Link has always been the starring protagonist in The Legend of Zelda series. Yes, Link, not Zelda. Link is the player’s connection to the land of Hyrule. Link is you. Well, that used to be the case. Now Link no longer truly represents the majority of the players and the player never had a choice. Hyrule Warriors changes that.
A Link Between Worlds
Although not the true origin of his name, Link’s name evolved to symbolic of his status as a “link” between the player and the game world. Eiji Aonuma, the director for The Legend of Zelda series, has stated, “When a player is playing a Zelda game, my desire is for the player to truly become Link—that’s why we named him Link, so the player is linked to the game and to the experience.”
Blond, blue-eyed, traditionally left-handed, with a fondness for green, music, and animals, and tends to be reserved with words. This is Link.
Link has become more and more detailed with each Zelda iteration. He has evolved to have his own distinct characteristics and personality. Blond, blue-eyed, traditionally left-handed, with a fondness for green, music, and animals, and tends to be reserved with words. This is Link. As a result, Link is no longer representative of everyone who plays him.
There is nothing wrong with Link gaining his own identity. However, if his role is to serve as a representative catalyst for players to interact with his world, many people are left out of the picture.
Diversity in Hyrule
As Link has evolved as a character, so too has his world and the people who live within it. There are now a multitude of different races and cultures within the land of Hyrule: Hylians, Zoras, Gorons, Sheikah, Twili, etc.
Even Princess Zelda, the namesake of the series, has changed to be more than just a damsel in distress. She is capable of fighting and taking the lead too. Despite this, she is often designated to the role of a hapless maiden and never given any limelight, even when equipped with a sword.
The player is given no choice. No, you can’t play as Zelda. No, you can’t be a Zora. You will be Link. You will be a blond, blue-eyed, Hylian male. Hyrule Warriors changes all of that.
Player’s Choice in Hyrule Warriors
Hyrule Warriors is the love-child of Koei Tecmo and Nintendo. A mix between Dynasty Warriors series and The Legend of Zelda franchise. With this collaboration carries over a unique Dynasty Warriors element: a diverse cast of playable characters.
Players now they have the option to play who they please, whether that be a demonic sword spirit, a Goron sage, or the king of the Gerudo.
For the first time, Princess Zelda is playable as a main character that fights alongside Link as his equal. She’s not stuck in some tower waiting for rescue and she’s not some ghostly sidekick. She’s kickin’ butt and takin’ names. There’s also a variety of other female characters to play as: Princess Ruto, Midna, Fi, Agitha, etc.
Also, the player no longer limited to being Hylian. Players now they have the option to play who they please, whether that be a demonic sword spirit, a Goron sage, or the king of the Gerudo.
It is truly exciting to see Hyrule Warriors provide this choice. It goes beyond fan service. It allows players to pick who they want to be in the Zelda universe. This is a true “link” between worlds.