Breath of the Wild 2 needs to break Zelda's oldest taboo
It's time to let Zelda take center stage.
It's time to make Zelda playable. While The Legend of Zelda franchise's namesake is playable in some spinoffs and games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, Nintendo has always been hesitant to make her playable on the same level as Link. That needs to change, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 gives Nintendo a clear opportunity to finally let players take control of Zelda throughout the adventure.
Not only is she a more active character in Breath of the Wild and prominently featured in the only trailer for Breath of the Wild 2, but Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity also showed how fun and distinct she could be to play on her own.
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Following the events of the first Breath of the Wild, Zelda's Triforce power has been fully achieved. Because that's the case, she'll definitely be able to fend for herself and it wouldn't make sense for her to become a damsel in distress again. Even in the game's reveal trailer, she's actively exploring a dungeon with Link.
Relegating her to a cutscene-only damsel in distress status again would regress her character, so from here it really makes sense to make Zelda playable. She could play much differently than Link, being the Mage to his Knight, and having two playable characters could open up some unique puzzle opportunities in dungeons as players attempt to navigate them with two characters.
Unfortunately, Nintendo has always been hesitant to make Zelda playable for fairly arbitrary reasons: "We thought about it and decided that if we're going to have a female protagonist, it's simpler to have Princess Zelda as the main character," series producer Eiji Aonuma told GameSpot when explaining why only a male Link was playable in the first Breath of the Wild.
"If we have princess Zelda as the main character who fights, then what is Link going to do? Taking into account that, and also the idea of the balance of the Triforce, we thought it best to come back to this [original] makeup." The developers think that making Zelda playable will lessen the importance of Link, but it's definitely possible to circumvent this issue.
For example, you could make Link a more defined character and not the blank slate he mostly is in Breath of the Wild and Age of Calamity. Additionally, you could make Link and Zelda play distinctly enough from each other to where it doesn't feel like one is more important than the other. If Nintendo wants to know how Zelda can play different than Link, they just have to look to Age of Calamity.
That game managed to give Zelda a fast-paced move set for an action game utilizing the Sheikah Slate and Bow of Light. Maybe have her be the one who can use Sheikah Slate and bow powers instead of Link, or position her as more of a support-based character that could debuff enemies or buff Link.
The addition of Zelda could change up the series' gameplay as we know it and would create a lot of positive buzz with fans who want to play as her. If Breath of the Wild 2 is going to be bigger and better than the original, making Zelda a playable character would be a sensible addition.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 is in development for Nintendo Switch.