ByJames Reeve, writer at
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James Reeve

Nintendo fans were left disappointed last year when it was announced that the eagerly anticipated newest edition to the The Legend of Zelda franchise would be delayed until 2016.

Since then, fans have been treated to a leaked trailer and some gameplay demonstrations that have left them watering at the mouth at both the look and scope of the latest adventure in Hyrule.

But fans have also picked up on one particular point regarding the latest game: Link will still be without a voice.

The earliest installments of the Zelda franchise were not capable of having such a feature and, despite improvements in technology and a strong focus on the games' stories, later editions have yet to give Link his own voice.

Many fans are disappointed about this and Nintendo Everything this week provided us with an explanation of why Link is still without a voice, courtesy of Nintendo's very own Eiji Aonuma's interview with GameMaster.

“We’ve had a lot of requests from fans to hear [Link’s] voice, and while in some ways I do feel that it could be good to have a game where he speaks, part of me also feels that that air of proud independence he has because he doesn’t speak is a precious part of the individuality of his character. I want to think long and hard about whether changing that would be for the better or not before I make any decision.” - Eiji Aonuma

So Aonuma is well aware of fans' growing interest in seeing one of Nintendo's biggest characters be provided with his own voice.

But I believe, personally, that Link does not need a voice.

It Wouldn't Add Much To The Games
Legend of Zelda games have grown with each console release, with story-lines becoming deeper and with many more characters having their own voices after Nintendo opted to ditch the text box style from games such as Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask.

But giving Link his own voice won't change too much about the games themselves.

Sure, they will provide fans with definitive knowledge about how Link feels about what other characters are saying and how he feels about the events that are taking place within the game world.

But that in itself might take away one of the parts of Zelda games that I feel are quite nice.

Fans Wouldn't Be Able To Have Their Own Thoughts On Link's Feeling
One of the great things about Zelda games is that it is not known what Link thinks or even says to other characters, which has helped breed discussion among fans that has made them feel closer to the young hero.

Being able to debate intricacies such as a character's thoughts and feelings is one thing I love to do with my friends.

Talking about how do we think certain characters would react and behave after different events makes us feel closer to the game characters and, as a whole, enjoy the game much more.

Games such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic gave fans the choice of their actions, with people playing in very different ways.

This also bred discussions between myself and friends that may have chosen to do things differently.

And this is a big reason why Link doesn't need a voice, as that element of fandom for the series could effectively be wiped out if no choice is present for the player but rather directed by the character themselves.

Fans Can Connect With A Silent Link Easier
Following on from my point about fans having their own thoughts about how Link may feel and respond in particular situations, fans also identify and connect with different Links.

Some may feel that because Link doesn't speak, there is no telling what kind of person they really are.

Some Links are shown to have certain characteristics early in the game, with Link from Wind Waker being shown to be a layabout and unorganised whilst Link from Ocarina of Time was also shown to be somewhat lazy with regards to sleeping.

But beyond that, Link isn't shown to have much distinguishable personality and that is actually something fans themselves enjoy.

Having the freedom to make judgements about what the character would say or do is a big part of these games, with fans having their own personal views that have made them connect with the various incarnations of Link in different ways.

If Link is given a voice, the ability to make personal judgements about how Link may act or react is taken away and some people may not respond well to the change.

If Link is provided with a voice and responds to events in a particular way, certain groups of fans may disagree with how he should have responded and find themselves detached from the character they are playing.

Being able to identify with a character and play that character how you want to play them, much like with other RPG games that require unnamed characters to be created, is something a number of people can connect with.

Some single-player games are not so enjoyable as fans are unable to connect with a character that has their decisions scripted out for them.

Nintendo have been very successful with non-voiced characters such as Mario and Link, while other franchises have seen their characters lose some appeal after their characters are given a voice; Sonic for example.

This is just my opinion and if people disagree then that's fair enough, but I feel that Link doesn't need a voice to make new games better.

Nintendo are very careful with their key franchises and will always do what is in the best interests of them.

Voice or not, the Legend of Zelda series is one that many people can enjoy and the upcoming game will no doubt be well received by people from all walks of life.


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