The lights are on
In most Zelda games, the titular princess is nothing more than a goal for the player to acquire. She is a princess in peril, and Link is her knight in shining armor. She has grown beyond that simple role recent releases, however, and has become a more realized, fleshed-out character. In Skyward Sword, she had a long history with Link, performed her own fated duties, and went on her own adventure in tandem with Link’s – something shown in detail during the game’s credits.
If Zelda’s assorted appearances in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s trailers and promotional material are any indication, it appears she will continue to play a larger role in the story. We spoke with Eiji Aonuma specifically about the character, and what we can expect from her.
“I think it is really important for the players to feel like they are Link,” Aonuma says. “Whether the player will feel like they are the main character is a very important element in this game, and if the player is looking at the storyline from an outsider’s perspective, then they may not feel that real connection with those characters. So that deep involvement is necessary to feel a deeper relationship with the characters. Especially when Link is growing, or the characters are growing, and can feel that growth with them, then you will feel an even closer relationship with them.”
There is a moment from the game’s most recent trailer showing a distraught Zelda throwing herself into Link’s arms as she bursts into tears. “[Laughs] I don’t want to get too deep into it, but I do want you to know that Zelda does have a lot of emotions and expressions, different kinds of expressions in this game, and for the trailer we chose one that was very extreme,” Aonuma says. “Once you start playing Breath of the Wild, I want you to explore and see these different sides of Zelda, different emotions that she evokes.”
Aonuma was unwilling to go too deep into the game's story, but did offer a tease regarding some of the emotional states Zelda will experience. “This is a little bit of a secret, but Zelda will actually get mad at you at Breath of the Wild. She will scold you,” Aonuma says. “Since this game is open, players will be able to play at their own will, and it’s a very freestyle type of playing, I can’t guarantee every player will see it. Especially if they are heading toward the goal a little too quickly, then they may miss these things – like Zelda getting mad at you – but if you walk around in the world and if you encounter different environments and elements, then these are things you will probably experience.”
In the game’s assorted trailers, we’ve seen Zelda interacting with Link in different ways. We’ve seen her under Link’s protection.
We’ve seen her dressed in blue, just like Link, riding horseback.
We've also seen her, in the those same clothes, in what appears to be a moment of muted distress.
We’ve seen her upset, apparently shaken by something.
And we’ve also seen her in what might be considered a more traditional dress, performing some kind of ritual while Link sits, possibly injured, to the side.
In tandem with these images, we've also seen Link and Zelda running through the mud, maybe attempting to escape a guardian?
The clip of Zelda and Link running is very brief, but you can see it here.
Hers is the voice that wakes Link, saying “Open your eyes. Wake up Link,” in the beginning of the game, and we’ve also heard an older man’s voice saying “You must save her – my daughter,” while Zelda appears on-screen.
Her full role in the game is still a mystery, but the evidence – as well as Aonuma’s quote – point to her having an active role in the story. You can find more images of Zelda in the gallery below. And for all our online coverage of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, click the banner below.
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