For the better part of the past 30 years, every single Legend of Zelda game has played out in pretty much the same way. Ganon(dorf) shows up to threaten the world, Princess Zelda's life is put in peril, and Link literally gathers up the courage to save the day.
All of that changed last night when Nintendo announced that the newest Hero of Time set to join the Hyrule Warriors roster would be an updated version of Link reimagined as a woman named Linkle.
Hyrule Warriors, for those who haven't played it, is an odd collaboration between Nintendo and Tecmo, the studio behind the historically-themed Warriors franchise. Unlike your traditional Zelda game, Hyrule Warriors is less about puzzle solving and more about pulling off ridiculous fighting combos to dispatch hordes of enemies.
Technically speaking, the game isn't really a part of Zelda cannon, but for a series that regularly features time-travel and reincarnation, that doesn't really matter.
What's important is that Hyrule Warriors is continuing in its tradition of taking Zelda's female characters out of their typical settings and showing off just how badass they can be without Link's assistance.
Though Linkle's design (and name) are clearly based on Link's, Nintendo's decision to move forward with the character is reflective of fans' desires to finally see a woman defending Hyrule.
Last year, when Nintendo released early test footage of a new, unreleased Zelda game for the Wii U, many people were (pleasantly) shocked to see a Link whose gender was somewhat ambigous. Gone were the iconic green tunic and hat in exchange for a sky blue shirt, longer hair, and a chopped ponytail.
Though the identity and gender of this mysterious character have yet to be confirmed by Nintendo, the company's choice to include Linkle in a game is a positive sign that future Zelda games could potentially focus on women. In all honestly, though, the best think about Linkle is that she's just cooler than Link.
Where Link is usually depicted as being sort of clumsy and not all that great of a fighter, Linkle's first appearance is all business. Instead of questing for a magical sword to make her strong enough to fend off evil, Linkle dual-wields crossbows that she uses like machine guns.
Glowing swords are nice and all, but really, who do you want on your team? The guy with the antique blade that's been broken at least a dozen times or the sharpshooter with unlimited ammunition and an itchy trigger finger?