The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has blown gamers away since it was revealed at E3 2016, but before its reveal there was one big discussion happening in the community: should players be able to choose between male and female playable characters? It turns out there's no gender option in Breath of the Wild, but Aonuma specifically designed Link to appear androgynous so both men and women can relate to the character.
This was one of the talking points on this week's episode of Nintendo Week, our Nintendo-themed podcast here at Gamnesia. Check out the discussion video above for our full thoughts, or keep reading below for a brief, brief summary.
I've never found myself leaning towards either side of the debate, but I'm convinced there are certain story elements in Breath of the Wild that would be compromised if Link were an avatar with a gender-swap option—after all, it seems there's no option to even name him this time around, so at least for this particular Zelda game it seems certain that Link is a character rather than an avatar. While it would be nice for a series like Zelda to find a creative solution to the demand for a playable female character in a time where their whole message is breaking the Zelda series' conventions, we think there's nothing wrong with focusing on such an iconic gaming hero as Link, especially because he's already resonated so well with boys and girls alike.
Despite their creative decisions, Aonuma's explanation seems a little weak, so it's understandable why those who want a female option in one form or another aren't satisfied with his answer. Even if he's trying to keep these story elements secret, he could have easily disclosed that the game and the story they want to create at this moment in time is one where Link is a character with a pre-determined name and gender.
For our full in-depth thoughts beyond this brief write-up, be sure to check out the discussion video above. If you like it, you can subscribe to Nintendo Week on iTunes, where we release new episodes every Wednesday, or you could check out the full episode. If you don't like long-form podcasts, you can subscribe to us on YouTube, where our discussion segments are uploaded on Thursdays, and these select snippets from the rest of the podcast—which we call NWC—are uploaded throughout the week. If you like what you hear, we'd love it if you leave us a review on iTunes, where you can find episodes covering tons of other subjects, or send us your feedback! We'd love to know what you think of the show, and how you think we can improve it.