Breath of the Wild 2 should just let you choose Link's gender
Bring Linkle back!
While we haven't seen any new footage or heard any new information about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 since the game was revealed at E3 2019, the possibilities for the ambitious sequel remain tantalizing. Even though the reveal trailer for the game featured a male Link, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 should embrace more customization options by bringing back Linkle — a female version of Link from Hyrule Warriors Legends games — so that we finally get a female version of Link in a mainline Zelda game.
While not nearly as popular as the mainline Zelda games, the Hyrule Warriors spinoff featured many different original characters from that universe. One of these characters in Hyrule Warriors Legends was Linkle, who, while technically a different character altogether, was initially conceived of as Link's sister. That changed in the development process and she instead became what's essentially a female alternate to link. She fights using a crossbow in each hand instead of wielding the Master Sword.
Linkle hasn't appeared in any games since Hyrule Warriors Legends, which was released in 2016. But Nintendo producer Eiji Aonuma did tell IGN in 2015 that she might be featured in another game eventually. "I'm sure we will keep her in mind when thinking about future titles," he said.
While it does feel like a longshot, we would love to see her return as a playable character in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2. Simply being able to choose whether you want to play as Link or Linkle right at the start of the game would be an awesome customization feature to include. Even if it's not Linkle outright, being able to choose Link's gender feels like a progressive direction for the franchise to head in. Link never has any significant dialogue anyway, which would render this choice fairly insignificant, so why not?
The original Breath of the Wild heavily expanded the customization options available in a Zelda game, as Link could equip a variety of outfits and weapons. Still, players weren't able to change Link's gender, something that has often been requested by fans and even was rumored to be in Breath of the Wild at one point. Any sequel would do well to expand those options, so it would make a lot of sense for Nintendo to rework Linkle as a female version of Link and add her to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 as an option.
Unfortunately, there has historically been some resistance to this progressive evolution from within Nintendo. "We did discuss as a staff as to what would be possible if we took that route," Eiji Aonuma told GameSpot in 2016. Instead of a female Link like Linkle, they considered making Princess Zelda playable. The team ultimately decided not to because "if we have princess Zelda as the main character who fights, then what is Link going to do?"
The reveal trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 suggests that Zelda will have a larger role to play in the sequel, but if she's still not playable, then we should at least have the option to play as Linkle and not diminish the hero's role. While Aonuma says a playable Zelda is a simpler option, Linkle already exists within the Zelda universe. It doesn't seem like much would have to change about the character outside of the little bits of voice acting and a slightly updated character model.
A solid base design for a female Link already exists in Linkle, and it'd be awesome to see the character used more often. Nintendo should bring Linkle back by making her playable in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 as the female version of Link, but we'd settle for her addition to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or perhaps even her own spinoff title.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 is currently in development for Nintendo Switch.