SuniGender swapping and role reversals generally seem to be a popular fad among fandoms, whether it’s video games or books or anime or television shows. This is evident in many fan communities and even among official media such as when Nintendo released the game Super Princess Peach. The Zelda community is certainly no stranger to the idea. Many concepts have been halfheartedly drawn up, thought out, or put together of Zelda being the protagonist of her own game. Although some people would love to see it come to light, not many people completely delve into the idea.

Well someone finally did take the time to create a viable creation where Zelda is the heroine and Link is the royalty. Artist Aaron Diaz of the comic website Dresden Codak had finally fulfilled some fans’ vision for a reversed Zelda story. Diaz cites web video personality Anita Sarkeesian’s discussion over female stereotypes in video games as the inspiration for the concept he named, Clockwork Empire. Apparently in the same timeline, the story is set approximately 2000 years after the events of Twilight Princess. Diaz makes it clear it is not supposed to be a reboot and that it is just another story in the Zelda mythos. He wanted to portray a protagonist Zelda that was “dynamic” and “compelling” rather than just concocting a simple gender swap. The story also incorporates many underdeveloped elements of the Zelda franchise such as Link’s supposed homeland Calatia, featured only in the 1990 comic series.

SuniDiaz has drawn several impressive conceptual works, depicting the world he has created. The story and concept art display great attention to detail with references weaved throughout. The photo to the right displays some possibilities for Zelda’s armor. With references to the Sheikah tribe and what appears to be the Twilight Princess magic armor, the drawings indicate an endless array of possibilities for the development of Zelda as a heroine. However, most of his drawings fashion Zelda with basically Twilight Princess’s Link’s same hero clothes but with an indigo palette and some cleverly subtle and feminine modifications (notice the Sheikah symbol on her forearm armor above).

SuniAnd then there is Link. Zelda’s role has been expanded much more, but the one concept drawing of Link is worth noting. Note the way Diaz introduced Link’s original design into the garb of royalty, especially the cap. Other drawings and even the title indicate a heavy steampunk and industrial influence, which could be interesting to introduce to a Zelda title.

Overall I think the idea is very interesting, but it can be done so many different ways. I have to give a major nod to Diaz for how much thought and effort was put into his concept while most people just talk about it or make fake Wii U game covers. Although I couldn’t say it would be my first choice for a new Zelda game, I am certainly impressed by the thought put into the project. So what do you think? Did Diaz “hit the nail on the head” or would you like it executed differently? Are you a fan of the steampunk motif or does it stray too far away from the normal naturalistic style?

View the full gallery here.
Source: Dresden Codak (via Gengame)
EDIT: (13/4/13) I don’t personally like the idea of Link as royalty. It wouldn’t feel right to me because he is a blank slate. Thanks to Blackbaldrik for perfectly putting into words how I feel about Link’s role. I believe I didn’t make that clear. Anyway, I just wanted to point out the similarities between his designs.

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