Feels like I've covered this before, talk about deja vu. Nintendo confirmed a female counterpart for our silent hero in the form of Linkle. Not even 24hrs later and the Internet is flailing around like a person being swarmed by bees! What's this all about exactly? Hyrule Warriors Legends.
Initially, Linkle was a concept character teased in the Hyrule Warriors artbook who didn't make the cut. Hyrule Warriors was released in 2014 for the Wii U, while Hyrule Warriors Legends is the 3DS version to be released March 2016 complete with extras. In addition to Linkle, other members of the Zelda universe will also make their debut as playable characters from Wind Waker's Tetra and even the King of Hyrule! Such news is enough to make most Zelda fans to jump in joy to have even more characters to play as, but it's the Internet—someone is always complaining over the most trivial thing.[caption id="attachment_62207" align="aligncenter" width="499"] *Item get noise*[/caption]
Gamers are often mocked for being entitled, but it seems now the sect that mocks are the ones representing this attitude. In my Twitter feed, several gamers I follow were predicting responses ranging from "GamerGate lost!" to feminists claiming a newly added female character—even though playable female characters already existed in Hyrule Warriors—is a win for feminism. Being that this is 2015, one would be foolish to bet against either of the two. Spoilers: they both happened. Rupees all around! Aside from the obvious happening like clock-work, there was a fair share of misdirected finger pointing—mainly claims that male fans would start shouting obscenities because polygons in a skirt or some gibberish.
Contrary to what narrative these people were convinced were true, there wasn't a backlash of men flexing in anger that Nintendo created essentially a female Link. Quite the opposite! Twitter user Mombot captured tweets of disgruntled women complaining in their place. People familiar with Anita Sarkeesian will recognize the man with boobs trope. Yes, someone actually went there unironically. Never mind that Linkle has a different attack style and wields duel crossbows instead of being a re-skin of Link with baps. None if this is important—who cares for facts these days?
Thing is, Hyrule Warriors Legends isn't part of the main series, it's a spin-off. Literally nothing of Zelda lore is altered in any way. According to the description of the Wii U version of Hyrule Warriors: "It combines the world of The Legend of Zelda with the action of Koei Tecmo's Dynasty Warriors series." No mention of stopping Ganon to rescue the land of Hyrule. Complaining about spin-off games makes as much sense as being upset Mario Party isn't a platformer. Spin-offs are called spin-offs for good reason. Failure or success, nothing from a spin-off game canonically affects the main series of a franchise.[caption id="attachment_62245" align="aligncenter" width="616"] Linkle posing with her weapons.[/caption]
Word of advice, don't search up "Linkle" on Tumblr if you value your sanity. In the off chance you're curious and aren't a complete masochist, here's a collage of who is actually doing the bulk of the complaining. A few months back, I debunked claims made by radicals who were adamant in erasing Samus' identity as a strong female protagonist for the sake of taking "trans" on her resume. By the looks of searching up a certain new addition to the Zelda universe on everyone's favorite social media site, we're dealing with round 2.
Link isn't going through sex reassignment surgery, and there is no pandering conspiracy. Nintendo didn't replace Link; Linkle is a different character all together. "What about Zelda?" What about her? She's still there. In my rebuttal to Polygon's Ben Kuchera titled "Why Can't Link Be A Girl", I covered the possibilities of a female Link and even touched on an alternate time line, which would pretty cool as a change of pace. Alright, the Zelda series isn't the same as a cartoon from Cartoon Network, but many people agree the genderbent episodes of Adventure Time were pretty rad. No one likes pointless changing of established characters without a good reason—this is what truly creates legitimate outrage. If it's for something fun on the side, what's the harm?
Remember, my ideas in my previous article were aimed at a proper gender swapped alternate universe. Princess Zelda/Sheik were also highlighted since the princess is ace in Super Smash Bros. Being able to play as her in an epic adventure would be something magical—literally and figuratively. No offense to Link, but he wishes he had legs as smooth as Sheik.
Joking aside, these thoughts had the main series in mind with the intention of giving the player more strong female leads to play as. As it stands today, Linkle is an extra thrown in to presumably test the waters for Nintendo to gauge her popularity. Where she goes from here is anyone's guess. On a positive note, the gaming giant has little to worry about as the majority of the Internet already claimed her as a waifu.
[video width="316" height="190" mp4="http://techraptor.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Linkle_getrekt.mp4" loop="true" autoplay="true"][/video]
Something I do find concerning is just how easily the fringe of a fandom can take harmless announcements and twist them without so much as a second thought. Nintendo didn't seek to replace a beloved icon nor was Princess Zelda ignored; she's been playable since the original Hyrule Warriors and even has her pirate form in Tetra now! From observation, most of the hatred stems from people who are looking for something to be offended over without knowing why they should be offended, individuals with an identity crisis, and non-gamers who see female and immediately have to hop on a bandwagon.
Linkle wasn't created as some gender tool by Nintendo for taking out the mythical patriarchy in order to usurp fairy boy or for people to blindly rant about binary vs non binary gender roles. Likewise, Linkle isn't simply Link with a pair of breasts. Fans speculate she could be a sister to Link or at least related in some way—we need Nintendo to reveal more on her back story. Either way, she's a neat character having her identity torn asunder before she even officially debuted.
As a Legend Of Zelda fan, it's shameful observing this entitled "me me me" attitude by some. If you want to see Linkle as trans, fine, whatever. But please don't use her as a screen to project your own identity issues on. Stripping away her identity for selfish reasons isn't progress, it's regression. What message does that even send when you demand more female representation, only to later imply it's more progressive if they originally had a penis? During this ordeal, the only legitimate complaints worth listening to are not liking her name to wondering why she suddenly exists beyond reasons. Gamers are accepting of marginalized characters—tokenism, not so much.
The problem here isn't angry dudebros yelling at Nintendo for "making Link a girl." In fact, a decent majority of gamers already fell in love with her. No, the problem is people projecting what they want to believe, which in return is making a huge deal over nothing. Well, that and ignorance on their part. No one is taking Link away; Zelda is safe and sound as well. Linkle is a new character separate from both of them and is one introduced in a spin-off game. That's literally all she is, absolutely no logical reason for anyone to be throwing a fit over. I repeat: no one is being replaced and there is no conspiracy or ideology pushing—that's all on the people making Death Mountain out of a mole hill.
At least some people were having fun with the announcement who weren't busy shaking their fists at clouds with Grandpa Simpson.https://twitter.com/shoe0nhead/status/665024205893869569
Maybe in some future endeavor, Linkle will have her own grand adventure with an engaging story. Considering Link is reincarnated during each of his adventures, maybe the fans are ready for swapping their Master Sword for a pair of crossbows. I'm unsure how this would work within the already convoluted Zelda timeline considering Linkle is a separate character, but a big adventure as someone new is welcome all the same. As long as both co-exist, there shouldn't be a problem.
In the grand scheme of things, for now, Linkle's importance to the series is roughly on par with Waluigi. Wario's brother has his own fanbase, but he was never really given a chance to shine, always there for the side stuff. Hopefully Linkle doesn't share this fate, as I believe she only has room to grow as a meaningful character of the franchise if given the right push. Who doesn't want to perform cool spinning attacks of death anyway? Link or Linkle, both can co-exist peacefully.
The Legend Of Zelda is a Nintendo powerhouse loved by fans from many generations. Whatever Nintendo has in store for the main series, I eagerly await it. Who knows, maybe there will be a story arc in an alternate universe in which you save the day as Linkle. Personally, I find the character to be adorable, can't say the same for the name just yet. What say the TechRaptor readers?