The Big Picture: Link Be A Lady

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Link Be A Lady

E3 2014 is over, and MovieBob takes a look at one particularly interesting announcement from Nintendo.

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Oh thank god. I was terrified we were going to have to sit through another week of Game Overthinker.

Bob, I love most of your stuff, but I just do not like Game Overthinker.

Wait, Link actually being a woman would be a big difference? No, Link has always looked like a woman. Sorry. Unless there's actual nudity then it won't make any difference as far as I can tell.

Woman Link? Works for me.

I guess what bugs me about this whole discussion is that unless you're a popular franchise or part of the gaming establishment, people (unintentionally) overlook developers who do make great strides in this area. Developers like Bioware and Bethesda don't get as much recognition for doing something that comes naturally but when Ubisoft omits something, they go all over that.

Then again, I am the biggest Biodrone I know and all I focused on E3 was Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Lightknight:
Wait, Link actually being a woman would be a big difference? No, Link has always looked like a woman. Sorry. Unless there's actual nudity then it won't make any difference as far as I can tell.

Pretty sure that that is the point in the long run. If it doesn't make any difference for Link to be a girl, than why not do it?

As cool as it would be I'd actually prefer that they just go all in and make Zelda the protagonist for a change. Who doesn't want to play a magic ninja elf who is wise-as-fuck?

I was half expecting Nintendo to announce that Link is a woman after these discussions. When I watched the trailer the only thing about his appearance I was going "wait, what?" over was that he was wearing blue. Blue is cool, though.

I was already planning on getting a Wii U at some point this year or next, and this E3 just basically made my desire much harder to contain.

The Game Overthinker crossovers would much better as random three second jokes than as full length episodes.

I must confess that I breathed a sigh of relief that the appearance of The Game Overthinker and pals at the beginning was just a "tease".

That being said, I agree with Bob that it would be good publicity for Nintendo if they made this Link female. Though I don't know if that would help in "fighting back" at the misogyny in some parts of the gaming community. Think of it this way: if we dismiss the notion that violent games can make people violent, then how can someone think that more "fair representation" of female/gay/trans/ characters would lead to more acceptance of these groups?

as far as "no one has ever taken a male lead and made them female before." I cite Starbuck and Boomer in the RDM version of Battlestar Galactica. both male characters in the original, re-imagined as women in the update.

Almost closed the video at that start.

I think it would be cool and fit in fine if Link was a female in some Zelda games. Though I don't get why Bob thought Link looked female in the trailer, just looked like regular old Link to me.

Aren't Wii U sales like crazy up right now? I already have one so, yeah.

Falterfire:
Oh thank god. I was terrified we were going to have to sit through another week of Game Overthinker.

Bob, I love most of your stuff, but I just do not like Game Overthinker.

Thank you for this comment, because I almost missed an episode of Big Picture. I watched 3 seconds and immediately turned it off. I completely agree, everything else Bob does, writing or videos or otherwise, is great. But Game Overthinker is just not my kind of web series.

So to Bob: Nice gag at the beginning, but it almost cost you this view and I can imagine it might have cost you other views as well.

A lot of people are going to try and downplay it by saying "making Link a woman wouldn't be that hard". Yeah. It wouldn't be hard. That's the point. So many companies are acting like having a playable woman character is some great challenge, and this would go against that notion.

Plus, Nintendo actually had a lot of female representation this year. Hyrule Warriors, Smash Bros, Xenoblade Chronicles X (you can customize the characters), Splatoon, Mario Party 10, Codename STEAM, Pokemon OR/AS, and Bayonetta. They had more games with playable female characters than games without them. Honestly, they might have had more playable female characters than every other big company at E3 put together.

Yeah, but Link has no personality(outside of certain games like WindWaker).

It's not the gender that makes a character, its the quality of writing, and Link just isn't that interesting. It would just be another Zelda game if all they did was change the character's gender. Unless Nintendo are sufficiently married to the idea and change up the game significantly to reflect a female perspective, it won't make much difference.

Appropos to the writing being a crucial factor, Geralt of Rivia may be a "generic white dude" to some people, but he has a lot of nuance that most AAA games' protagonists don't. He is respectful of nature, aloof, but understanding. Charismatic but also stoic. Resourceful and insignificant. Changing his gender would change everything in the story. Literally, everything, and it would be more siginificant than a gender-swapped link because the games would have an entirely different story, and an entirely different feel to them considering its another Game of Thrones-esque, high fantasy, dark medieval RPG.

Also, CDProjekt are Polish devs, not like the US-dominant game devs who make the majority of "burly white dude" game's protagonists. Cultural variation does make a difference, and since they're one of the few prominent Eastern European devs out there, I don't think they deserve as much crap as say Activision does for their constant lack of well-written female protagonists.

It could be that this time, Link would be allowed to change genders and even races like the Pokemon protagonist. Keep in mind that the concept of "Link" is that he is the link between the player and the game, a blank slate to some extent. That point would be pushed further by such an option, while the iconic Link we have seen before will be the default and primarily-marketed option to appease the conservative fans.

Falterfire:
Bob, I love most of your stuff, but I just do not like Game Overthinker.

It could be that you just don't like the story of the Game Overthinker. For those of you unfamiliar, it's just Bob green-screened and voice-modulated to take the places of several characters that represent certain opinions while dull effects indicate the world being at stake. It's experimental and very questionable in quality, unlike Bob's well thought-out opinions.

Fappy:
As cool as it would be I'd actually prefer that they just go all in and make Zelda the protagonist for a change. Who doesn't want to play a magic ninja elf who is wise-as-fuck?

I'd... like some co-op opportunities here. Team up Link and Zelda, especially since Zelda has always been better (and more effective)as a tom-boy than in a dress.

I would love a Zelda game where you played a female lead, it just seems a natural fit for me.
I was hoping this would the be the case this time around and sadly it seems it isn't.

Hopefully someday.

That said, I might get a Wii U just for Splatoon, that game looks amazing!

PS. I was really scared for bit you were going to use those characters for the entire episode again.

Back when Bob first brought up the idea of a female Link, I was right on board with him in saying that it would be a good idea. I would absolutely play a female version of this character if given the chance. Hell, by having Nintendo do this, to have the main character of a franchise so constantly accused of perpetuating old notions of "damsels in distress" become a woman would be a clear sign that their company is one of the more progressive forces in the video game world.

And maybe we might just get that. Remember, this is still just a trailer, so now that Nintendo knows that there's a major audience out there that would wantr this kind of change, we might just get it. All they'd need to do is tweak his in-game design a bit and re-write some potential dialogue texts lines and it'd be a sure thing.

I think the amount of anime I have been exposed to automatically made me see that bishounen link was a dude, but it was fun to speculate about it. Also out of all the three big companies Nintendo was the one with the most women characters being shown I mean Bayonetta, Splatoon and Hyrule Warriors all had respectable females

But it would be so expensive to animate a female link!

If they did make Link a woman, would they make Zelda a man? I mean, in some of the games, there's a romantic tension between the two. Of course, they could simply omit that for the theoretical installment, or, more interestingly, keep it and have lesbian undertones for the game. Two birds with one stone. Would THAT make the game industry drop its jaw or what?

Sigmund Av Volsung:
Also, CDProjekt are Polish devs, not like the US-dominant game devs who make the majority of "burly white dude" game's protagonists. Cultural variation does make a difference, and since they're one of the few prominent Eastern European devs out there, I don't think they deserve as much crap as say Activision does for their constant lack of well-written female protagonists.

Also worthy note, the Witcher is adapted from a series of fantasy novels, so staying true to the source material is a concern there, that said, no reason other stories in that world couldn't be told from a womans perspective and it's not like it doesn't have it's fair share of strong female characters... who shockingly of all, whilst yes, work as sexual motivation, actually instigate the sex themselves and it's seen not specifically as a connection, but as something that is simply pleasurable for both parties... WAAAAAAAH?! Strong, female leads, who not only instigate sex at their behest not the leads but also don't play it up as either something noble or a chaste act... who actually play it as just a thing people do? Crazy, that would never work, no one would want that in their video games.

All in all, good episode Bob, as for a choice in Links, yeah I wouldn't mind playing a female Link, I think it'd suit his fighting style a lot more and it literally would just have to be a model swap as the animations are already quite lithe and athletic.

Wait...

Wait wait wait...

You mean to tell me... Link is a guy?! And always has been?! Seriously?!

All these years... Oh God! And I've got all these magazines and... Oh God!!! This is the Zidane Tribal thing all over again!

Joking aside, I still don't care for the Legend of Zelda games, though the overflow of "realistic, gruff, Caucasian males" at E3 made me long for the PS1/PS2-era of gaming (Spyro, Crash, Jak & Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, Kya, Kay, Vexx, etc.)

I was hoping female link was a thing this time as well, sucks that it isn't but who knows maybe said discussion will cause Nintendo to decide to actually do that this time around.

The assassins creed thing continues to be laughable as jim well pointed out in his vid this week. Really wish big companies would wake the fuck up to the modern world already. Gender equality is becoming a huger and huger deal as time roles on, in recent years gaining so much momentum and vocal outcry I'm going to really pity any company that forcibly and lazily sticks to the tired "lets just make a game about a gruff white dood again" schtick.

The sooner I get the equivalent of a motoko kusinagi as a protag in a game the better.

Male protagonist? Or female protagonist?
image
image

Persona 3 Portable did it, and not only that, she filled the exact same role as the male protagonist.

You wanna talk about gender equality? You wanna talk about standing on equal ground? You wanna talk about the game industry's probably first revolutionary instance of a female being on the same ground and same potential and same chances of success as a male in a video game, not more, not less, but equal? Here you go. Persona 3 Portable.

And for the record, I'd play as a female Link.

Rellik San:

Sigmund Av Volsung:
Also, CDProjekt are Polish devs, not like the US-dominant game devs who make the majority of "burly white dude" game's protagonists. Cultural variation does make a difference, and since they're one of the few prominent Eastern European devs out there, I don't think they deserve as much crap as say Activision does for their constant lack of well-written female protagonists.

Also worthy note, the Witcher is adapted from a series of fantasy novels, so staying true to the source material is a concern there, that said, no reason other stories in that world couldn't be told from a womans perspective and it's not like it doesn't have it's fair share of strong female characters... who shockingly of all, whilst yes, work as sexual motivation, actually instigate the sex themselves and it's seen not specifically as a connection, but as something that is simply pleasurable for both parties... WAAAAAAAH?! Strong, female leads, who not only instigate sex at their behest not the leads but also don't play it up as either something noble or a chaste act... who actually play it as just a thing people do? Crazy, that would never work, no one would want that in their video games.

All in all, good episode Bob, as for a choice in Links, yeah I wouldn't mind playing a female Link, I think it'd suit his fighting style a lot more and it literally would just have to be a model swap as the animations are already quite lithe and athletic.

That is a legitimate point, in which case, I wish Bob wouldn't just generalise things.

I feel that once The Witcher Trilogy is done, (and Cyberpunk 2077), they can easily revisit that game, perhaps from the perspective of Ciri, because of how much potential her abilities allow(in terms of prospective stories).

You know, I would love to see a Zelda game with a female protagonist. But I would prefer if it was Zelda and not a female Link. Mostly because playing as Zelda could result in some very interesting gameplay options. Badass Ninja skills, Archery Magic, and an increased emphasis on puzzle solving. It could be pretty cool.

I made the point last time this subject came up that the LoZ mythology lends itself perfectly to simply incarnating Link as a female with no real complications.

The quite frankly baffling backlash I got was that since Link has always been male it's somehow established that Link always has to be male.

To be sure I think that it would be a welcome change, but I think that it needs to come with a certain degree of additional work if it's going to be anything other than a gender flip "stunt."
In other words, the first time Link shows up as a lady, the game needs to be one of the few times within the series that Link is given more personality than the gawping "Let's save Hyrule because...reasons" protagonist that he usually is.

I disagree with a lot of these points.

First, link has had the same design since the beginning. When someone mentions Link, they think of the rather androgynous green hooded male with a sword and shield. It's not somehow sexist to keep Link as a male, it just keeps him close to the design which everyone is most nostalgic with.

Second, if there's one thing I hate more than not enough females in games, it's designers forcing these aspects into character design just to try and create the illusion that they're culturally or gender sensitive when in reality they just designed a token character.

If you're going to put a female in your game, then do it either with a new IP, or with a series that doesn't have fully established characters to represent the franchise (e.g. Assassin's Creed). Don't suddenly switch Link to a female and say "this is for the feminists".

JPArbiter:
as far as "no one has ever taken a male lead and made them female before." I cite Starbuck and Boomer in the RDM version of Battlestar Galactica. both male characters in the original, re-imagined as women in the update.

Battlestar Galactica isn't exactly what I would call "mainstream". When Bob said "no one", what he meant was "no one with widespread appeal even outside of the nerd culture." The Battlestar Galactica case can make for a decent example, sure, but the series itself just doesn't have the mainstream appeal for anything they do to "make a statement" in the same way as something like Zelda.

INeedAName:
If they did make Link a woman, would they make Zelda a man? I mean, in some of the games, there's a romantic tension between the two. Of course, they could simply omit that for the theoretical installment, or, more interestingly, keep it and have lesbian undertones for the game. Two birds with one stone. Would THAT make the game industry drop its jaw or what?

Either option would be kind of cool, but on balance I think the idea of a female character rescuing a male would be the more radical.

I remember watching a documentary on the TV series of Wonder Woman, with several people pointing out how brave it was for the guy playing Steve to take on the role of a guy who is essentially rescued by a girl episode after episode (although they made it very clear he could handle himself too!). It says something that I literally cannot think of another mainstream story where that happens. (And yes, I'm sure others will be able to come up with dozens. But it's still rare)

About changing the lead character from a male to female: Dr Who had that in place since forever, but BBC never had the balls for doing this. It even sparked a meme about it. I hope Nintendo does this, though IDK how far Ubisoft themselves have delved into this with Assassin's Creed Liberation. Just a thought.

Dexterity:
Don't suddenly switch Link to a female and say "this is for the feminists".

Why not switch Link to a female just for a change? They've done plenty of other things to his character over the various incarnations.

Oh - and incidentally if there's one other character who they could do this with and literally not have to defend the decision at all, it's The Doctor from Doctor Who.

JPArbiter:
as far as "no one has ever taken a male lead and made them female before." I cite Starbuck and Boomer in the RDM version of Battlestar Galactica. both male characters in the original, re-imagined as women in the update.

Yeah, that struck me too. But in partial defense, Link is far more iconic in the history of gaming culture than original BSG was in SF culture--BSG didn't really rise above a niche fanbase until the Sci-Fi reimagining. The equivalent of genderflipping Link would be more like if the Abrams Trek films had genderflipped one of the original Star Trek cast.

Flatfrog:
Either option would be kind of cool, but on balance I think the idea of a female character rescuing a male would be the more radical.

If Renaissance writers could do it 500 years ago, I think we could handle it today.

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