  • klz

    Women cant be heros, thats just nonsense! Women can be heroines though.

  • Alex Delderfield (ADEdge)

    Why not just have a zelda game where u play as zelda?

    • Rocksor

      that would be funny. like you beat the game and it says "YOU GOT KIDNAPPED… AGAIN!

  • The idea of a female Link is so foreign to us. I've actually seen several cosplays here where Link was played by a girl. But the issue of seeing a female Link in a game is a quite different aspect. After 25 years of the male Link, would people accept the female version just as easily?

    Well, so long as she was given the characteristics of Link I don't see a problem with it. I'd just want her to be utterly compatible with the player, same as the male Link.

  • Link is male. That's just how it is. It's not that I have anything against women being heroine, it just goes against who Link is. I suppose it'd be ok to create a new hero entirely and make her female, but that would seem like an entirely different game because Link has been the "link" between all the games. I mean, there have been Zelda games without Zelda but they all have had Link. (Also, what would you even call the female Link? Link is such a boys' name.)

    And I think just having the option between Male or Female is worse than just a female Link. That option just makes is so… impersonal. Like, the character, the hero could easily be replaced by anyone. (It would also be more work because, unless you'd want crappy cut-scenes, there would need to be twice as many videos, half for each gender.)

    • Jquestionmark

      Link is the embodiment of the Triforce of Courage. What about that requires him to be male? Link is a blank slate for the players to project on, and I've yet to see anything in the entire series of games that prevents Link from being female. Link is not a gender, he's a series of characters, so I wouldn't say being female goes against who he is. That ignores the vast series of adventures he's been on and focuses on a simple and meaningless aspect of him.

  • Jared

    When I was a little kid I thought link was a girl anyways but I still played the game. Now Im older and know its a boy its made zero difference to me and my gameplay

    • Rocksor

      So you thought he was a Linkett

  • Jyger85

    I think have the option to make Link male or female at the start of future Zelda games would be pretty neat. Plus, that way the ones that prefer Link to be male can do so and not worry about it.

  • I don't think it's necessary to change their genders. Maybe I'm crazy but I think it would be cool to have a game where Zelda is the regular girl that given the triforce of courage and Link is the noble given the triforce of Wisdom. Bam! The story just went into a new, unexplored area.

  • HyruleWeirdo

    As mentioned (not by me) on the last post, it would be better if there was a LoZ spin off starring a female character (such as Sheik).

    That said, a female Link wouldn't kill a Zelda game, in my opinion, but it would utterly destroy the rescue the princess plot line that's been a staple in LoZ since the beginning. Sure, there have been exceptions but if Link did become a girl, that's all it should be; an exception.

    The thing about Link is that, despite having different incarnations he is a character that you know pretty much instantly if you've played any other 3D LoZ game. His personality is virtually identical throughout them, many of his physical attributes are virtually identical, his clothes are pretty much the same and the list goes on…

    • mphouston

      Rescue the princess hasn't been that much of a theme sure she gets taken a couple times but usually near the end when the main baddy uses her for something. Otherwise the Princess has had surprisingly active roles in the games!

  • Edge

    Maybe if it was done in a way like Persona 3 Portable? Where the second gender gives players an incentive to replay a game for a slightly different perspective? In addition, they could make it like pokemon, where Link is still the Legendary Hero, but you're playing as another character with a similar mission. But, that's just me rambling.

  • Lucius Optimus

    the day that link turns into a girl is the day I stop playing zelda…………

  • Truth

    If Nintendo decided to do it, they would make it work. That said, the character Telma from Twilight Princess is an extremely strong character; one that opposes negative gender-based stereotypes.

  • Atian

    I think this is wrong of you to turn on the link to a girl ..
    Zelda thing has been like this for 25 years and it's hard to change that ..
    Think of Metallica when they went with Lou Reed and it was the biggest disappointment ever .. Now try to Metallica go back roots again and say that we are back but the wounds they gave me, remains

    The whole business will nag change in the nintendo if they do it …
    Why are not you glad nintendo have done it and let it be ..
    Zelda games are not going against girls and or someone.
    Games have been meant to play and have fun.
    But the pains which you take it seriously as a religion.
    Link would be a girl … The games would fall as much as Metallica ..
    It would not be like all the other zelda games and billions zelda fans would not stop playing zelda. Legend of Zelda ice Legend of Zelda and thats it ..

    Nintendo does not want to lose it for them to win lots of money and they do not want to lose it.

    It would be good idea but they would have done that from the beginning of the first years of zelda games. When you create something and everyone else starts to like it you should not change it. Many have done it and it went bad for them.

    Think a little more and sit on a high mountain and see the good stuff and the consequences

  • TriAuz64

    In my opinion, the whole “playing as Link’s daughter” thing would be a fun refresher to the series. It would be nice to be able to go save your parents for whatever bad guy is trying to kill them, instead of waking up, doing some chores, and starting yet another quest of: “oh, gotta go save Zelda again.”

  • TriAuz64

    lol, i said save your parents FOR the bad guy, i meant FROM the bad guy. ^-^

  • Lilly

    Instant response: "Heck no!"
    After actually thinking about it …. I actually don't think changing Link's gender would be damaging to his "character". Like it said, Link is a "link" to the players. "Link is not a single “character” to be changed" paragraph is solid in my opinion. After imagining a femme-Link doing the things or usual man Link does in SKyward Sword or other games, it really doesn't change much, except cutting out romantic interests between Link and Zelda (but then again Link and Zelda don't always have the hots for each other, like TP, and like Cody said, it's not about dating, it's about the adventure.) Zelda wouldn't have to be a man either, that's more blasphemous than the idea of a femme-Link!

    Really I don't see it being a bad thing, the idea has grown on my now actually. But nostalgia and sexism will prevent people from accepting the idea of femme-Link. But people complain about a game being "different" every time. Seriously how can people want a new game if it's nothing new? That's the point of making a NEW one! If Nintendo were to actually do something so "drastic" I'm sure they would do it WELL, and give us nothing to complain about.

  • Rakshael

    A female link is akin to giving the Master Chief pink armor, or making Mario a girl. It would go against the entire series' tradition, roots, and style. It wouldn't be a good move. I wouldn't mind a game where you played as Sheik in the slightest bit (in fact that sounds AWESOME),ut a female link does NOT belong in the games.

  • Valerie

    As a feminist, I’m all for Nintendo releasing more titles starring a female protagonist. a LOZ spin-off starring Sheik or Impa would be a DREAM! Alas, as a life-long Link fangirl, lady-Link would be too much of a departure.

    Maybe they could give Zelda her own title in which both the spirit of the hero and the blood of goddess live within her. Yeah, and then she could slay Gannon on her own, because I think she ought to have more beef with the Prince of Thieves than her bumpkin errand boy and his Triforce of Servitude.

  • It's possible to make a zelda game that works flawlessly with a gender option but it would make writing a lot tougher, they have to keep on a railroad track, steering off of it would result in destruction!

  • mphouston

    As a future video game designer I have already had thoughts about this although my ideas would have had less change on the series than completely changing him to a girl! There is no problem with Link being a girl I believe anyone who says that is referencing an age where there are barely any violent games with girls because people believe guys are the only ones playing these games and girls focus on the cooking mama games or something. I believe honestly that if anyone is against a good game with a change in gender being the main change in a relatively unchanging game, you are probably a bit sexist. I'm not trying to insult you guys but the image would be about the same just with longer hair more feminine face and some breasts. I know people don't like change but we're facing something that may ruin a timeless classic that has been growing more and more similar to past games without innovating. What Zelda needs is innovation that pertains to the series changing gender doesn't really go against it, what it does do is go against people's sexist stereotypical minds. Link being a girl would not affect game-play or anything. As my mom says keep you eyes open the only thing standing in front of change is you! This goes towards colleges games and other big choices we should make when you guys lash out at suggestions you basically ask for the same games to be redone over and over and over. So if you don't buy the based on some minor sexist detail then your missing out change is good and honestly in most things staying the same is bad!

  • Shadowknight1

    lol I love his last comment about the skirt thing. 😛

  • Alex

    instead of making it either one or the other, why not have an option, like in Pokemon? That way, if someone wants to make Link a girl, they can, and vise versa.

  • Zeldafan7

    There is one reason more apparent than any other as to why there hasn’t been a female link: testosterone. All sexism aside, women lack the testosterone levels that men have. The testosterone accounts for why men are physically stronger and better at physical activities. THAT IS A FACT. It is not sexist for Nintendo to have a male link, they are just viewing facts, but then again, I guarantee they’ve never even considered a female link because it just doesn’t fit the story as well. Zelda and link need to be of opposite sex unless you want to change the story dramatically. They could obviously change the sex if they wanted to but why? Once they make it female then people will argue why is link not black? Nintendo will just have to keep giving in if they give in once. Does anyone argue that Samus should be a guy? Do guys playing the game like it any less because she is female, not male? This argument is ridiculous on so many levels, don’t change anything if nothing needs to be fixed

    • Valerie

      Okay, the TESTOSTERONE IS SUPERIOR argument is a litte ridiculous. If a prepubescent boy can save Hyrule/Termina then certainly a grown woman can. Hyrule seems to be fairly enlightened when it comes to gender and for all the goddesses, it seems to be more of a matriarchy. Girl hero wouldn’t be blasphemy.

      Female soldiers have killed and died while you were playing videogames. Food for thought, dudes. Courage comes in all shapes.

      As for a Link of color…well, there’s a tendancy in Japanese video games/anime to create very Western, or even alien/animal looking characters. Honestly, I don’t think we could even hope for a raven-haired, brown-eyed, Asian-looking hero. lol!

  • This argument is as absurb as the black/latino Spider-man. So in order to probe you're not racist you change a clearly white character for no apparent reason. I know it is Ultimate Spiderman, but still pointless.

    Why change Link's gender? To probe that Zelda creators are not sexist? (which they are, by the way) That's just absurd. I don't particularly oppose the notion of a female Link, but I certainly don't support it. Why? Give me a good reason why, because so far I haven't read any good one. Yes, Link is a reincarnation, yes, it is completely plausible for him to be a her, but still those are not good reasons as to why would you change his gender if not for change sake. It is more sexist to propose such notion without a good reason than to deny it.

    Plus you would have to change his official name, because there is no way I'm going to name a female character Link. The name Link can't be any manlier than it is. Would you call your daughter Robert or Richard? That's how manly Link sounds… And I don't know about you, but I've never change Link's name in any Zelda game.

    In conclusion, if you have a really good reason and good new name, then I would welcome the change, otherwise the notion is just as sexist as those who deny it for no apparent reason.

  • Erin

    I think this idea is pretty cool

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