When Nintendo gave us a preview of the upcoming Wii U installment of its 30-year-old adventure series The Legend of Zelda at the Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show last week, it started a bit of a hubbub on the Internet. And the buzz intensified after producer Eiji Aonuma suggested that the character in the trailer might not have been series hero Link.
This seemed to give people plenty of reason to go over the trailer frame by frame. After all, if the person in the video isn’t Link, whom could it be?
Here’s what fans came up with.
It could be series heroine Princess Zelda
Internet detectives quickly started pointing to evidence suggesting that the hero in the trailer might not even be male.
To be fair, Link has never been the most masculine-looking character. I think it’s the pointy ears and the slender, Ryan Gosling-esque hips. But a few people found some other indications that this character might be a lady.
For example, here’s a screencap that Twitter user ReRezTV offers:
It’s true. Link hasn’t had a ponytail before. He’s had earrings, though, so don’t go fishing for that red herring.
But maybe that isn’t enough to make a case. Fans also pointed out that the hero’s primary weapon in the video is a bow and arrow, not Link’s traditional sword. Specifically, the item is a Light Arrow.
And who has used Light Arrows before? Well, Link has used them in several Legend of Zelda entries since the Nintendo 64’s Ocarina of Time. But at the end of both The Wind Waker for the GameCube and Spirit Tracks for the Nintendo DS, Princess Zelda takes up the Light Arrows to help Link defeat the final bosses. And in Twilight Princess (GameCube/Wii), Link never uses the item at all — Zelda does.
That’s a lot to speculate from some hair and a stick, but it’s interesting.
It could be Link’s sister
Operating from the assumption that this character is female, some gamers noted that the person in the trailer is wearing clothes similar to the ones pre-quest Link wears on his island home in The Wind Waker — not the traditional green garb.
And in that game, the hero has a sister named Aryll whom he spends the entire first act trying to rescue. So, this theory assumes that the Wii U game takes place years after The Wind Waker in a time when Link is too old to adventure (being, like, 20 years old or something), and so the hero mantle falls to the next person in his bloodline.
So in this case, Aryll is more or less Disney’s Mulan.
It could be Link and Zelda’s kid. Or Ganondorf! Or …
The last major bit of evidence from the trailer that points to someone other than Link is that this character is right-handed. Link has been a southpaw in every Legend of Zelda title ever, with the exception of the Wii version of Twilight Princess, in which the developers flipped the entire game so that the majority of players wouldn’t feel weird using the “wrong” hand for the motion-controlled sword.
But in the GameCube version of the same release, he was left-handed.
Regardless, if the trailer character is a righty, many fans say it can’t be Link. One possible explanation is that the character is the child (male or female) of a previous Link and Princess Zelda, which would explain why it looks a lot like Link. And then, I guess Dad gave that person his old shirt.
Here’s some discussion from news-aggregator site N4G.
And here are some more “out of the box” ideas.
The bracelets observation is a good one, but the more pertinent point to take from this conversation is that the desert-dwelling Gerudo haven’t appeared in the series since Four Swords Adventures all the way back in 2004, so seeing them return to the series could be cool.
Since Ganondorf is often some kind of pig-man (and always a redhead), however, I think we can rule him out.
It would also be really weird at this point to introduce the idea of cloning to the traditionally medieval and magical world of the Zelda series, but we’re just brainstorming here.
Actually, you know what? It could be Link, damn it
All this theorizing, speculation, and random-ass guessing is fun, and the Internet exists for these kinds of things. But, some people want no part of the conversation. You can always find some Occam’s Razor adherent telling everyone else not to get so worked up.
This story had those people, too, like colonel179 up there. Why can’t it just be Link?
Well, I have good news for the “no big deal” crowd: The hero is Link. In an interview with MMGN, Aonuma confirmed that yes, that was Link in the trailer, and the producer was just making a joke.
“You know, you have to show Link when you create a trailer for a Zelda announcement,” he said, adding, “I don’t want people to get hung up on the way Link looks because ultimately Link represents the player in the game.”
So, that one’s settled, and now we can move on to the real question: Was Link’s horse in that trailer really Epona?