In these times of greater equality, social media and ongoing debate around gender, even a cute and lighthearted game such as The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes isn't exempt from scrutiny. That's fair enough, in this writer's view - when avatars and customisation are part of a title, it's a valid topic.
Of course, Tri Force Heroes does focus on identical Link avatars running around, with the customisation coming in the form of outfits. When one of those outfits is a Zelda dress, however, the scratching of heads at the absence of a generic female Link hero as an option is perhaps understandable.
The game's director, Hiromasa Shikata, was quizzed on the absence of a female avatar by IGN, offering this initial response.
I'm going to tell you a little bit about the story quickly and we'll circle around, here. There's this kingdom, an event happens, and the king needs heroes. So, he puts out a call for heroes to gather and one of those is this guy Link. He sees this audition, basically, 'Heroes needed; apply here.' And, that's the start of his adventure.
The story calls for this sort of legend/prophecy where heroes will come together to help solve a problem. And in that, they are male characters. So, because the game is set with that as the story background, you cannot choose a gender; you are a male character.
Not a great answer, by any means, and the follow-up response was then given when this was challenged.
Understood. I understand what you're saying, and just as general information, we do have a lot of female staff members who are playing this game and enjoying it. It doesn't seem to be a big issue to them. They still are getting emotional investment in this game. And to be honest, Link isn't the most masculine of guys in the world, depending on how you want to project yourself into the character.
Tri Force Heroes is a tricky one, perhaps. In the series to date Link has been a male, yet with the avatar approach in this non-canon game it would have done no harm to have a female equivalent.
Nintendo has shown improving approaches to inclusion in recent times, so perhaps this one should be filed as a relatively minor missed opportunity.
Let us know what you think. Is this something Nintendo should resolve, or is it a fuss over very little?