A Female Link Idea is Just Stupid

Girl Link Title Card

I was all set to write an article about game bosses when I noticed a subject that has been getting a great deal of traction, unbeknownst to me, and that has been the rumors of a female version of Link to star in a future game. I’ve never paid attention to how big a deal this has become in the last couple of months, mostly because until there is some slight semblance of facts, I don’t chase rumors anymore. I followed Mortal Kombat Devastation news for 7 years (yeah, 7 years, waiting for a follow-up to MK Annihilation!!) before giving up. So, why exactly is taking an iconic gaming figure and flipping the gender switch such an alleged cool idea? I think this is stupid.

THE STUPID ORIGIN: Dude…Looks Like a Lady?

Link is a girlThis idiocy apparently started with the gameplay footage at last year’s E3, where footage of the new Wii U Zelda title was first shown. I thought nothing of it, but was alerted by my Wife and Sis-in-Law that fan reaction to this incarnation and he looked like a lady! What? I had to take a look at this again and saw nothing even slightly more effeminate to Link’s visage than usual.Tales of I chalked this up to the cel shaded style used in the visuals for this game taking away some of the more defined lines from his face to adopt a more animated style. It’s been used to achieve a more cartoon/anime appeal to character models and backgrounds in 3D, giving it a very unique flair. The Wind Waker was done in the same method, in fact, I thought it looked like Toon Link stretched out and given slightly more realistic features. Nonetheless, fans are doggedly holding on to the notion that this Link is a woman, there’s even two morons on Youtube that made a video, dissecting the trailer footage “frame by frame”, giving definitive proof of Link’s gender. Not only was this stupid beyond comprehension, but this guy spoke with such disregard for Legend of Zelda, gloating that his findings are FACT, that it was past borderline disrespectful to anyone whom happened to watch it. I wont even credit them and mention his name or channel, because pompous, arrogant, misogynistic clowns with no legitimate research or concrete analysis need no advertising. This was the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen on the internet.

So then Hyrule Warriors comes out and everyone loves it, but an image from the official

Source nintendoworldreport.com

Source nintendoworldreport.com

artbook shows a female version of Link, perhaps originally set to be the star of the game(?) or maybe an unlockable option. Well, this is what the doctor ordered for fan fiction authors and artists need, even though they have technically been doing this kind of stuff for years. Well, social media didn’t exist in the same format that it does today, so what Nintendo essentially created was a firestorm of rumors about Link permanently becoming a woman for future games, or perhaps a spinoff universe where I assumed everyone would be gender-swapped. even a popular thread on IGN about “What if Link was Always a Girl”, to which I rephrase the question: Why would it matter if Link was Always a Girl?

SERIOUSLY, WHY WOULD IT MATTER?

Gender switching Link would add nothing new to the game mechanics at all! Even if he was a woman to begin with, the game would likely still be treated with the same fanfare, probably more, since in this parallel universe in 1986, a lead female protagonist was unprecedented. Sure, Samus was a woman and it was a super shocking reveal, but now the character has been degraded into soulless eye candy, thanks to Other M. I don’t think it would appeal to female gamers in the same degree for the same reason that characters like Bat Girl and Super Girl are merely mirrored off their more successful male counterparts, so this incarnation wouldn’t even stand on its own two feet unless producers and developers think female gamers can be easily pacified by this bait and switch.FeMC In short, the skin change wouldn’t affect the way the game is played, or even what the character does to interact with others, it’s simply there to appease people’s fantasies, whatever they may be. Like the needles addition of Minako in a special version of Persona 3, simply there to play dress-up!!

A MISSED OPPORTUNITY…

Instead of pining over how cool it would be to play as a lady Link, since that would significantly improve the quality of the game, I sit idly by and wait for Nintendo to do something more proactive with its already established female lead, Zelda herself!! Zelda teenPerhaps my biggest takeaway from Skyward Sword is that this was the first Zelda game to present the titular character in a human light; a plucky teenage girl without a care in the world, suddenly thrust into a scenario plunged in chaos. She’s struggling to cope with the level and burden of her destined responsibility and forced to make decisions that would make any rational thinking person’s head spin! I thought this added a great dimension to the character and I would’ve rather played Skyward Sword from HER perspective rather than Link! So why not make a game where you can play as Zelda, she’s proven to be a very capable fighter in as Sheik, or hell, even herself!! and I’m not talking about keeping the same style as the last couple of Zelda’s and putting her in Link’s place and finding the damn boomerang and bombs and other things, simply because it’s Zelda lore, I mean structure the game around her abilities and skill set. Have her being able to sneak around through hallways or crawl through areas as Sheik, build a whole new game from the ground up! Don’t stick with certain mechanics for the sake of tradition, because I’ve played the same damn Zelda game three times already! Or how about a Legend of Zelda game where instead of rescuing her, she follows and aides Link in his quest!?Zelda can be helpful Like a second human player could control her or just a really responsive A.I. that follows certain commands to help solve puzzles and proceed through a dungeon because there are runes that only Zelda herself can unlock? Zelda would be able to defend herself, but in a limited capacity, as her strength needs to be reserved for cracking doors or tripping traps. Maybe the story could be some outside force is dwindling Hylia’s powers and her protecting magic has caused Zelda to no long be able to draw powers from the Heavens, leaving her with…I don’t know I’m spit-balling ideas around!! Give me something that’s different on the inside, not a cosmetic change. if you feel it’s stale, change the recipe, not the packaging.

THE BIGGER ISSUE: The Fake Call for Female Equality

I am a staunch believer of equal rights and I really do wish there were more prominent female characters in video games today, but do they all really have to be super asskickers just to gain notoriety? Being male, I might be a bit out-of-place to speak on this. I think it’s like adding an extra challenge at the end of a test as some sort of last-ditch effort to keep certain people out of the club, even though they aced the previous ones. Girls don’t always have to kick butt to be considered cool. With established characters like previously mentioned Samus Aran, Claire Redfield from Resident Evil, Bayonetta, including TV shows like Marvel’s Agent Carter, and the upcoming all female Ghostbusters (which could be cool, Kristen Wiig is in it!!), there is room for ladies to awesome on the battlefield, but why does it always have to be that way? It feels mildly demeaning to tell ladies that they can only be considered cool if they’re invincible action stars, but problems can be solved without throwing a single punch. Ask my favorite character from Gundam Wing.

Relena didn't need to pilot a giant, silly robot to make major changes in the world

Relena didn’t need to pilot a giant, silly robot to make major changes in the world

And I’ll end on this. The reason Claire Redfield is my favorite Resident Evil character (and favorite female video game character altogether) isn’t because she’s a super cool tomboy that blows away zombies with a grenade launcher. No, it’s because of this…tumblr_inline_nbkap720jh1s4fzts This tiny, minute detail of Claire holding Sherry Birkin’s hand when you sit idle in Resident Evil 2 is (I’ll take this to my grave) the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in a video game. It made me love her more than any other PlayStation character ever or since and is one of the most organic emotions any game could ever emit.

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About ColonelFancy

Comedy writer, video game reviewer, retro gaming enthusiast, artist and cartoonist, otaku. Advocate of science, logic, and reasoning.
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3 Responses to A Female Link Idea is Just Stupid

  1. Topiki says:

    Heh. I apologize. I know this is my fault. Good rant by the way. This only bothers me, because I think it is degrading to an already established character. A game about Zelda would be great, or even a game about an entirely different hero might be OK, but why a lady Link? Why can’t it just be a new character? Personally my favorite thing about Zelda is the honest and innocent story of an average guy becoming a hero and saving the kingdom. It has the charm of a fairy tale. I don’t think it would be as endearing if it were a female saving the Princess and her Kingdom. I guess I just like the classic feel of the characters. That is my take on it.

  2. Hello there,
    I was looking for reactions about this subject, and I just found your article (very interesting by the way), so let me explain my point of view as a “female Link supporter”. (Disclaimer : I don’t speak English very well, so sorry about that).

    First of all, Link is not an established character. Ok, he’s traditionnally a white guy with blond hairs and a green tunic, and? He’s mute, its apparence is changing in almost every sequel, and he’s basically androgynous. Remember when Miyamoto show for the first time “Toon Link” ? Everyone was like “wtf is this sh%%!”, then Wind Waker was released and it was a good game (I don’t like it for some reasons, but not because the arts).
    Also, what is the common denominator between all these Link? They’re all getting the “Spirit of the hero” (http://i.imgur.com/L0KyIem.png from Skyward Sword). I don’t know a ‘Spirit’ is always possessing the same guy to save the world.
    Finally, if you’re looking the grammar of the serie, everything is showing you that Link is, ultimately, the player. He’s getting the player’s name, he’s mute to let the player talk instead, he’s basically coming from nowhere (since the player is coming from everywhere), he’s moving like the player want, and ‘Link’ is a reference of the ‘link’ between the player and the game.

    The last point show the problem. Everything is done to let the player identify to Link, except its appearance. And yes, this is a deal-breaker. They’re lots of people (specially the children) who just refuse to play a game where you can’t select their gender. The Legend of Zelda is a great serie for everyone, I think it’s a mistake to just ignore that point.
    I also think this game delivers a bad message to the girls. Getting kidnapped and let the boy save the world? Really? I exaggerate a little, but everyone should identify with the hero.

    So, why not Zelda? She’s smart and she got some ninja and magical powers. Actually, I would love to play her. It’s just, she’s not Link, if she save the world by herself, it’s because she ALSO getting the spirit of the hero, which means she’s also Link, see? Of course, you can create a second storyline where you play Zelda, then meet Link at some places (for example, Muramasa works like that), but it would be a new game, not just an addition to an existing project.

    To conclude, I don’t ask Nintendo to just switch Link’s gender, it would be pointless, but to create an alternative “female” skin (or at least make it so ambiguous that everyone can choose its gender). Yes, it do not change the gameplay at all, but it would be a good deal for everyone.

    One last thing, the discussions about it don’t begin with “Linkle” from the Hyrule Warriors artbook or even the E3 trailer, but yeah, they greatly help the idea. There’s a new Zelda on home consoles every 4 or 5 years, it’s a great opportunity for those who loves this idea.

    • ColonelFancy says:

      A well articulated point. I don’t recall I anyform of literature I’ve ever read of Link being androgynous. The only thing that would leave me to believe that is that him being male isn’t particularly harped upon.
      He isn’t mute, either. He’s shown speaking, but generally doesn’t have word bubbles to convey that. This is shown when he is explaining a situation to someone at various intervals, much like a Persona character or Chrono Cross. This was retained throughout games, as you said, to keep the player connected with the base structure of Zelda; immersing yourself through the adventure.
      I don’t think having the option to choose between a male and female “Hero” would really DO anything that other game series like Dragon Age, Elder Scrolls, or World of Warcraft have already been doing for years now. Those games are available for people to play and I’ve read articles about how people play them because they can create whomever they want. Legend of Zelda doesn’t need that, in fact, Nintendo already has Fantasy Life, which offers the same thing.
      I would rather play as Zelda herself instead of a pallet swap. And in regards to that point, nor Link or Zelda can save the land themselves, they need each other equally, as their fates are intertwined.
      I feel this doesn’t appease people the way they believe it would. If people are putting themselves into the role already, then why is the cosmetic change is needed to verify that?

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