Changing the appearance of your hugely popular series mascot would be a pretty bold move for anyone, but that's exactly what the team behind The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild did when the game arrived on Switch and Wii U last year. Gone are the days of the classic green get-up, replaced by a rather fetching blue number that even ditches that famous pointy hat.
So why was this change in design implemented? Was it necessary for the game in some way? Was it perhaps just to shake things up? Well, comments made by series producer Eiji Aonuma, lead artist Yoshiyuki Oyama, and art director Satoru Takizawa explain exactly that (the comments below have reportedly been translated from one of the game's recent art books).
Eiji Aonuma: “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.
"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 team said, ‘Let’s make him blue!’ It just organically ended up that way.”
Satoru Takizawa: “Producer Aonuma-san 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.”
Yoshiyuki Oyama: “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.
As it turns out, then, it's a mixture of both. We certainly agree that the blue look managed to mix things up nicely, and the colouring does work tremendously well alongside the various locations in the game.
Do you feel that Link is a relatable character as the devs suggest? Do you like the new blue colour scheme, or would you pick Link's classic green attire given the choice? Tell us below.