Saturday, January 21, 2017

Hyrule Fashion

Ever since I saw this in Wind Waker, I thought that the hat had to go.

Twilight Princess again teased it, but then went right back around and gave us the hat again.

Minish Cap justified the hat possibly better than any other game. Ezlo and his central role in the game redeemed the hat for me. But none of the other hats were Ezlo, so no dice for them.

Skyward Sword at least had a pretty legit reason for it, what with it being part of his knight's uniform. Still, hatless Link was better.

Enter Breath of the Wild.


I like the ponytail, too. This is probably a divisive opinion.
I love Link's new clothes. They represent so much to me. Nintendo is shying away from stagnant tradition and embracing a bold, new direction for the series. It adds a level of uniqueness to this Link instead of having him be another visual clone of the others. I also love how its blue color ties into the Sheikah lore we've seen permeating the rest of the game.

The Shiekah symbol. Link's new default clothes share its coloring.
Yes, he's had variations of the tunic before. Yes, you can get different sets of armor in Breath of the Wild outside of his default outfit. But Zelda and Ganon, who get brand new designs with each entry, have always outclassed Link's subtle alterations to his iconic green clothes. Not anymore. Now Link is free to shine.

Despite his new default attire, there are other sets of clothing in the game. Here, Link can be seen wearing a full set of armor.
Look, I know the hat and tunic are probably in the game. But that's not the point. The iconic Breath of the Wild Link is the one wearing the blue clothes. All of his artwork is of him in the blue tunic with no hat. All of the promo footage is of blue Link. Even his Amiibo is blue Link. None of the other incarnations of Link are known by their "alternate" designs, if they start the game with one. This one is. The tunic, or any other piece of clothing or armor Link acquires, would essentially be the alternate design this time.

Link's Amiibo design.
When people think "Link from Breath of the Wild," they're going to call to mind his original design before any eventual tunic he gets in the game. That, to me, is awesome, and a huge step forward in character design. It gives his character a sense of originality that Ganon and Zelda have been getting for several games now, and helps to differentiate him from past Links and give him his own sense of visual identity.

Redditor zeltik's fan rendition of the classic tunic, Breath of the Wild style.
As can be seen above, the tunic actually looks pretty cool in Breath of the Wild's art style. But the point is that Link is evolving as a character. He no longer has the uniform as a visual identifier, leaving the developers to rely more on how he moves and emotes. In many ways, his classic attire was a crutch - one that is now thankfully missing. If he does obtain the tunic, it will be later in the game, after we've already come to know the character for who he is, not what he represents.

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