- Tears of the Kingdom raised hopes for a playable Zelda, but the game still didn’t deliver.
- Zelda’s potential as a playable character is evident in her major role and powers in Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom.
- A game focused on Zelda as a playable character could have a unique gameplay experience with magic spells and a greater impact on the narrative, providing new story opportunities.
By this point, many players have spent hours journeying through Tears of the Kingdom. Using various new abilities and travel methods, Breath of the Wild’s Link returns to explore every inch of not only Hyrule’s surface but its skies and subterranean Depths as well. Tears of the Kingdom may be the most direct mechanical and narrative sequel in The Legend of Zelda, but it still made new takes on both its existing map and game engine. With so much to do and see, disappointment with the game’s recycled content is often quickly put aside.
One disappointment that Tears of the Kingdom may never truly shake, however, comes from before its launch. Fans only had the initial teaser trailer to work with for a long time, producing various theories for Tears of the Kingdom like having a dark story like Majora’s Mask, or that there would be co-op between Link and Princess Zelda. Neither of these turned out to be true, but the second hit especially hard due to a growing desire for Zelda to be playable. The Legend of Zelda has focused exclusively on Link for too long, and Tears of the Kingdom has only strengthened the case that Princess Zelda needs a game of her own.
This is How Princess Zelda Can Get Her Own Game
The producer behind the Legend of Zelda franchise explains how Princess Zelda herself can get her very own game in the long-running series.
The Legend of Zelda Spends Little Time With Zelda Herself
Princess Zelda has a poor record of being playable in The Legend of Zelda, even with her name in every title. The earliest instances of a playable Zelda lie within two of the three infamous Legend of Zelda CD-i games, and her next controlled outing was Super Smash Bros. Melee. Zelda finally gained a mainline playable role as a spirit in The Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass’ sequel Spirit Tracks, but after that, it was back to Smash games and spin-offs like Hyrule Warriors.
Tears of the Kingdom Felt Primed For A Playable Zelda
Discussion of a playable Zelda had a noticeable uptick in the lead-up to Breath of the Wild and returned when it seemed possible for Tears of the Kingdom, but Zelda spent both games out of commission. This is in spite of her major role in BotW and TotK‘s collectible memories, and her assistance in the final battles with Calamity Ganon and Demon Dragon Ganondorf. It’s clear at this point that Zelda could hold her own in an adventure, reinforced by her traveling clothes paralleling Link’s Champion set, but she needs to be given that chance.
Tears of the Kingdom Proves That Princess Zelda Could Carry Her Own Game
A Legend of Zelda title focused on Zelda herself could play out like any other TLoZ game, but with a few key differences. Instead of the typical dungeon items, Zelda could learn functionally similar magic spells, befitting her typical association with The Legend of Zelda‘s Triforce of Wisdom. Tears of the Kingdom supports this by introducing a Zelda whose heritage includes the Sages of Light and Time, granting her both powers. Link gets downgraded versions of the same through Rauru’s arm and Zelda’s Recall power, so having Zelda herself use such abilities is a logical next step.
Playable Zelda Could Have A Greater Narrative Impact
Having Zelda become playable would also circumvent how she’s often treated in the series’ story. Except for her Spirit Tracks incarnation, Zelda spends most games acting only when the story demands it or during the final boss fight. TotK’s Light Dragon did technically give Zelda more screen time, but it was still a purely supportive role.
Zelda’s presence in Tears of the Kingdom‘s opening demonstrates that she could offer more story opportunities in Link’s place, either by paying attention to the series’ abundant lore or by just having visible dialogue in conversations. With the next Legend of Zelda title moving away from Tears of the Kingdom‘s Hyrule, hopefully Princess Zelda will get another shot at leading a journey of her own.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
- May 12, 2023
- Rated E for Everyone 10+ for Fantasy Violence and Mild Suggestive Themes
- How Long To Beat
- 59 Hours