Last year’s release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild remains an iconic open-world masterpiece, a game that offers something new with each area, from encounters to goblins to new items that make a world of difference during your quest. And its redesign of Link was pretty much perfect, though the developers took quite a bit of time getting to that point.
Producer Eiji Aonuma and others recently contributed to a new art book for Breath of the Wild, and in it, they discuss how the team had to go through so many things to make Link’s look just right.
First up, outfit color made a bigger impact than you might think. “We thought that the iconic green tunic and hat had become expected, so we wanted to mix things up and update his look,” Aonuma said. “Interestingly, though, nobody on the team said, ‘Let’s make him blue!’ It just organically ended up that way.”
As for all those revamps of Link, art director Satoru Takizawa explained, “Producer Aonuma-san declared that we would be revising expectations by updating Link for this game. He wanted Link to be a more neutral character that players could see themselves as. You can feel how energized and excited the artists were about this idea from the really interesting modern concepts they drew. There were close to one hundred designs presented within the team for Link, and the number of sketches was too great to count.”
Circling back around to why Link was colored blue instead of his traditional green, lead artist Yoshiyuki Oyama added, “At the beginning of development we drew a lot of landscape concepts. Link wearing blue clothes appeared pretty early on because the blue stood out against the backgrounds we were producing.”
There’s no word yet if this art book will be making its way to our shores; but we certainly hope it does as it provides a great deal of insight into the creation of one of last year’s most highly regarded masterpieces. Fingers crossed.
(Hat tip to Nintendo Everything for the scoop!)