We now know that there will be no gender choice for Link in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which went against early speculation and recent rumours that emerged.
While that has come as a disappointment to many, The Legend of Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma has explained that, aside from Twilight Princess, the development team has always aimed to design Link as a “gender-neutral character.”
“Back during the Ocarina of Time days, I wanted Link to be gender neutral,” Aonuma explained to TIME. “I wanted the player to think ‘Maybe Link is a boy or a girl.’ If you saw Link as a guy, he’d have more of a feminine touch. Or vice versa, if you related to Link as a girl, it was with more of a masculine aspect. I really wanted the designer to encompass more of a gender-neutral figure. So I’ve always thought that for either female or male players, I wanted them to be able to relate to Link.”
He continued, “During the development of Twilight Princess, I went a different route and created a version of Link that was more masculine. But after Twilight Princess I went back to the drawing board and decided Link should be a more gender-neutral character.
“Hence I created the version of Link that you see in Breath of the Wild. As far as gender goes, Link is definitely a male, but I wanted to create a character where anybody would be able to relate to the character.
“So that’s why I think the rumour went around that Link could be a female. Because maybe the users were able to relate in that way.”
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will release exclusively for Nintendo NX and Wii U in 2017.