Analysis Video Takes a Close Look at the Problems with Link’s Facial Expressions in Breath of the Wild
Posted on October 09 2017 by Kristen G. Rosario
Link being a silent protagonist has never really bothered me all that much. While I wouldn’t mind him talking (if just for a couple of lines), his facial expressions throughout the series have conveyed exactly what he feels in that moment. One particular gamer though feels that in the latest game, Breath of the Wild, Link’s face is just lacking in its expressiveness.
In Sycamore Street Studios latest episode of Mise-En-Game, they take a look at the cutscenes from Breath of the Wild. Through their analysis, it comes to narrator Tom’s attention that Link’s facial expressions in the game are really lacking in comparison to past Zelda titles; as in other games (like Skyward Sword and The Wind Waker), they are spot on for telling us what someone as quiet as Link is expressing. Tom even compares this idea to how well facial expressions were performed by Charlie Chaplin, an actor known for saying so much without speaking a single word.
It’s here that Tom realizes Link only has three faces in Breath of the Wild; stone-faced, surprised, and concerned. It appears Zelda Team has scaled back the number of expressions Link gives during cutscenes. He feels that Link’s lack of facial expressions hurts the overall visual storytelling of the game in comparison to Princess Zelda. Tom analyzes the memory cutscenes, wherein you can see that the princess has a wide range of emotions, both when she’s speaking and when she’s not. However during some of these moments, Link is just looking on with dead, flat stares. Tom points out that pretty much all of the cutscenes where Link’s present, the player is met with one of his three key face’s in Breath of the Wild, or there is an off-camera facial expression we never see. His belief is that because of this, all the cutscenes feel very one-sided in their emotions.
Tom also theorizes that all of these story deficiencies are due to the fact that the Zelda Team wanted Link to go back to his namesake as a “link” to the player. He backs up this theory by even showing how the game’s developers have stated that the way to play is all up to the player. It is up to them to determine what path they want to take with Link. Tom determines that this “gameplay over story” philosophy that developers use means that there will always be sacrifices. Overall though, he does feel that, because of the developers intent, we still really got a refreshing take on a Zelda title.
What do you think of this video? Do you believe that Link needed more facial expressions in Breath of the Wild? Let us know in the comments below.