Last week, we featured some concept renders of Link from The Legend of Zelda created by 343 Industries character designer Kyle Hefley. Sporting a more mature and realistic look, it was an interesting mix between east and west.
We've unearthed another piece of Link art and it shares some similarities with Hefley's work - the Elf-like features have been softened, giving the character a more rugged, aggressive look. It's interesting to note that Link is carrying a large array of items - all of the gear he needs on his quests, in fact.
The stunning image has been created by VOLTA concept artist Even Amundsen, who also made the incredible Adventure Time image you see below. Let us know what you think of these images - and if you'd like to see a western take on Zelda in the fullness of time - by posting a comment below.
Nope. A whole lotta nope! Modern western fantasy art style is the worst thing the arts have seen in a long time!
(I reckon it can mainly be traced back to WoW)
Strangely enough... the first thing that stood out was the paper shield. lol
Jeez, what is it with western artists wanting to suck all trace of uniqueness out of characters?
It looks horrible, lol.
Why does making it western seem to mean changing him to a middle aged man?
I like it. I have a large part of my heart that is taken up by my love of Dungeons & Dragons. I can just imagine this to be someone's Link if they sat down at my table and had their own character sheet based on him.
other than the face (seriously what the hell?) I like the design
@EverythingAmiibo Nah wow uses a very distinct cartoonish stylized artstyle most of it looks nothing like a lot of modern fantasy art.
That said, I don't dislike the art in itself, But while his face seems fitting for a scene where dodges arrows in a forest, It does not look like Link at all Link has a friendlier face on him.
@Steel76 Are you seriously finding it baffling that people who prefer japanese art style will not like a Japanese character turned into a western one but will like the opposite? Because that's the most natural thing to expect, ever.
Link looks better as a bishi.
It is apparent that western artists/devs/whatever don't get Link.
This is really good. but why does Link look so ugly? There are plenty of hot, good looking western men, but the artist doesn't use any of them as reference? Heck, he could have gone to any of the elves on Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit.
But I guess, like the last "western" picture of Link, this is really mostly what we find pleasing and what we don't. He's a really, insanely good artist, and I could never get close to what he can do in a million years.
Also, I love his Adventure Time piece.
Why are all these western attempts to draw Link so terrible. How can the Japanese be that much better at character design?!
This, and the last example posted a few days back are so shockingly inferior that it's not even funny.
It's just the face that is bad - not necessarily because it's westernised, but because it's ugly and doesn't look like Link at all.
Not bad, not bad. That's really nice actually. Just too bad the rugged look isn't welcome here. Sucks that a character meant to be a representation of the player HAS to be cutesy, and/or a pretty boy in the mind of the "fans".
@AVahne Not sure why you're insinuating people aren't real fans if they don't like a revolting drawing of Link.
These versions of Link, while very good from an art perspective, only shows me that they just don't get it.
I like this one. The old one looked... Really bad, but this one looks really cool, imo.
Legolas looks way hotter.
Eh. Even though I don't have any bias towards western or eastern styles, I still say that Link look too inhuman and elf like. Sure Link was an elf in OoT, but he didn't look like he came straight out of Santa's workshop when he grew up. He looked like a normal eastern styled human. And most of all since when was Link's shield a piece of paper of mass destruction.
I just noticed how the article ended, and I would like to give my opinion on the question.
I want the west to stay far far away from making a Zelda game. I saw what they did to Silent Hill, and I have no desire to see Zelda end up a Skyrim clone.
For some reason they always give link a strange face and hairstyle when they try to do a realistic or live action version of him.
His hair isn't supposed to be long a wavy like girl (who hasn't washed it in ages). Its just a slightly longer styled side pattern for the most part (and it actually looks properly styled, even stylish). And his face isn't old and chiseled/sharp looking.
He should be like a 17 year old with a properly styled hairdo, or something like that.
By design, Link is kind of a young, handsome, almost androgynous looking pretty-boy, who clearly takes time to style his hair and just looks stylish in general. He's not some weird cosplay looking 30 year old who hasn't washed his hair in weeks.
These western artists are trying to turn him into some kind of rugged barbarian looking warrior when he is in fact more like a spritely fairy/elf type character.
It's like they're going out of their way to mess his face up. The rest of the image is fine but it's like the wrong face was photoshopped onto the rest of the image.
There is something very off-putting about these kinds of gritty "westernized" portrayals of anime-ish video game characters with angry, hardened faces. But not because of the art itself. These fanarts you guys have been sharing of Link recently are good, especially this one which is freaking fantastic, but it aaaaaaiiiiiin't Link. Someone above said they "just don't get it". It's a lot like how that Kid Icarus game that got cancelled several years ago was turning out. They tried to make a Pit unlike the bubbly young dorky Pit that Nintendo wanted, and it just wasn't a Nintendo Pit. Same here, it lacks the sort of silly Nintendo character charm and tries to be darker and grittier than what we're used to, so it is kind of weird. (And I am very grateful Kid Icarus did NOT go in that direction, phew!)
But this art is freakin' sweet. I applaud!
@Crimzonlogic Totally agree.
I like it better than the drug addict Link from last time.
I get it...
You lose the sense of magical wonder when taking this style. Aonuma points to it clear when he says that Zelda is a game taking peaceful situations and turning them upside down — like fireflies being scattered. This just looks like Link has seen too much.
This looks like an interpretation of if modern games still used the boxart design styles of old. I'm getting a zelda 1 meets megaman boxart.
Shouldn't the arrow's be on his back and not hanging off his behind?
Why is western Link so damn ugly?
Again this western obsession with realism.
And all male characters apparently need to look rough and cold as well.
This is why I'm always scared when Japanese companies outsource their games.
One of my favorite things about Link is he's become almost like Batman in terms of personal interpretation of the character.
@Steel76 this guy gets it.
Looks cool. The snobs in here are intolerable. You can still appreciate the art, and not want it for a game.
@EverythingAmiibo "(I reckon it can mainly be traced back to WoW)"
That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Blizzard are one of the few western companies that use fantastic, imaginative artstyles in their games.
This generic mess is far closer to old D&D-style artwork, or TES , but at least TES has interesting races like Argonians and Khajit.
@Steel76 You sound like a 14 year old.
@LUIGITORNADO Oh don't worry, you're far more intolerable than the "snobs".
"You can still appreciate the art, and not want it for a game."
Of course you can. This just isn't art worth appreciating.
I kinda like it.
The face is a bit arkward, but the overall image looks really cool.
I'd say that Link being based on Peter Pan has a lot to do with his youthful appearance. So to give him this rugged aged face is really jarring.
@MrRight Oh pah-lease!
I was trying to give you whiners a away out. Truth is, you're no better than the dorks who complained about toon Link in Wind Waker. At the end of the day, it's the game that would count, not the design of Link.
You pretty much know what you're going to get when you hear the words 'realistic styled Link from a western perspective', the art here doesn't surprise me in the least. Bland, generic, uninspired, gritty, bleh. There's traces of artistic integrity here and there (it's certainly 1000000 times better than what I can do lol) but you change the design of the shield (get rid of the Triforce mainly) and photoshop Geralt's face on there, it would be a fantastic fan art of The Witcher 3 of Gerlat of Rivia battling through the forests of Velen. Maybe add a few wraiths for good measure and get rid of the tunic. But regardless that's the main problem these guys have, they're tainted no doubt about it, but the design leaves so little room from a creative point of view- they're all the same. Harsh but true the way I see it.
Some people say they can't understand the "make everything 8-bit" trend , but I can't understand the "make everything hardcore that isn't hardcore" trend. Artists like this have ruined my perception of Pokémon already. No franchise is safe. Not even Kirby.
At any rate, this looks loads better then the last one showcased on this site.
@EverythingAmiibo or the most obvious one that's been using this style for the last 30 or so years which is Dungeons & Dragons...
I still get the impression that the majority of Nintendo-lifers are only familiar with OoT to Wii based Zelda titles.
He looks like Geralt rip-off. Actually, I feel like I saw something very similiar, but that's probably because it looks like generic fantasy.
...What dirty hobo ate Link?
But seriously I love the hell out of that Adventure Time one, seen it a few times before but man is it perfect (Beemo couldn't be better).
This looks like a crappy Link knockoff version of Elven Rangers in Dungeons and Dragons. Considering Rangers are often locked into Good alignment, though, this body and face design don't really match such a character either. It's amazing how the artist put so much work into this, but it turned out wrong in just about every way imaginable. (Unless you don't care about art nuances and critiques. In that case, this appeals perfectly to the testosterone riddled, sophomoric tendencies of dudebros!)
That being said, he might try his hand at characters such as Geralt of Rivia, from The Witcher. He would probably fail to depict the jaded, world weary tones of Geralt, but oh well. This style would still fit Geralt better than Link.
Where are all the people that said that Link looks too effeminate? Shouldn't they be drooling over this? He doesn't look effeminate in the official artwork by the way but I'm guessing the people that feel he does don't look a a ton of Anime or japanese fantasy tropes.
So has Link been chain smokin' or something?
That's what a westernized version of Link would look more like, if we're using classic Western fantasy or Dungeons and Dragons influences. Notice how in this portrait, Link retains his soft features and tones, while displaying a clear resolve and hardiness of mind and constitution. His countenance has a more obvious pretty boy flair to it, but that's closer to how Westerners perceive one anyways.
It literally took me just a quick search engine entry of "Dungeons and Dragons Elf Ranger Link" to find this portrait on DeviantArt. It's not really worth making an article over, unless there's an interview or something like that accompanying it.
That looks really awesome! I mean, I wouldn't necessarily want it to be Link's new staple design, but its pretty ballin' regardless.
Mostly well drawn, but significantly off the mark. Some people, no matter how talented, just don't understand brand.
Call me a traditionalist, but I don't like it. Link's face is just too human/realistic (and he looks pretty old) and his ears are way too long.
@PlywoodStick That looks great!
Uhh nope. He looks like a cross between live action LOTR elves and cheesy romance novel art. He just needs a busty woman swooning in his arms. LMAO
And that ladies and gentlemen is the last thing a waddledee ever sees.
I like that better
This artwork has me thinking about the artwork on the box for Mega Man 1 and 2
@Tempestryke @GeminiSaint It's by gerezon on DeviantArt. I like oil and watercolor paintings, so that was a nice find.
As fanart it is cool but I would not ever want Link to look like that personally.
@LUIGITORNADO You're a moron. Like, a huge moron.
Comparing this to Toon Link is pathetic, because it makes the assumption that the two are equal.
People cried about Toon Link because it was different and they didn't want change.
This isn't bad because it's different, this is bad because it's bad. Try getting better taste in art, son.
@MrRight Oh no. I was called a moron on the internet!
The amount of bitterness over one artist's drawing of a masculine Link is absolutely ridiculous to the point of hilarity. No doubt Nintendolife saw the ill-reactions last time, and felt the need to capitalize on the perfectibility.
Baaaah along little sheep.
Well that was fast.
I've found these Western interpretations of Link to be interesting. I liked the one previously shown (343 Studios) one for it's distict "Hobbit-esqe" take on Link. This one, I'm not the biggest fan of the face, but otherwise an interesting interpretation. I can't say I'd want this Link in a game (I'd need a full pitch in this artstyle), but as an individual image, I like it.
Reminds me of the 90s when MD/Super Famicom games got released in the west and the packaging and illustrations got reworked. Urgh. The Street Fighter games were a classic example. The Japanese aesthetic was always much more stylish and colourful.
Super talent but not digging the final rendition. Link is many things (he could even be a she if Nintendo wanted and it wouldn't feel out of place) but even in his darkest, most dramatic adventures he's not a hardened, grizzled old man. It's just not fitting. Link is spry and youthful, more elven. Even old Link would still have a more youthful appearance. I mean this feels the equivalent of if they'd cast Sylvester Stallone as Legolas in LoTR, it's just completely wrong.
The Adventure Time artwork is very nice though!
Art is cool but if it's not pretty and young-looking it's not Link to me. I'll pass, these realistic faces make him look way too ugly in comparison.
Wow, way too rugged. Guy looks like he's aged 30 years.
Without that triforce sign I might not have known who this was...
I think it has been around a lot longer than WoW. Try dungeons and dragons and baldurs gate at least
It doesn't look like Link. I really don't like it.
@LUIGITORNADO Yes, you were called a moron on the internet, and that's because you are legitimately a moron. The location of which you are called one is irrelevant. I call it like I see it.
"Baaaah along little sheep."
Ahahahahaha, sheep? You're that desperate? Why not go full-fedora and call me "sheeple"? Ahahahaha, wow. There's no way you're above the age of 14.
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