The recently released Hyrule Arts and Artefacts book is primarily stuffed to the gills with artwork from the Zelda series’ 30 year history, but that artwork is occasionally adorned with a bit of commentary from Nintendo artists Yusuke Nakano, Satoru Takizawa, and Yoshiki Haruhana. One of the more interesting bits of commentary to emerge is that during development of Ocarina of Time, the design for Link was actually based off of a ‘famous Hollywood actor’.
Nakano explains that when designing Link, he used a popular nineties actor as the base for Link’s face, keeping key features such as the nose and eyes as reference. “At that time, if you were to talk about a really good-looking actor, people immediately thought of this guy. So I recall keeping in mind the point of his nose and that strong-willed look in his eyes when I was drawing.”
Naturally, to avoid any legal issues or otherwise, they stop short of naming who this mysterious actor would be. That said, given the timing of the game’s development and what movies were biggest then, Leonardo Di Caprio would be a strong bet. Titanic was riding a wave of success at the time, if you’ll pardon the phrasing.
Young Leo could make a mighty fine Link. What do you reckon?