It’s no secret that some Nintendo fans were unhappy with the company’s E3 2015 press conference with many saying that there just weren’t enough major announcements and that the major announcements that they did have underwhelmed. Specifically, fans were disappointed that there was no news on The Legend of Zelda (for Wii U) and that instead, Nintendo announced a co-op 3DS spin-off called Zelda: Tri Force Heroes.
The game stars the three titular heroes as they fulfil a prophecy to battle enemies and solve puzzles. The characters (who can be controlled by one player and AI, or by a group of three people) must work together using their different items to get past puzzles, one puzzle solution even includes stacking the three characters in a totem pole so that they can attack an enemy. Additionally, the characters can be decked out in different costumes which will then grant them extra abilities.
With this level of customization, as well as the support for local and online multiplayer (including the competitive Colosseum mode), Zelda: Tri Force Heroes has drawn some comparisons to MMOs. But unlike many MMOs, Tri Force Heroes won’t feature female playable characters as all three of the titular stars of the game will be male.
Speaking to IGN, the game’s director Hiromasa Shikata explained why:
“There’s this kingdom, an event happens, and the king needs heroes. So, he puts out a call for heroes to gather and one of those is this guy Link. He sees this audition, basically, ‘Heroes needed; apply here.’ And, that’s the start of his adventure.
The story calls for this sort of legend/prophecy where heroes will come together to help solve a problem. And in that, they are male characters. So, because the game is set with that as the story background, you cannot choose a gender; you are a male character.”
With playable female characters in games (or the lack thereof) being such a hot button issue, with Assassin’s Creed Unity recently catching flack for not featuring female characters in its multiplayer mode, it’s unsurprising that Shikata’s words have caused similar controversy.
Fans argue that as only one of the characters is Link, it doesn’t make sense that at least one of them isn’t a female character such as Princess Zelda herself or recurring character Impa, and they also point out that Link can even wear a Zelda costume in the game. And while Shikata and co. have not revealed all of the details about the game’s story, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious reason why the prophecy couldn’t be filled by a group of characters of mixed genders.
On the other hand, fans argue that as Shikata is the director of the game, he should have free creative license to write a story where, in his vision, the prophecy is filled by a group of male heroes. They also say that as Hyrule Warriors exists, and that Zelda, Impa, and Agitha have all been playable in other games in the series, it isn’t necessary to include female characters here as well.
When pressed on the issue by IGN, Shikata did appear to have understood both sides of the argument. However, the director says the game’s development team has “a lot of female staff members who are playing this game and enjoying it”, and that “Link isn’t the most masculine of guys in the world” so players who want to play as a female character can “project” themselves onto Link, so it seems as though his mind is made up for now.
Do you think that Zelda: Tri Force Heroes should include female characters? Do you think it matters whether female characters are included or not? Leave a comment and let us know.
Zelda: Tri Force Heroes will be released on 3DS later in 2015.