When Nintendo first unveiled what was then described as "the series’ first official female version of Link" (a character who has existed unofficially in fanart and cosplay since the dawn of the Legend of Zelda series) everyone got pretty excited.
Set to make her debut on the 3DS in Hyrule Warriors Legend next year, the dual crossbow wielding Linkle has already been well received by fans. Indeed it was the fan response to her initial concept sketches in the Japanese limited edition art book of Hyrule Warriors that led to her inclusion in the game in the first place, according to Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma:
"We had a great response from fans, especially outside of Japan, who saw Linkle in the Hyrule Warriors premium-box booklet and wanted her to be included in the game. Seeing that reaction, Hayashi-san and I talked it over and decided that we would definitely like to include her in the next title."
But She's Not Just A Female Link...
Linkle was originally pitched to appear in Hyrule Warriors for the Wii U as a younger sister of series hero Link, but the developers decided ultimately not to include the sibling connection between the two characters as they felt this would negate the importance of Aryll, Link's sister in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
But more than that, Aonuma explains, they wanted Linkle to be able to stand as a hero in her own right, not just in relation to Link himself.
"In Hyrule Warriors Legends, though, the proposal was to include Linkle not as Link's sister, but as a girl with heroic aspirations. This was a totally new and unique background for the franchise, and we thought she would add to the game's diversity, so we decided to include her in this game."
As a new character there's certainly still a great deal of character development and backstory to yet be unveiled for Linkle, something that we'll presumably see in the upcoming game. Yosuke Hayashi, producer at Tecmo Koei, teased her backstory recently when talking to IGN.
According to Hayashi, Linkle grew up raising Cuccos in a small village in Hyrule (is there any other kind of village in Hyrule?). A cheerful and kind, but naive, young woman, she'll always help those in need and so she sets out to defend Hyrule Castle when she learns it has come under attack. However she doesn't have a great sense of direction so ends up travelling to locations all across Hyrule before she finally makes it to the castle, and along the way she meets various other characters who end up joining her on her quest.
The compass that Linkle wears around her neck was handed down through generations of her family to her by her grandmother, and she wears this as a symbol that she believes proves that she is destined to be a hero.
Scope For Showing Up In New Games?
Aonuma went on to say that there's a good chance we'll see Linkle showing up again in future games in the series, especially given her popularity.
He explains that her crossbow based combat was taken from Legend of Zelda spin-off Link's Crossbow Training for the Wii. Whilst this mechanic may make her combat feel apart from the rest of the series, the new implementation by Koei Tecmo has managed to fully utilise it this time round, which makes her suitable to appear in future titles.
"It may feel a little different from other titles in the franchise, but she doesn’t feel out of place at all in the world of the Zelda games. I'm sure we will keep her in mind when thinking about future titles."
Perhaps she'll be included as a gender character option in the still in development The Legend of Zelda Wii U? Doubt it, but that would be pretty neat. One thing is for sure though, 2016 is set to be the year of Linkle when Hyrule Warriors Legends releases for the 3DS on March 25th 2016.