Speculation was rife in the run-up to E3 about whether or not the new Zelda title would give players the choice to play as a male or female Link for the first time in the series. Ultimately, that wasn’t the case, but the androgynous look of Link in the initial trailer and subsequent artwork that kickstarted all the speculation (which ultimately led to Linkle in Hyrule Warriors) was far from accidental. In fact, Eiji Aonuma has been pursuing a gender neutral design for the hero in green (or blue, or brown, or birthday suit depending on your preference in Breath of the Wild) since the days of Ocarina of Time.

Aonuma, in an interview with Time magazine, said: “Back during the Ocarina of Time days, I wanted Link to be gender neutral. I wanted the player to think ‘Maybe Link is a boy or a girl.’ If you saw Link as a guy, he’d have more of a feminine touch. Or vice versa, if you related to Link as a girl, it was with more of a masculine aspect. I really wanted the designer to encompass more of a gender-neutral figure. So I’ve always thought that for either female or male players, I wanted them to be able to relate to Link.” This stands to reason, Link has often been described by his creators as the link between the game and the player, or indeed as an avatar for the player within Hyrule.

“I wanted to create a character where anybody would be able to relate to the character.”

Not that this approach has been the same in every Zelda. A more masculine looking Link was chosen for Twilight Princess. “During the development of Twilight Princess, I went a different route and created a version of Link that was more masculine” said Aonuma. “But after Twilight Princess I went back to the drawing board and decided Link should be a more gender-neutral character. Hence I created the version of Link that you see in Breath of the Wild. As far as gender goes, Link is definitely a male, but I wanted to create a character where anybody would be able to relate to the character. So that’s why I think the rumour went around that Link could be a female. Because maybe the users were able to relate in that way.”

So it’s not quite the same as choosing whether or not Link has lady-parts, but it’s good to see that Aonuma is at least attempting to make Link as relatable to players as he can.

  • Valwin Mediaz

    He means Androgynous like the source article says and previus games. Link is not some freaky creature with no gender.

    sadly Gender Neutral in the west have been tarnish be a certain group of of people

  • Squalllionhart

    What are links pronouns? xur?

    • Valwin Mediaz

      Dont let the gender neutral thing fool you that just western BS what he really meant is Androgynous

    • JaidynReiman

      He, him, his. All Aonuma is saying is he’s going for an androgynous look, but Link is definitely male.

  • Rider85

    They should have kept the TP look. Androgynous Link is cringeworthy.

    • Valwin Mediaz

      the art makes him look freaky too

  • Valwin Mediaz

    So neutral

    • Darkstar

      Link looks malle in TP

  • Mojoz

    I wish this pointless discussion would end, there are not even many people who actually care about a female link. Link will never be female, get over it.

    • Dan0709

      i know right? it’s only a small group of idiots on internet who wants to make every single stupid thing a big deal.

  • Bo Johnson

    For my first play-through of Breath of the Wild, I will use the name Linkle.

    • Brandon Smith

      You don’t get to choose lInk’s name in BOTW, for the first time. Seemingly because of the voice acting. Also, this game seems to be the first one that is actually going to have a story that ties the games together.

      With no real knowledge, I’m personally betting that the link you play in BOTW is the same Link from Ocarina, resurrected after he “failed” in Ocarina and that one timeline, or whatever.

      • Bo Johnson

        I’ve read a lot of speculation about the inability to rename Link in BotW, but I have yet to see any actual confirmation of it.

        As for the timeline, I’ve long been convinced that BotW will reunite the three disparate timelines into one as a bookend to OoT. Everything I saw coming out of E3 reaffirmed my belief.

  • Paige Chapters

    I like the idea of gender neutral charecters. But, when you say right off the bat that “Link is male”, it already gives off the impression that males will relate to link more so than females. I don’t think it helps that Link can be played in his underwear either. Undertale did a great job with a gender neutral character. The Character was never stated to be a boy or a girl, and in that sense, does a better job at portraying the player onto the character – despite it’s crappy graphics. If Nintendo wanted a gender neutral Link, they shouldn’t have stated him to be a boy, and kept his shirt on.

    I would like to see a female Link, or Linkle as a playable character. There was never a reason for Link to be a male aside from whatever BS excuse Nintendo has came up with recently. If Nintendo were to straight out and say “We want Link to be a boy not a girl”, then fine, fair enough. I respect your decision.

    However they stated, “If we’re going to have a female protagonist, it’s simpler to have Princess Zelda as the main character. If we have Princess Zelda as the main character who fights, then what is Link going to do?” Excuse me? You’re telling us that, Nintendo filled to the brim with creativity, can’t find a reason to have Link and Zelda fighting side by side? Or have any other reason for Link to be in the game? Look no further than Hyrule warriors. Both Zelda and Link were playable.

    That’s not the only excuse them came up with either. “The Triforce is made up of Princess Zelda, Ganon and Link. Princess Zelda is obviously female. If we made Link a female we thought that would mess with the balance of the Triforce. That’s why we decided not to do it”. You serious 0_o? Nintendo, just stop with excuses…They don’t make any sense.

    I don’t care if Link is a female or not. If Nintendo wants Link and Zelda to stay a certain way, then fine. I respect that. They need to own that though. What I don’t respect are their cringe worthy excuses.

    Long rant I know, but what evs’. Nonsense aside, the game looks great and I can’t wait to play it.

    • Valwin Mediaz

      Thats because he did not meant Gender Neutral but instead

      The so call Zelda News sites fail to tell this to its readers and why is best to read the source the title says it all

      Next Link May Not Be a Girl, But He’s Androgynous by Design

      and about the Excuse it makes perfect sense Girl with Girl VS ganon is not Balance but girl and boy vs ganon is balance

      • Paige Chapters

        I was under the impression that Gender Neutral was the same as Androgynous. What is the difference? English isn’t my first language 😛

        Also, how does boy+girl vs gannon (boy) balance, when girl+girl vs gannon (boy) not balance? Still doesn’t make sense to me.

        • Valwin Mediaz

          in the west gender neutral have been twisted to mean someone that is neither male or female

          Androgynous is more in looks like how someone it looks

          ask your self this Boy and Girl together is that not balance ?

          it is representing both sexes here

          • Brandon Smith

            I make no attempt to keep up with this PC gender crap, but arguably the difference between gender neutral and androgynous would be “puberty”.

            Puberty is when secondary sexual characteristics begin to shape the human body, and when boys become “men” and girls become “women”. Up until that point, there is very little difference between boys and girls, physically, save the big difference of the reproductive organ. This is a state, again arguably, of being “gender neutral”. little girls aren’t “womanly” and little boys aren’t “masculine”.

            I would argue, personally, that perhaps androgyny is when a character has evidence of BOTH gender’s secondary sexual characteristics. For example, if you see a man with shapely, sexually attractive legs… that’s not gender neutral. that’s actively demonstrating sexual characters of the opposite gender.

            Square recently put out a game, for instance, that creates a new 3D HD model of Ramza from FF Tactics. In the new model, he has thick long lashes, an hourglass figure, and full, plump lips. These are not genetic manifestations of the male chromosome. They basically MADE HIM a woman, genetically. But canonically he is still “male”.

            This is different than Link, who is arguably so young and undeveloped that he could be either gender.

          • Valwin Mediaz

            Link is a bishōnen