At some point in the development process for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the newest installment in Nintendo's wildly popular Legend of Zelda video game series, there was talk of a potential female hero. This hero would be a gender-swapped version of iconic series protagonist Link.
This was scrapped in the idea stage, according to a new Gamespot interview with Nintendo producer Eiji Aonuma, whose answers were translated by a Nintendo interpreter. Instead, the game's production team considered making the titular princess, Zelda, the protagonist.
"[We] decided that if we're going to have a female protagonist, it's simpler to have Princess Zelda as the main character," Aonuma said. Yet that idea was shot down, because according to the Gamespot interview, "If we have princess Zelda as the main character who fights, then what is Link going to do?"
The response online was vocal, to say the least.
There are myriad ways for a character, even a former main character, to be involved with a story despite not being the lead. Make him the victim! Make him a sidekick! But really, more importantly: Who cares what happens to Link?
Link has been the lead character in over a dozen titles just in the main series. He will be the lead in plenty more. He is the series' mascot. He is not going anywhere. No one needs to worry about Link.
So why not make Zelda the protagonist for one game? The series is literally named after her. It is, as some Twitter users noted, her legend.
There's a possibility that Nintendo's translation of Aonuma's answer stripped it of some context — but it's Nintendo's interpreter. This is the message the company wants to share. Putting Link out of the spotlight, even just for one game, is too much to consider. For the foreseeable future, Zelda's legend remains out of her hands.