Not that long ago news of a new 3DS Legend of Zelda game was released. The game is a multiplayer game in which you could play as multiple links (Which reminds me of the Four swords games). However its been getting alot of hatred for one little thing: There isn’t a female link.
Hiramasa Shikata, the games director, did try to give his own explanation but i admit he didn’t word it that well:
There’s this kingdom, an event happens, and the king needs heroes. So, he puts out a call for heroes to gather and one of those is this guy, Link. He sees this audition, basically, “Heroes needed; apply here,” and that’s the start of his adventure.
The story calls for this sort of legend/prophecy where heroes will come together to help solve a problem. And in that, they are male characters. So, because the game is set with that as the story background, you cannot choose a gender; you are a male character.
This quote has been wrongly used as an amplifier and the man has gotten alot of negative words thrown his way because of it. However i doubt this was what he really meant to say. If anything the question of why there isn’t a female link wasn’t something i thought would be asked, and he probably didn’t expect it either. When forced to come up with a quick answer its likely someone would make a mistake.
While i could say something like “Link is too iconic” its not enough for some people and besides I’m not fully against seeing a Female version of link if done right (imagine if Link went to and from an Alternate universe where everyone was gender swapped).
The real way is as simple as saying a few examples. If its just because he’s popular then think of why there hasn’t been complaints for a female Nathan Drake, Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, Master Chief etc. If its because there are multiple versions of link then think why has no there been no complaints for a female James Bond. Or was this simply because it has multiplayer elements, which caused people to come up with false expectations. The most you’d get either way would be an illusion of choice.
But allow me to go a step further, just like Hiramasa Shikata implied the characters and the story are linked together. Characters cannot simply exist in games because people want them too, they’d all need to be part of that one story and over diversifying your options limits what can be done in the story itself. In fact they’d obviously need to explain why there’s a female link if it ever was to happen. Imagine what movies and books would be like of two versions had to be made (one where the main character is a guy and one where they’re a girl).
Overall, this reminds me alot of when i wrote my Mario Kart and Diversity post in which someone had asked why Mario Kart didn’t have a Non-white human in the official cast. This won’t affect the overall popularity of the game and you’ll probably forget this ever happened at some point. Thanks for reading.