Kyle Hefley, a senior modeler at 343 Industries, has shown off his own realistic design for The Legend of Zelda protagonist Link.

3D Link Realistic

Kyle Hefley has worked on Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians, which released recently on Xbox One. 343 Industries are a Microsoft-owned studio known for taking over the Halo series from original developers Bungie. Hefley previously worked with Activision on properties including Call of Duty and Spider-Man.


Hefley takes an unstylized approach not yet seen in an official Zelda game. The Space World 2000 Demo and Twilight Princess offer the most realistic versions of Link to date, but both appearances were restrained by hardware.

The Wind Waker’s aesthetic infamously divided fans when it was first unveiled, but the series is now known for regularly introducing new art styles: each 3D offering since Majora’s Mask has sported a different look. Would a gritty, realistic Link alienate fans today, or could this be accepted as one of Link’s many faces? 

You can find more of Kyle Hefley’s work over on his ArtStation page.

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  • DimensionalRanger

    The thing is, since it’s the [Legend] of Zelda, and that the hero’s spirit is the thing that really matters, Link could look like anything. Nice realism, though.

  • Ryan

    Ehh, it looks boring and pretty bland. It’s an interesting take but one I hope Nintendo never visits.

  • give him a beard. I want a Link with a beard!

    • Nelsyv

      I am not opposed to bearded Link, but that’s an easy one for Ninty to screw up…

      • yeah that is true.
        Some people complain about the “Zelda Formula”, right? Well, I think I have come up with a small way to switch up the general plot.
        Link is married and has a child, which he names Zelda. (Link has a beard at this time as he is an adult.) Zelda is then captured or has disappeared (purposefully disappearing as she has fallen into the trap of being trained by ganon, who will use her for evil bidding). Link then goes to find her. Somewhere along the time he (and the player) learn that his daughter, Zelda, was behind all the evil across the land. Of course Ganon is the true culprit since he had caused Zelda’s turning away from good.
        It would end in a Return of the Jedi sort of way, where Zelda saves Link’s life through some sacrifice (or something).
        Essentially this is a redemption story, which I would find interesting. Of course, some stuff would have to be modified in order to fit the Zelda canon, but it would work I think.

  • MischievousLittleImp

    His face looks… a little weird, but it has a good realism.
    His clothes are very realistic, I loved the texture on them and the lighting of the picture is amazing!
    That Master Sword and Hylian Shield though…

  • Ryan Haynes

    Not the face I would’ve given him, looks too old.