So. Since the release of the first Zelda game, Link has become iconic with his green adventurer’s tunic and pointed hat. What made the Breath of the Wild development team suddenly shake it up? Fortunately, they’re not about to sell us out on the answer. In the Creating a Champion art book, the directors and artists assemble to explain the reason behind Link’s new fashion choice.
“Link is the game’s protagonist, so I’ve always thought we need him to look cool. Yet, if we overdo it, the people playing the game might feel like they’re controlling an already accomplished hero, which I felt could get in the way of the players immersing themselves in the game. For that reason, this time I decided we should make Link a more neutral character in a variety of ways,” producer Eiji Aonuma said. “We thought that the iconic green tunic and hat had become expected, so we wanted to mix things up and update his look. Interestingly, though, nobody on the [development] team said, ‘Let’s make him blue!’ It just organically ended up that way.”
Art director Satoru Takizawa (not Satoru Iwata, the late Nintendo President) then expanded on Aonuma’s words. He also noted that there were close to a whopping 100 different Link designs that were presented during development.
“Producer [Eiji Aonuma] declared that we would be revising expectations by updating Link for this game. He wanted Link to be a more neutral character that players could see themselves as. You can feel how energized and excited the artists were about this idea from the really interesting modern concepts they drew. There were close to one hundred designs presented within the team for Link, and the number of sketches was too great to count!”
The comments on Link’s new outfit closed with a word from BOTW’s senior lead artist, Yoshiyuki Oyama. He emphasized the importance of an adventure-ready Link and an outfit that would stand out against the green land of Hyrule.
“The Link of this game was to be a traveler from the frontier who exudes a sense of adventure, which is why there are a lot of designs that feature capes and bags. At the beginning of development we drew a lot of landscape concepts. Link wearing blue clothes appeared pretty early on because the blue stood out against the backgrounds we were producing,” Oyama said.
What are your thoughts on Link’s new tunic? Do you think referencing Link’s traditional green clothes in the Hero of the Wild set was a good idea? Let me know by dropping a comment down below!
Quote credit: Zelda Dungeon, Nintendo, Creating a Champion