When a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was first teased, we all thought it was inevitable that the titular princess would finally become a playable character. However, yet again, that is not the case, with Link running to the rescue in Tears of the Kingdom. Understandably, that has many fans wondering if Zelda will ever be playable in a mainline game, and it seems that Nintendo isn’t making this a priority.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, longtime Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma shed some light on the issue, and it’s pretty bad news for anyone hoping to play as the princess anytime soon. While he doesn’t rule out the possibility of a playable Zelda, he confirms that there are no plans to make this a reality right now. He also says that Zelda will only take the limelight if the game “would be best served” by having her as the hero, with any future games otherwise keeping Link as the player character.
“We feel like what takes most priority is this idea of gameplay,” says Aonuma, speaking just after Tears of the Kingdom’s launch. “If it turns out that the particular gameplay we’re trying to bring to fruition would be best served by having Zelda take that role, then it’s possible that that could be a direction we could take.”
However, Aonuma makes it clear that this isn’t a hint at a future game that Nintendo has in mind, and is all theoretical. “With that said, of course, because we are not sure what the next gameplay experience is going to be, we can’t say what Zelda’s next step is going to be.”
Zelda has never been the star of any of the mainline entries. Instead, her gameplay has been limited to spin-offs, such as Hyrule Warriors, Super Smash Bros., and even the infamous Zelda’s Adventure on the even more infamous Phillips CD-i. Incidentally, if you’ve ever wanted to give that a go, a fan just put together a Game Boy-esque remake – and it’s free to play. It’s stupid fun, even if it doesn’t quite make up for the lack of playable Zelda in Tears of the Kingdom right now.
Of course, the more optimistic way to look at Aonuma’s comments is that playable Zelda isn’t being ruled out. It is, as he says, “possible” that future games will let us play as the princess. It just sounds like it won’t be the guiding principle behind any Zelda projects, no matter how many fans are eager to have a new player character after all these years.
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