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Aonuma on the possibility of playable female characters in Zelda: 2017 Edition

There have been a few threads about this interview, and people have complained that this topic keeps coming up in them when they wanted to discuss other parts of the interview, so I thought I'd section it off to a separate thread instead.

First, on Zelda in Breath of the Wild:

Eurogamer: Going back to where we started, and the new footage, let's talk about Zelda. Fans seem to love her design in Breath of the Wild - there's already a lot of fan art. But reaction seems split on her crying during the trailer, with some saying it demonstrates a lack of strength, others saying it's good she's showing emotion. I wondered what your take on that was.

Aonuma: Regarding how Princess Zelda is portrayed in the trailer, obviously everyone has their own ideas of exactly how they would expect a female character to act or behave. What I would particularly like to emphasise is that the scene of her crying in the trailer is just one scene from the game - within the trailer itself it forms a dramatic high point, but that shouldn't be taken too much out of context.

Princess Zelda as she appears in the game as a whole is very complex and multi-faceted, and it's not as if she's crying all the time in the game [laughs], so I would ask fans not to read too much into just that one scene from the trailer, and to please play the game and appreciate Zelda as she is in all her aspects.
Second, on playable female characters:

Eurogamer: Zelda fans continue to show interest in having Zelda as a playable character, and I wonder if that was something that was considered for Breath of the Wild?

Aonuma: I seem to remember three years ago when we showed the first trailer at E3, I said something along the lines of "I never said that Link would necessarily be male" or something along those lines, and that got taken out of context and turned into a rumour that took on a life of its own. Link has always been portrayed as a male character as the protagonist of the games.

After that happened actually, we did discuss in the team about whether or not we should have a female protagonist. I spoke to Mr Miyamoto about it and the whole team talked about it, but in the end, it just didn't happen.

On Wii U of course there's already Hyrule Warriors where Princess Zelda is a playable character, and there's actually quite an assortment of characters including several female ones. And that title is already available of course. So looking to the future, talking about the possibility of having a playable female protagonist, I'd say yes, it's a possibility.
Source: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2017-01-18-zelda-breath-of-the-wild-boss-eiji-aonuma-on-the-large-extra-burden-of-moving-to-nintendo-switch
 

DecoReturns

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May 12, 2014
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I feel it's a surprise that's she playable in BOTW
But only for story related reasons not co-op or anything like that
 

Charamiwa

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Here's what's going on: Female Link or playable Zelda was never on the table for the game, he made a joke, everyone kept talking about it, he went full PR bullshit mode and tried to make excuses, that made everything worse, so now he's just saying "maybe in the future".

There really isn't much to say about his comments.
 

SciencePilot

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Apr 11, 2010
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It sounds like it's something they haven't outright ruled out but just didn't end up doing this time. I hope they do it eventually. I think they're aware it's something people are interested in.
 

emb

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Didn't he say on Treehouse recently, "Notice that she has the same color tunic as Link, and that she also has a Sheikah Slate", something cryptic like that? Seems like she'll be playable, or maybe an NPC in a role similar to Link at some point.
 

ckaneo

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Oct 10, 2016
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I wish they let us do a Zelda new game plus, were she just takes over for link. The cutscenes wouldn't make sense though....
 

James Scott

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They've teased the Shiek game for awhile so I'm guessing that.
I do wonder if they're going to make it or someone like Platinum.
 

cloudstrife

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Sep 12, 2014
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After that happened actually, we did discuss in the team about whether or not we should have a female protagonist. I spoke to Mr Miyamoto about it and the whole team talked about it, but in the end, it just didn't happen.
I wonder if it was Mr Miyamoto himself that shot down the team developing a female protagonist for BOTW.
 

fastmower

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Didn't he say on Treehouse recently, "Notice that she has the same color tunic as Link, and that she also has a Sheikah Slate", something cryptic like that? Seems like she'll be playable, or maybe an NPC in a role similar to Link at some point.
.
 

AgeEighty

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I hope they do it for the next one. Link is a different person in most of the Zelda games, so there's no reason why one of his heroic descendants wouldn't be a woman. And it isn't like it would screw up the Link-Zelda relationship, since they are almost never shown to have anything overtly romantic going on. And even if they did and Link was female, that's fine too.
 

Griss

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Sep 26, 2013
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Zelda has a long history of 'brave lad rescues beautiful princess' and as time went on that started to change to 'brave lad assists beautiful and helpful princess'.

That's what it is, really. What the series is and has been about. Don't see any need to change it. It's fun to play a classic swashbuckling adventure like this with old-school themes. I like it, anyway.

I still suspect we might get to play as Zelda for a short time in BotW.

The one thing I hope we never get is a customisable Link. If they want to make Link a girl, fine. But then that Link should be a girl, end of. Link's not an avatar, he's a character.
 

MutFox

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Would be awesome, if like the original Zelda,
where if you input your name as Zelda, you instantly unlock the 2nd quest.

This time though, you get to play through the game as Zelda,
but with some differences.

Probably not, cause that would be a TON of work.
 

Phu

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Zelda has a long history of 'brave lad rescues beautiful princess' and as time went on that started to change to 'brave lad assists beautiful and helpful princess'.

That's what it is, really. What the series is and has been about. Don't see any need to change it. It's fun to play a classic swashbuckling adventure like this with old-school themes. I like it, anyway.

I still suspect we might get to play as Zelda for a short time in BotW.

The one thing I hope we never get is a customisable Link. If they want to make Link a girl, fine. But then that Link should be a girl, end of. Link's not an avatar, he's a character.
The great divide in these discussions, and I'm with you.
 

disappeared

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I'm still holding out hope she's an unlockable New Game+ character. Like if they bring back the name thing at the beginning, inputting "Zelda" might do it.

Edit: female Link or Zelda, I'm happy with either.
 

MutFox

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Jun 29, 2004
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For the next game,
maybe Zelda and Link can be twins or something.

You choose one at the beginning,
and that changes what story path you take.

Both having their strengths and weaknesses for puzzles.

Sorta like RE with Chris and Jill.
 

Afrodium

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Apr 21, 2009
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Why does Nintendo consistently interpret requests for female Link as requests for a playable Zelda?
 
I wonder if it was Mr Miyamoto himself that shot down the team developing a female protagonist for BOTW.
I thought that was pretty clear after the E3 interviews.

E3 started off with Aonuma playing "Put my foot in my mouth as many times as possible.", but ended with a combined statement between the two of:

1.) Miyamoto feels that the mainline Zelda series should always be about Link, who he feels is definitively a ~7-18 year old male, saving Princess Zelda.
2.) However, Miyamoto understands that people want to play as a woman in Zelda games, so he's asked the Zelda team to look into making a Zelda game that maybe stars Sheik or some other incarnation of Zelda. This was at the napkin stage though, so they didn't want to confirm or promise anything.

Aonuma uses vague enough wording here that he's plausibly just referring to that, but it's also vague enough that he reopened a can of worms they had managed to put to bed about mainline titles.
 

aspiegamer

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Here's what's going on: Female Link or playable Zelda was never on the table for the game, he made a joke, everyone kept talking about it, he went full PR bullshit mode and tried to make excuses, that made everything worse, so now he's just saying "maybe in the future".
Worked for FFXV DLC... But of course that was a response to a PR disaster instead of a fan thought experiment and asexual artwork.
 

SOLDIER

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How utterly shameful and unforgiveable that the pigs at Nintendo are so out of touch to show Zelda, an iconic female character, CRYING over losing her kingdom and everything she ever held dear.

If there were any talented and sensitive writers left at that company, they would be able to write a more preferred feminist angle, where instead of crying she severs the head of the nearest moblin to drink its blood while proceeding to have a threesome between herself, Link and the Gerudo woman.

And by Link I of course mean Female Link.
 
Sep 10, 2010
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I wish they let us do a Zelda new game plus, were she just takes over for link. The cutscenes wouldn't make sense though....
Legend of Link NG+. Just swap Link and Zelda's models.

I want to see a crying Link throw himself into Zelda's arms.
 

LotusHD

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How utterly shameful and unforgiveable that the pigs at Nintendo are so out of touch to show Zelda, an iconic female character, CRYING over losing her kingdom and everything she ever held dear.

If there were any talented and sensitive writers left at that company, they would be able to write a more preferred feminist angle, where instead of crying she severs the head of the nearest moblin to drink its blood while proceeding to have a threesome between herself, Link and the Gerudo woman.

And by Link I of course mean Female Link.
OK.
 

Master Yoshi

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I hope they do it for the next one. Link is a different person in most of the Zelda games, so there's no reason why one of his heroic descendants wouldn't be a woman. And it isn't like it would screw up the Link-Zelda relationship, since they are almost never shown to have anything overtly romantic going on. And even if they did and Link was female, that's fine too.
How sweet would it be for the first game to romantically link the two to be a female Link?
 
Sep 1, 2013
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For the next game,
maybe Zelda and Link can be twins or something.

You choose one at the beginning,
and that changes what story path you take.

Both having their strengths and weaknesses for puzzles.

Sorta like RE with Chris and Jill.
It would be overpowered if Link had both the blood of the goddess and the spirit of the hero.
 
Jun 6, 2014
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But reaction seems split on her crying during the trailer, with some saying it demonstrates a lack of strength, others saying it's good she's showing emotion. I wondered what your take on that was.
Oh come on! I wish people would stop being so damn inflexible about what is acceptable for female characters in our pro-feminism society. Crying is not a fucking sign of weakness, it's a sign of humanity, and compassion. Jack Bauer was one of the most bad ass characters on television, and that dude cried a lot.
 

Afrodium

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I think the most elegant solution for incorporating a female Link is to allow the player to select Link's gender at the beginning of the game and changing nothing else but pronouns. Link already looks and sounds androgynous. All you need to do is change text like 'Boy Hero' to 'Girl Hero' and boom, female Link.
 

LotusHD

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They probably get the same number of requests.

Playable Zelda is also the better idea.
Some people want a female Link, but still want to know they'd get to use the Master Sword and shit. Or they aren't fond of the magic Zelda would presumably use I guess

Meanwhile I'm like, while either is fine, Linkle ain't doing anything either...

I think the most elegant solution for incorporating a female Link is to allow the player to select Link's gender at the beginning of the game and changing nothing else but pronouns. Link already looks and sounds androgynous. All you need to do is change text like 'Boy Hero' to 'Girl Heto' and boom, female Link.
Nah, because then you'll have people complaining forever as to which character is canon. If they ever do make a female Link, they need to not half-ass it and go all in.
 
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I think the most elegant solution for incorporating a female Link is to allow the player to select Link's gender at the beginning of the game and changing nothing else but pronouns. Link already looks and sounds androgynous. All you need to do is change text like 'Boy Hero' to 'Girl Heto' and boom, female Link.
I agree with this. (minus the typo)
 

Busaiku

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I still think we'll play as Zelda in most of the 100 years before, and Link in the present.
 

hurricanes

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Jan 24, 2013
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Why does Nintendo consistently interpret requests for female Link as requests for a playable Zelda?
It's Nintendo... Plus there are actually a camp of people(including me) who would prefer playable Zelda over female Link. Because Link under Aonuma's direction/vision hasn't been a player avatar for a long time. He is a character now.
Edit: he should really lose those non sense excuse.
 

Stormblessed

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Don't get your hopes up. "Never say never" is something people by now should assume will be the answer to these questions when developers are confronted with them. No one wants to split their fanbase or generate controversy or negative publicity when they have a game (or worse, hardware) they want to sell. Especially not a company as conservative as Nintendo.

It's like the Capcom PR around the time DmC was being hyped, where their community people spread the idea that they would have DmC and DMC run as concurrent ongoing series by answering questions this way. All people had to do was support both! It stuck with me because it was completely absurd, and somehow people bought into it because of the language being used and the weird notion that game companies would never mislead consumers to sell them something.
 

SOLDIER

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Oh come on! I wish people would stop being so damn inflexible about what is acceptable for female characters in our pro-feminism society. Crying is not a fucking sign of weakness, it's a sign of humanity, and compassion. Jack Bauer was one of the most bad ass characters on television, and that dude cried a lot.
He was also a man.

It's okay as long as it's a man.
 

thefro

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May 14, 2006
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Zelda has a long history of 'brave lad rescues beautiful princess' and as time went on that started to change to 'brave lad assists beautiful and helpful princess'.

That's what it is, really. What the series is and has been about. Don't see any need to change it. It's fun to play a classic swashbuckling adventure like this with old-school themes. I like it, anyway.
Zelda's been portrayed as capable and clever since the first NES game (where she hid the Triforce of Wisdom from Ganon).

She's a lot different than Peach on that front.

Obviously the games explicitly started showing her being more active starting with A Link to the Past and especially Ocarina of Time, but that's always been part of the back-story.
 
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Sometimes feels like people want him to say, 'yes, well done, you spoiled the surprise' if it turns out to be true.