Throughout The Legend of Zelda’s multiple-decade-spanning history, we’ve only had a chance to play as Princess Zelda in two of the three CD-i titles, something I’m sure nobody really did anyway. With the upcoming Spirit Tracks however, we can finally take control of the previously all but useless damsel-in-distress, finally allowing Link to just chill out for a minute. But why now? According to a games™ interview (via NowGamer.com) with the recent chataholic Eiji Aonuma, simply because the opportunity was there, and it seemed to be a perfect fit.
“Why would an archenemy like the Phantom become your ally, we asked ourselves. And during that discussion we came up with the idea that one way would be if a second character took control of that Phantom for you. But who? We thought Zelda might be an interesting and appropriate character. Her spirit form can take on the adventure together with Link. So that’s how we decided upon the story where Zelda is going to have her body taken away by an enemy. One of the most important facets of the story would be for Link to regain her body but, at the same time, her spirit form can take on the adventure together with Link.”