The Big Picture: Link Be A Lady

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INeedAName:
If they did make Link a woman, would they make Zelda a man? I mean, in some of the games, there's a romantic tension between the two. Of course, they could simply omit that for the theoretical installment, or, more interestingly, keep it and have lesbian undertones for the game. Two birds with one stone. Would THAT make the game industry drop its jaw or what?

As far as making Zelda a man goes, I think that would be a little bit more difficult than making Link a woman, since Zelda is basically the reincarnated avatar of the goddess Hylia.

Link, meanwhile, is basically The Hero Hyrule Needs Right Now.

What's the real reason why people want Link to be a lady? I'm getting the impression that those who want Link to be female just want to act out their fantasies and don't care for diversity in video games. I'm also a bit creeped out by Bob's analysis of Link in the video. I really don't like how he's making assumptions about Link's appearance based on gender stereotypes since it has the unintentional effect of reinforcing the stereotypes that bot men and women work so hard to break away from. Since when has horseback riding and archery been considered feminine?

Fappy:
As cool as it would be I'd actually prefer that they just go all in and make Zelda the protagonist for a change. Who doesn't want to play a magic ninja elf who is wise-as-fuck?

They already did this with Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, granted it was one of the CD-i games refuse to acknowledge the existence of, but it was done once!

MCerberus:

I'd... like some co-op opportunities here. Team up Link and Zelda, especially since Zelda has always been better (and more effective)as a tom-boy than in a dress.

Erm... They've already done this too. Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. In this game, Zelda dies (at the beginning) and becomes your companion throughout the game (similar to Navi). At points of the game Zelda's able to possess darknuts and help Link through dungeons using this power. Unlike the CD-i games, this one's a real Zelda game, and the idea has been done.

They should just go all in on the androgenousness in a game and never specify one way or the other. Make it a running gag through the game.

Still waiting for a Sheik game though....

Alexander Kirby:
But it would be so expensive to animate a female link!

I know. People talk about voice acting that's just peanuts. Where the real cost goes is the jiggle physics. Team Ninja has to dedicate half their budget to that on every game creating a slide in game play quality. Also it's hard to animate fighting without clipping issues since the giant breasts get in the way. Also how exactly is power armor supposed to work in zero G when you have to have your midriff showing. It's not realistic I tell you. Don't even get me started on having to program crying for the proper emotional responses. Water Physics People. It's part of the package. Also what if she gets pregnant. You ever try to code giving birth into an already complex boss fight. I didn't think so. Also... Okay I think the horse is sufficiently beaten to death but still I would not be surprised if some people nodded their head to some of this stuff. God damn it what have I done.

Flatfrog:

Dexterity:
Don't suddenly switch Link to a female and say "this is for the feminists".

Why not switch Link to a female just for a change? They've done plenty of other things to his character over the various incarnations.

For the exact reasoning that I just said in the post you quoted.

Flatfrog:
Oh - and incidentally if there's one other character who they could do this with and literally not have to defend the decision at all, it's The Doctor from Doctor Who.

They've even mentioned the idea in-show before and in an official parody made for Comic Relief a few years before the new series started called The Curse of Fatal Death they even went ahead and did it. Obvious a parody episode isn't the best precedent, but it does at least show they're aware it's a possibility.

Weaver:
Aren't Wii U sales like crazy up right now? I already have one so, yeah.

Beat X-Box One last month. I think it might do the same in June, but I haven't checked the weekly numbers.

VVThoughtBox:
Since when has horseback riding and archery been considered feminine?

Ignoring the actual discussion on gender politics for a second:

Horseback riding is very much a thing associated with young girls. The stereotypical little girl's wish is to own a pony. Based on my experiences with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the Girl Scouts have a much stronger emphasis on Horseback riding in their summer camps. I'm not sure why that is or where it started (And obviously the male Knight In Shining Armor also rides a horse) but the little girl with her pet pony is definitely a thing that exists as a stereotype, and to a greater degree than the little boy with a pony.

Archery also gets associated with women somewhat frequently. If I had to guess, it's because of wanting to keep the female characters away from physical fighting while still actually being part of the fight. Again: I'm not sure where it started, but if you look at the Chronicles of Narnia, the oldest brother (I don't remember names) is given a sword while the oldest sister is given a bow. Hunger Games is probably the biggest driving force behind the stereotype right now, but again: Having the female character holding the bow is a thing which is well entrenched in pop culture.

Since Link has rarely been the actual star of the game (Zelda has almost always held that spot), I'd say give players the option of choosing their gender.
Link being male was only relevant because of the cartoon and comic on the side, in order to get more attention to the games and sell more copies. Now, Link is a very neutral, voiceless character that could be either. In other words, not having a female version is pretty silly, however just replacing the classic "because gender issues" makes no sense to me.

So unless the game has specific interactions based on gender, this should be a no-brainer to implement.

How important is this though? Not very.
Genderswapping is not earth shattering, as Bob claims, and you'll probably hear a feminist or two argue that you're just applying male features to a female character, thereby it not having its own defining features, characteristics or personality. I get the symbolism of what Bob says, but it's nowhere near a blow for equality; At best it raises a bit of awareness, at worst it's a marketing trick.

I respect that Bob sticks to his guns, but his opinions far outstretches his knowledge of "what would be best" for equality, gaming, movies or processed foods (that last one being the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard him argue for).

You know, while I agree that it would be pretty awesome if they made Link a girl this time around, I seriously doubt its going to happen. Even though I kind of hope it will - Nintendo has always been a bit stuck in their ways - they'll shake things up a little as time goes on, but never too much, and its really hard for me to believe that they would be daring enough to make Link a girl.

But its definitely an interesting idea, and they could do it and fit it into the series canon easily enough.

Uriel_Hayabusa:
I must confess that I breathed a sigh of relief that the appearance of The Game Overthinker and pals at the beginning was just a "tease".

That being said, I agree with Bob that it would be good publicity for Nintendo if they made this Link female. Though I don't know if that would help in "fighting back" at the misogyny in some parts of the gaming community. Think of it this way: if we dismiss the notion that violent games can make people violent, then how can someone think that more "fair representation" of female/gay/trans/ characters would lead to more acceptance of these groups?

One is a knee-jerk reaction/misconception about the nature of violence when used in entertainment, the other is legit reasoning based around social exposure to certain types of reinforcement. Having games portray women in a better light, even without the whole "we'll think better!" bit is a reflection of something actually occurring.

Y'know, this is one of the only franchises where I wouldn't have the slightest issue with gender-swapping the star, and Bob hit the nail on the head with every reason it was justifiable both in gameplay and in canon. The fact of the matter is, as long as Link continues to be more of a player avatar than a story-driven character (and let's face it, this has long been a weakness of this franchise), you can make Link whatever you want and it won't make much of a difference. And frankly, I think that's what the gaming industry needs most. Not a character who is loudly female, who exists more to send a message than anything else, but a character who is female just because. I think that'd send a much stronger message than any politically or ideologically motivated female character ever could, because it wouldn't come across as preachy.

P.S. Thanks

Lightknight:
Wait, Link actually being a woman would be a big difference? No, Link has always looked like a woman. Sorry. Unless there's actual nudity then it won't make any difference as far as I can tell.

True link has always been kinda bishie...I mean if he grew his hair a little longer he could pass for Zelda. That said a gender-flipped Link? uhm... that'd really be a big deal. A few polygon shifts and a voice actor with a higher pitch (assuming they don't do the silent hero thing). Really, that's 'earth shaking'. No Earth Shaking would be something skewing the reincarnation cycle where in Link is born the Prince of Hyrule and Zelda the scrapy Tomboy that is the PC. That's Earth Shaking.

Having the prince of Hyrule be Ganon and Link Be the dark warrior seeking to destroy it... well that would be mind blowing.

I thought it was Zelda in that trailer. Thus the blue, and the bow. And yes a male Link will be in the game but you will play as Zelda as the hero.... right?

I could write that story with my eyes closed. Ganon shows up while Link and Zelda are babies, banishes link to some dark prison, and a good witch steals baby Zelda away before Ganon overruns the kingdom and becomes the ruler. In secret baby Zelda is raised to be a hero. One day Moblins show up and kill said granny witch and Zelda must go on a quest to rescue link to obtain the triforce of courage to use against the usurper Ganon. 1 2 3 DONE.

Fappy:
As cool as it would be I'd actually prefer that they just go all in and make Zelda the protagonist for a change. Who doesn't want to play a magic ninja elf who is wise-as-fuck?

I'm okay with Link being either gender, but I'd rather the Legend of Zelda games stick to just the hero.
I find badassery with Zelda in her just being a soft, but forceful political leader. Kinda like how she was in Twilight Princess. I would love to see a game where we get to play as Zelda, but I think it would be best to leave the action-RPGing to Link, whether (s)he be female or male.

I`m still banking on the fact that this Link is fully customizable now like in the recent Pokemon games. I mean, look at him/her! Swappable sexes, fully interchangeable outfits, that`ll totally rad!

Rellik San:

Sigmund Av Volsung:
Also, CDProjekt are Polish devs, not like the US-dominant game devs who make the majority of "burly white dude" game's protagonists. Cultural variation does make a difference, and since they're one of the few prominent Eastern European devs out there, I don't think they deserve as much crap as say Activision does for their constant lack of well-written female protagonists.

Also worthy note, the Witcher is adapted from a series of fantasy novels, so staying true to the source material is a concern there, that said, no reason other stories in that world couldn't be told from a womans perspective and it's not like it doesn't have it's fair share of strong female characters... who shockingly of all, whilst yes, work as sexual motivation, actually instigate the sex themselves and it's seen not specifically as a connection, but as something that is simply pleasurable for both parties... WAAAAAAAH?! Strong, female leads, who not only instigate sex at their behest not the leads but also don't play it up as either something noble or a chaste act... who actually play it as just a thing people do? Crazy, that would never work, no one would want that in their video games.

Absolutely. And if you're familiar with the novels, you know that Geralt has a surrogate daughter named Ciri who was trained to fight at Kaer Morhen by the witchers. Very much a tomboy, and a strong female protagonist in the books. She's actually going to be in the upcoming game, Wild Hunt. The series has much to draw from and work with.

Where do you live that women have always been told there is a ceiling to their progression? The 1950's? The Congo?

WhiteTigerShiro:

JPArbiter:
as far as "no one has ever taken a male lead and made them female before." I cite Starbuck and Boomer in the RDM version of Battlestar Galactica. both male characters in the original, re-imagined as women in the update.

Battlestar Galactica isn't exactly what I would call "mainstream". When Bob said "no one", what he meant was "no one with widespread appeal even outside of the nerd culture." The Battlestar Galactica case can make for a decent example, sure, but the series itself just doesn't have the mainstream appeal for anything they do to "make a statement" in the same way as something like Zelda.

If he wanted to say that he would have said it. Simply saying "no one" has more impact but is false and saying the rest removes the impact of the argument so he might as well not have said anything.

Make Link female? Sure, why not? It'd be a nice change of pace. Not sure if they'd actually go through with it, but hey, sometimes it's nice to be surprised.

Don't care what Aunoma said, if Link still looks like a 14yo girl when this comes out I'm going to go on believing she's a 14yo girl.

Falterfire:
Oh thank god. I was terrified we were going to have to sit through another week of Game Overthinker.

Bob, I love most of your stuff, but I just do not like Game Overthinker.

I second that, classic Big Picture is awesome. The Overthinker thing last week was so annoying i had to turn it off half way through. YAY for classic Big Picture......now go do something on GotG. :-)

It may not change much of the story or themes, but it will give the kids more representation. Most kids are forced to play as men in these games, and while that isn't inherently a problem (and definitely isn't an issue in individual cases), the constant stream of images and games and movies where men are the heroes and women need to be rescued does have an affect on perception of gender. So yeah, it may not have a huge impact on the story, but it could have a huge impact on the young people playing it.

"I don't understand why anyone thought differently, joke or not, the Legend of Zelda franchise has been around since 87, they aren't going to rock the boat now because some loud and obnoxious gaming minority wants them to.

Ultimately the fact that some people consider Zelda to be a classic damsel makes you realize how little these people know about the franchise.

LTTP, its Zelda who wakes up Link up and guides him through out the game, even when she's been captured, you don't even rescue Zelda as the end "prize" you get the trifoce and save the world.

Ocarina of Time, zelda in her full aspect of wisdom form as well as a go-getter in the form of Sheik, hell some might say what she did was a bit cruel, send a naive 10 year old on a perilous quest to get the master sword.

WW, she's the captain of a crew pirates and actually helps you in the final battle vs Ganon.

TP, guiding you and fighting the good fight in the twilight realm where see the warrior aspect of her.

Skyward, she is the goddess reincarnation and the entire time is working toward purifying herself to achieve this goal, you think you're chasing her but you're not.

Spirit Tracks, she's actually with you all the time and helps you.

Zelda has always been the other half of Link in regards to gameplay, one doesn't work without the other, that is her role in the lore and will most likely continue to be so for many years, the fact that she isn't playable does not diminish her role.

Also, Link's design has also been quite effeminate, especially as technology got better, I think its called bishonen? He's meant to appeal to japanese fangirls because of this, that's something else to keep in mind, Zelda is a japanese franchise first and foremost, all designs will be done with that audience in mind, the fact that the west like it is irrelevant. We are not the target market.

And ultimately, women still compromise a very small amount of the gaming community, the numbers from that poll that people like to parade around is to small a group, I'd say about 20% of the gaming community is female, as one of these 20%, it doesn't bother me that Link is a male still and quite frankly it never will.

If people want the female Link so bad, do it yourself, there are many tools available to help you reach this goal and the gaming world isn't just going to change overnight to accommodate use till women are a much bigger force in the gaming community. Note that I said COMMUNITY, there's plenty of women working on these games, hell the lore master and by Auonumas own admission, knows more than he does, is a woman.

I truly hope this doesn't become a thing or yet another dumb campaign against a company and a creator because of a harmless joke." - Weisritter, http://www.destructoid.com/link-will-be-male-after-all-in-the-upcoming-wii-u-zelda-game-276490.phtml

Looks like someone has been drinking the Anita Sarkeesian kool-aid again. "No female characters in new IP" except for Splatoon, which is all female characters. And the continuing kvetching about ACU not having a playable female character as though Ubisoft's argument were "we couldn't figure out a female character, so we made all male characters" as opposed to "doing it in multiplayer wasn't worth it, since it would just be a reskin and one the player never actually plays as, and would have been nearly impossible to add to the storyline of the game because we'd already done all of that."

Is this weird chimera of Bob and Anita (Bonita?) really saying that the fact that Ubisoft chose to make a game with a certain plot and certain main character is bad because it was a male lead? Did Beyond Good and Evil suck because it featured "only" a female lead?

Sure, I'd play a Zelda game where Link was a woman. Heh, besides, it'd throw a wrench into the whole "Zelda's the girl" thing.

Unfortunately, I don't think that's going to happen, no matter how much noise there was at E3. Because Nintendo is a Japanese company and doesn't have a track record of making things based on what the gamers want.

Ehh, Like a few others in this thread, I would rather just play as Zelda than play as a female link. But still kidnapped and all. Basically, you know those chapters in the first Paper Mario where you play as Peach and you sneak around the castle subtly trying to foil Bowser's Plans? Yeah, I want a full game of that.

Also, I keep seeing people say they want a tomboy Zelda if Zelda's playable. But why though? Maybe it's just me, but If I'm playing as a Princess, I want to be a refined, elegant Lady-of-War, but that might be personal taste

Captcha: play a game. Okay Captcha, I will! I just picked up the PARANOIA bundle and I've been itching to test this out.

Dexterity:
I disagree with a lot of these points.

First, link has had the same design since the beginning. When someone mentions Link, they think of the rather androgynous green hooded male with a sword and shield. It's not somehow sexist to keep Link as a male, it just keeps him close to the design which everyone is most nostalgic with.

So because it's always been done a certain way, it must always be done a certain way? I guess that's why I still use candles as my primary light source and tell time by sun dial.

Second, if there's one thing I hate more than not enough females in games, it's designers forcing these aspects into character design just to try and create the illusion that they're culturally or gender sensitive when in reality they just designed a token character.

What, exactly would you define as a token character? I've always seen it as one character thrown in to the main group of characters for the sake of an issue, or diversity. Example, Token Black, the only black kid in South Park. That said, if they take a game with a singular protagonist, like Zelda or Assassin's Creed, and make that protagonist a female, I fail to see how that's making them a Token.

If you're going to put a female in your game, then do it either with a new IP, or with a series that doesn't have fully established characters to represent the franchise (e.g. Assassin's Creed). Don't suddenly switch Link to a female and say "this is for the feminists".

Link is a different person each time. It's not like they're giving an established character a sex change. They'd just be saying this time the hero is a girl. Same with Assassin's Creed. Different person each time (With the exception of Ezio).

Falterfire:
Oh thank god. I was terrified we were going to have to sit through another week of Game Overthinker.

Bob, I love most of your stuff, but I just do not like Game Overthinker.

Exactly!!!
My mood dropped instantly, and had these grating characters been on screen a second longer I'd have turned off the video alltogether.

DON'T bring them back again.

Link a bit of a blank slate to begin with so, him being a woman? I doubt anyone would... Oh Now we Really Need Ganon to be a Woman, that would be super! :)

I still don't get the fury over this topic, why should it matter what gender a character is?

Give me a female as a main character, I'll play the game if its good. Give me a male as a main character, I'll play the game if its good. Gameplay overrides gender in my eyes.

"Gaming has never had this and wouldn't it be weird if Nintendo of all people were to do it?"

Okay, paraphrased, but still, and not watching it again. Coming from a guy who stated outright a few weeks ago that people who don't research their stuff before sounding off about it are idiots, and then went on about how Marvel heroes are subversions of old legends and archetypes...

I laughed out loud at that. As a hint: Hulk = Werewolf. You know... tortured soul fighting to retain his humanity and keep the cursed beast within under control. Or: a person fighting to contain primal urges/id.

The others he stated are about as obvious.

But in this...

Samus. Just Samus.

You know, that icon of female ability done with a perfectly executed pulling of the rug? Back in the 80s? You may have heard of it.

There was a thing, it was a while ago... oh yeah, in the far off year of 2010. When they handed off the reins of the franchise and made her more submissive, etc. Gamers all took that well, celebrating that they had...

No... wait... no... they all lost their s*** over that betrayal of the character. Yeah... "fanboys" can't handle strong female characters. Yep.

Oh, and the gender flipping thing. Nintendo did something similar in another game. It was crossdressing, granted, and a male character revealed to be a woman. What was it called...

Oh yeah. Ocarina of Time, but yeah, you've probably never heard of one of the most celebrated games of all time... in the same franchise. But, well, no one ever heard of that, so probably doesn't count...

Mcoffey:
What, exactly would you define as a token character? I've always seen it as one character thrown in to the main group of characters for the sake of an issue, or diversity. Example, Token Black, the only black kid in South Park.

Not the best example as it's played for jokes rather than to fill a kind of quota.

I miss Chef :(

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