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Why Can’t Link Be a Girl in Legend of Zelda Games? Spoiler: There’s No Reason

Hero of Time not Shero of Time, amirite? *Highest bro-five.*

Personally, I’m all about Link as a stand in for the player and getting a gender option in forthcoming Zelda titles, but with each Link (outisde of direct sequels like Majora’s Mask) being a different person anyway, a female Link wouldn’t bother me in the least.

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And for all the people out there who say, “But they should just make a game where Zelda is the hero!” Yeah, that’d be cool. We could have that, too; those two options aren’t mutually exclusive. It is, in fact, possible to make more than one game with a female protagonist, though I can understand where the current state of gaming would lead you to believe otherwise.

But there’s no reason—when all it would take is some new voice clips, a slightly different character design, and some pronoun changes—not to at the very least give players the option for Link to be female when the character is already intended to be a placeholder for the player. That much is indisputable as far as I’m concerned. “But they’d alienate their core male fanbase”? That defense is founded on so many baseless assumptions it’s hard to know where to start, and all the rest of the arguments I’ve seen I’m pretty sure are just different ways to fill in a false equivalence Mad Libs.

Nintendo’s 2014 E3 press conference showed a strong grasp on what their audience likes to see, and the recent iterations of Smash Bros. did a great job with gender-swappable characters with Bowser Jr., Wii Fit Trainer, Villager, Robin, and even Marth and Lucina in spirit.

I’d love to see them build on that going forward. I just hope they don’t base their choices too much off of Hyrule Warriors‘ sales performance, because no amount of playable female characters could boost my interest in a decade-late Dyansty Warriors spinoff.

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct <em>Geekosystem</em> (RIP), and then at <em>The Mary Sue</em> starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at <em>Smash Bros.</em>

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