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Bowsette Plus-Ultra

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Ever since the initial Breath of the Wild sequel trailer dropped, the possibility of Princess Zelda as a protagonist has lingered (if it wasn't already present). While the latest teaser trailer seems to all but dismiss the possibility of a playable Princess Zelda, I feel it's an idea that's lingered in the fan consciousness for upwards of thirty years.

So I ask this of the many Zelda fans here: how would you handle the transition from Link as a playable character to Zelda? How would you write her as the main character? Do you think she could carry a game on her own?
 
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I think that Zelda could absolutely carry a game on her own. In terms of handling the transition, the story could be the reverse of Wind Waker where the villain (doesn't have to be Ganondorf, maybe we could get a different incarnation of Demise/Ganon this time) after being thwarted time and again by the hero with the triforce of courage decides to try a different approach and finds and kills Link before he starts on his heroic journey. He then turns on the castle and Zelda escapes, and realizing that since Link is dead she's the only one left to face Ganon. I would write her character similar to how Crystal Dynamics handled Lara Croft in the reboot trilogy, where Zelda starts out as a reluctant and naive hero who is forced to learn to survive and grow to face Ganon, and ends up being a total badass by the end. Link's spirit (or a previous incarnation of Link) could serve as a guide for Zelda and play into her escape from the castle and transformation into the hero.

For gameplay, I would look to Super Smash Brothers Melee and Assassin's Creed Liberation for inspiration and have Zelda and Sheik forms with different abilities. Stealth would be much more important as Zelda doesn't have the master sword or the same physical strength as Link and wouldn't fare as well in a straight-up fight (at least not until much later in the game when she becomes more badass and gets appropriate weapons and armor). Zelda when not disguised as Sheik would also get access to powerful magic, but using that magic draws a lot of attention as magic users are quite rare in Hyrule. Sheik is basically a ninja stealth master with a lot of mobility for traversing dungeons and such, and maybe we could get some parkour gameplay as well.
 

Uwu_Oocoo2

Joy is in video games and colored pencils
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(First off Bowsette I love the tags on this thread XD)
I think a zelda-centered game would be really cool as a change of pace. Maybe not as a new direction for the series, but something I would like to see for sure. BotW and AoC focused so hard on Zelda it makes you wonder why Link is the main character at all. In most other games, however, she doesn't have that much of a story around her.
Some ideas for if they were to make a Zelda Zelda game- go back to Tetra. Tetra was one of the most popular Zeldas, except for when she was Zelda ironically. She had a lot of personality, and a Zelda with her pirate-like spirit would be fun to play. Another good idea would be something focusing more on her magic, lead a little bit away from the usual swordplay. As long as it isn't "Link got captured guess it's my turn now" anything sounds cool.
 

twilitfalchion

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Personally, I'd be all for a Zelda game with her as the protagonist. Link is fine, but Zelda has such untapped potential as a lead character that there's no legitimate reason why the series has gone this long without giving her her due time in the spotlight.

As far as how she's written, I think Nintendo had the right idea with Tetra (sans the killing off of her personality in the second half of the game). How that kind of personality would fit into the plot would depend on the story being written, but I think that kind of spunky, independent flair is the best direction for Zelda as the MC. I also am quite fond of the idea of making her a stealth-centered character a la Sheik. From a gameplay perspective that'd be something Zelda has yet to do well in the series so far, so hopefully Nintendo could make something great out of a stealth-focused game instead of the half-baked "stealth" of past games.

I absolutely think she can carry a game of her own. It's her legend, after all. Link has rarely been the draw to Zelda games in the past as far as characters are concerned, IMO, but I think that writing Zelda in a compelling way to complement a well-crafted plot would go far in giving Zelda (the series) that narrative push it really needs, as well as finally letting the one usually being saved have time to shine.
 

mαrkαsscoρ

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I don't know if Zelda can ever be the full protagonist in a main series game, spin off sure though

as for a mainline game, best I can think is playable segments where you take control of her during parts of the story, or even a separate side story mode altogether
 
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Another way to have Zelda be the protagonist is to have a game where you're allowed to freely switch between Link/Zelda (and maybe other heroes) at any time so you can choose your character for the most part (some puzzles and story missions could require one or the other). Kind of like how AC: Syndicate handled things.

Also, if we do get a playable Zelda I want to see her be able to go full battlemage at some point (in addition to being able to go full ninja as Sheik).
 

Skunk

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I think something cool they could do with Zelda as the protagonist is have puzzles centered on music/magic. Maybe working physics puzzles like some of the ones in Breath of the Wild into having more rhythm-based solutions? Since the Hylian royal family passes down their magic in the form of music, I think it would be an interesting way to work the story into the gameplay.
 

Princess Niki

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I have always thought an OoT midquel would be cool by playing as Zelda learning how to become Shiek, and helping out the survivors of Hyrule while waiting for Link to wake up.
 

Hyrulian Hero

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She could absolutely be a protagonist but I'd be loath to see it in a Legend of Zelda game. It would sell as a Legend of Zelda game because the position of our culture in time is what it is but the story wouldn't be timeless and wouldn't stand up to scrutiny.

Most "first-world" cultures these days put a lot of effort into removing the differences between men and women because cultural Mar...you know, let's just say we put a lot of effort into ignoring the differences between men and women because we hold equality as one of the highest values. This has the poorly-aging effect of ignoring the adventuresome bent of men and the nurturing nature of women. I'm not saying anyone should take a certain position on it, I'm saying that humans have always seen men as providers and defenders and women as life-givers. Part of what makes the Legend of Zelda accessible is that it plays on universal anthropological tropes, what mankind throughout time subconsciously considers timeless truths.

Not to say that there aren't exceptions and sometimes those exceptions make for great media. What I think reaches people about Zelda though is that it doesn't pretend that exceptions are the rule.

What I'd like to see is a game featuring Zelda as the protagonist that doesn't just put her in the traditionally male role for the sake of representation or subversion of expectations. Give her a role that accentuates and promotes her femininity. I'm not talking boob armor, Nintendo can do better than that, they make fantastic games.
 
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If I were making Zelda the protagonist, I would essentially do Oracle of Ages (with its focus on puzzles) in 3D with an almost entirely female cast (Zelda, Impa, Din, Nayru, Farore, Ambi, Veran, Twinrova, the Gerudo, Laruto, Ruto, Saria (Fado), Midna) and have Link be left in charge of Hyrule. Zelda is in the land of Calatia on royal duties when Veran shows up and is like "hey Zelda, screw you" and then Zelda is like "let's go collect the Essences of The Triforce" or something and she runs around, and then they go to HYRULE and Link is like "what's up?" and Veran is like "I'm trying to end the cycle cuz Demise is the worst but I'm gonna do it by killing you both" and they're like "OH NO" and then they fight her, but Zelda turns on her healing power and conjures Thena-from-Eternals light weapons and it's cool and fun and it gets a 97 and Game of the Year.

Or maybe a post-BotW Zelda goes to find the ghost of her mother and ends up in Beginina and has to stop the sun from exploding but, plot twist, time is moving BACKWARDS WOAH! and it's Majora's Mask but with Zelda and her trauma.

She could absolutely be a protagonist but I'd be loath to see it in a Legend of Zelda game. It would sell as a Legend of Zelda game because the position of our culture in time is what it is but the story wouldn't be timeless and wouldn't stand up to scrutiny.
I think one game that mixes the myth is fine. Some of the best myths are ones that tell a new story with the same players.

Most "first-world" cultures these days put a lot of effort into removing the differences between men and women because cultural Mar...you know, let's just say we put a lot of effort into ignoring the differences between men and women because we hold equality as one of the highest values. This has the poorly-aging effect of ignoring the adventuresome bent of men and the nurturing nature of women. I'm not saying anyone should take a certain position on it, I'm saying that humans have always seen men as providers and defenders and women as life-givers. Part of what makes the Legend of Zelda accessible is that it plays on universal anthropological tropes, what mankind throughout time subconsciously considers timeless truths.
Idk who mods this but we've got a dog-whistle in the thread!

Don't do this. This thought that men and women are so rigid, so categorized, so unchangeable. We can all be adventurous and we can all be nurturous and that doesn't have to be defined by our gender. Be kind, love one another, forge your own path, don't claim that people doing these things need to be corralled by their gender. In regards to Zelda, their gender is not important. Zelda can kick all the ass she wants to without paying any mind to these so-called "subconscious timeless truths" that are, based on the sociological and psychological research I've read from thinkers like Peterson and Erik Erikson, 90% cultural.

Not to say that there aren't exceptions and sometimes those exceptions make for great media. What I think reaches people about Zelda though is that it doesn't pretend that exceptions are the rule.
The exceptions aren't the rule. The exceptions are the outlying men like Marco Polo and Hitler, and the outlying women like Mother Theresa and the Virgin Mary. These are the exceptions: not the rule. The traditionally female Gerudo kick more ass than the masc-coded Gorons will ever and they aren't even made of literal rock.

What I'd like to see is a game featuring Zelda as the protagonist that doesn't just put her in the traditionally male role for the sake of representation or subversion of expectations. Give her a role that accentuates and promotes her femininity. I'm not talking boob armor, Nintendo can do better than that, they make fantastic games.
What does this even mean? Sometimes people need boob armor...to protect their boobs. Also, if we are simply considering a direct character reversal, Link doesn't wear armor so idk why Zelda would. Like, what does it mean to "accentuate and promote her femininity?" What are you suggesting here? Why can't she just be medieval Samus for a game?
 
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Hyrulian Hero

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I'm not sure if you're serious about the "dog-whistle" but it sounds like you're trying to get some kind of action taken against an idea with which you don't agree? Is that a fair assessment? Karl Marx did exist although I hesitate to reference that with a Wikipedia article. His ideas are pervasive in some circles and if you don't believe that people use immutable characteristics to divide people then...I won't push it.

You don't have to agree that many people intentionally or unintentionally disagree with the idea that men and women are different, that is only my observation, and that is why I have the opinions that I do regarding Zelda merely replacing Link as the protagonist of a Zelda game. I think it does her femininity a disservice to treat her as if she's male. I respect your assertion that gender doesn't matter, and I heartily and respectfully disagree with it. If you've read Peterson, you understand why.

To put a finer point on one issue you brought up, the anthropological trope that men are the adventures comes from the fact that men have traditionally taken roles that involved more danger (as adventure involves danger) likely due to the fact that they are more likely to be physically capable to meet the danger, and due in part to the fact that society can survive with fewer men but will decline with fewer women. I'm not saying that Zelda can't simply replace Link as the hero, I'm saying that I PREFER the traditional legend because I believe it more closely reflects reality and that makes it accessible and relatable.

And the boob armor is a joke, a reference to the fact that many current forms of media put a woman in the traditional role of a man with no respect toward her femininity except the physical secondary sex characteristics. I would hope Nintendo doesn't go that route.
 

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