Posted on November 03 2015 by Kira Koneko
Welcome back to another edition of our weekly Zelda Dungeon Talks! Throughout the long history of The Legend of Zelda franchise we have been introduced to many different types of characters. Whether they be passersby, arch enemies, inquisitive little faeries, or our beloved companions, we have seen many! Sometimes the most memorable character in a game is the companion you take with you along the way, they become your guide, your friend, and on occasion absolutely indispensable to the game. But what makes the good companions truly great?
In this week’s ZD Talks we asked the team to ponder just that exact question! What qualities are needed to make the perfect Zelda companion? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below!
Jon Lett – View Profile
I am not one to hope for a specific personality type for new partners, as I prefer to be surprised when the game comes out, but mechanics-wise, there are a few things that would be nice. Having someone to speak to throughout the adventure is all well and good, but functionally helpful companions are almost necessary at this point. There have been only a select few partners that actually assist you in puzzle-solving and combat, but there should be more. Also, having characters that develop, and even ones that get into conflicts with the main character, are something I really hope for more often in the series. Midna came close, as she started on Link’s bad side, and gradually developed into a relatable and understandable character, but what might have even more impact would be if she started off as Link’s friend, and eventually started questioning their relationship, and reacted to their contrasting moral codes and such. So functionally, I really want future partners to be as helpful as Midna, but as a character, I would sort of like Nintendo to take some risks and step out of their usual bounds when it comes to the relationship between Link and his latest companion.
Thomas Jacobs – View Profile
A perfect companion needs to live up to a few standards. First, they have to interact with the rest of the cast. One of Midna’s unfortunate shortcomings is that the cast that she actually interacted with can be narrowed down to Link, Zelda, Ganondorf and Zant. Given that Twilight Princess had a cast that was a lot broader than that, it limited Midna’s character a lot. She was still quite fun and interesting, but she was limited in what she could do. Second, they have to be with you. The King of Red Lions was good to deliver plot and advice, but given his boat-y nature he could not get up and fight on land alongside Link. And while Link was far from alone in Wind Waker with Medli and Makar teaming up with him at various points, in addition to Tetra’s guidance, none of them were with Link all the way through the story. Thirdly, they have to be useful. Having Zelda along for the (train) ride in Spirit Tracks was a ton of fun, but she only really did things when possessing the various Phantom Knights throughout the game. As for the rest, she mainly helped Link by delivering directions and talking with the various Lokomo. Having her be able to possess more objects like machines in order to move them would have opened up a whole world of options for the game. Next, they need character. While many of Link’s previous companions have this, having a good character alongside both personal growth and a growing relationship with Link (either romantic or not) really helps for a good character. The only one that’s sorta lacking here was Navi. While she did turn from joining Link out of a sense of duty to the Deku Tree to determined to help him out against Ganon, there was not an awful lot of visible growth there. Finally, they have to not be constantly interrupting you, something that Navi and Fi still have a lot to learn about.
Brandon Schmitz – View Profile
The importance of a companion is somewhat dependent upon the story that the developers are trying to tell. Generally speaking, though, I prefer to see Link’s partners treated less like instruction manuals and more like equals. Considering Midna’s standing in the Zelda mythos, it makes sense for her to be as much of a main character as Link. The two might boast radically different skills, but they complement each other wonderfully. That kind of dynamic is unique among Link’s companions, and it’s definitely something that I’d like to see more of. That said, it’s important for the Hylian Hero’s partner in crime to feel ever present without being a nuisance. Although I enjoy Fi’s robotic personality, she frequently interrupts the gameplay at the slightest piece of new information. My ideal Zelda companion is someone who not only provides tidbits about the world and the characters in them, but also works in tandem with the player.
James Djinn – View Profile
For the most part I want the sidekick to help drive the story within the game, and less of an in game help manual to the player. Plus they have to be useful in gameplay outside of giving advice. Generally I like it when a sidekick character takes over the role of the voice and face of the game when Link is primarily the player avatar. I think Midna would still be my favorite as she was not only the best at driving the story but also best at interacting with other NPCs in the game. Her abilities were very useful to me, in how she could supplement your attacks or help you move around between platforms. I still prefer this to the loads of advice that Navi, King of Red Lions, and Fi give to you.