Nintendo’s E3 2016 lanyards fuel the rumor that Linkle, the female version of Link, is set to take on a bigger role in the series in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

UPDATE: In an interview with Gamespot, Nintendo producer Eiji Aonuma confirmed there would be no Linkle in the new game, stating that “if we have Princess Zelda as the main character who fights, then what is Link going to do?”. The original story follows…

The newest instalment in the Legend of Zelda series, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, has been in development long enough to have had some major rumors circulate around its production. Early on in its lifespan, people speculated that the new Legend of Zelda wouldn’t even feature Link, instead handing the reins of the series to a new character altogether. While that rumor turned out to be false, it hasn’t stopped fans from considering the possibility that Nintendo might be tinkering with the famed Legend of Zelda hero.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild gameplay trailer from Nintendo’s E3 2016 presentation has won over even the most critical fans of the series as an innovative and refreshing take on the series, but Nintendo’s first announcement regarding the new game might have been much more subtle. According to journalists attending the event, the lanyards Nintendo handed out for E3 2016 feature two characters – one is very clearly the newest iteration of Link, while another hooded character looks like it could be the oft-rumored Linkle making her series protagonist debut.

nintendo e3 2016 link linkle lanyard

While some fans have already pointed out that the art work for both images has already surfaced, seeing them side-by-side definitely seems to suggest that one of the pieces depicted Linkle and gamers simply didn’t know any better at the time. There are subtle differences in the faces of both characters that definitely make it appear one of the most anticipated games of E3 2016 is going to allow players the choice between playing a male and female Link.

The change might not seem like a huge deal to some gamers, but Nintendo recognizing that the constantly growing and evolving gamer population contains more women than ever is a major step forward for the industry. If the rumor turns out to be true, letting the well-received Linkle from Hyrule Warriors Legends become an option for gamers in Nintendo’s biggest game release of the future could be a game changer in the way devs approach the way they design protagonists.

Of course, the art for Link in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been misconstrued before, so there’s always the chance that fans are reading too far into the small differences in art aesthetic on a E3 2016 lanyard. The fact that this rumor has generated so much discussion, however, should serve as a hint to Nintendo that the demand for Linkle playing a larger role in Legend of Zelda content isn’t going away any time soon.

What do you think, Ranters? Baseless speculation or more evidence that points toward Linkle making an appearance in the new Legend of Zelda? Let us know in the comments below.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be released for the Wii U and Nintendo NX in 2017.

Source: Nintendolife