Linkle

What does a Legend of Linkle game look like to you?

Does Linkle get a prince named Zeldo?

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It’s a post-Tears of the Kingdom world out there and we’re just living in it, baby. After a few years of bubbling anticipation, the latest entry in The Legend of Zelda series has finally arrived, and according to reviews, it just might be worth the extra $10 Nintendo convinced everyone to pay for it. As people around the world, be they famous developers for other games or sad dads on the bus to work, come together to save Hyrule once again, I’m looking ahead to what might be next for the series.

All week on Destructoid, we’ve been publishing retrospectives, listicles, and feature articles centered on The Legend of Zelda. A few of our writers have highlighted ideas for the future of the series, be it a franchise fighting game or a hypothetical title where the legend of Zelda is actually about Zelda. And while I support both of those ideas wholeheartedly, I want to focus my final Zelda Week piece on another character entirely. Because it’s about time Nintendo put some serious thought into making a Linkle game.

Linkle’s been on my mind for the past fortnight as I booted up Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition, a game that undoubtedly would have been on my Top 10 list for that GQ UK 100 best video games article if anyone outside of Destructoid knew who I was or cared what I thought. I adore Hyrule Warriors with every fiber of my being, and that’s just how I feel about the Wii U original. The Definitive Edition is pure heaven with its steady-as-stone framerate and the introduction of all the elements from the 3DS version of the game. And chief among those elements is…well, it’s the Wind Waker stuff. But second to that is Linkle, who is a ray of sunshine.

Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition
Screenshot by Destructoid

Who is Linkle?

If you missed out on Hyrule Warriors Legends or Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition, Linkle is a green tunic-clad Cucco farmer who mistakenly believes she’s the reincarnation of the legendary hero. When she gets word of the attack on Hyrule Castle, she grabs her dual crossbows and springs into action…in the wrong direction. While her journey takes her to many incorrect locations, she eventually reaches the castle and becomes the hero she’s always believed she is meant to be, even if she isn’t the hero.

Eiji Aonuma has suggested Linkle could appear in future Zelda games. While I question the genuine nature of that statement, given how many years it’s been since she first appeared, I don’t want to lose hope. In fact, considering my copy of Tears of the Kingdom won’t be here until Monday thankyouverymuchUPS, I’m taking this last bit of free time to postulate ideas on the future of Linkle and what it would be like if she got her own spin-off. Because we’ve already seen how she plays in a Musou crossover. But if she were to get her own game, what exactly would that look like? And who would/should make it?

Linkle
Image Courtesy of Nintendo

A traditional, top-down Zelda game from Blossom Tales developer Castle Pixel

The first suggestion is the most obvious. The Legend of Zelda franchise cut its teeth on the top-down action game perspective, and a Linkle adventure would fit in well with the formula. Though, considering her weapon of choice is the crossbow, it would be more shooty than Link’s adventures. Castle Pixel has made a name for itself developing the Blossom Tales series, which are solid Zelda-likes that absolutely nail the feel of playing A Link to the Past. With a little guidance and some funding from Nintendo itself, I have no doubt Castle Pixel could give Linkle a brilliant, old-school solo outing.

Action Game
Image Courtesy of Nintendo

A PlatinumGames developed action game

In Hyrule Warriors, Linkle’s signature weapons are her crossbows, but she’s not afraid to use her feet when necessary. In the right hands, Linkle could be gaming’s next great action game star. It isn’t difficult to see her hanging with the likes of Bayonetta or Dante, and an action game following the lead of those characters would give this female version of Link an identity far from her origins.

Linkle
Image Courtesy of Nintendo

A full-blown FPS from David Szymanski, developer of Dusk

There are infinite first-person shooter developers out there who would do a fine job creating a Linkle first-person shooter. Respawn Entertainment, Retro Studios, id; the cup runneth over on quality candidates. But honestly, after seeing what Brace Yourself Games did with Cadence of Hyrule, I think another excellent indie studio should get a whack at making a Linkle FPS. It may seem like something of an odd choice, but I’d love to see what Dusk developer David Szymanski would do with the IP. His 2018 breakthrough title is still one of the best on Switch, and who wouldn’t love to return to a version of Hyrule rendered in all its 64-bit glory?

On Rails Shooter
Image Courtesy of Nintendo

An on-rails narrative shooter from Treasure (because Treasure needs work)

It pains me to know the on-rails shooter genre will never be as big as I want it to be because, in my mind, it should be enormous. I love me a genre that mixes pure arcade shooting fun with ridiculous set-pieces, and while there have been some great games from the genre on console and in arcades, there is only one developer I would want to take up the challenge of making a Linkle on-rails shooter. And that’s the masterminds behind the Wii flop Sin & Punishment: Star Successor.

Treasure is a treasure, whether it’s developing the Sin & Punishment series for Nintendo or creating the masterpiece omnidirectional shooter that is Bangai-O. It’s more than proven itself worthy of getting the keys to a part of the Zelda IP. Plus, given that Treasure hasn’t released a game since 2014, the developers could probably use the work.

Bullet Hell
Image Courtesy of Nintendo

A bullet hell shooter from, well, Treasure (because Treasure still needs work)

Again, great genre that should be bigger, only one developer I can trust making a Linkle bullet-hell shooter and it’s the masterminds behind the Ikaruga and Radiant Silvergun, yadda-yadda-yadda. Look, I just want Treasure to start making games again. The developers behind Gunstar Heroes, Alien Soldier, frickin’ Mischief Makers, and Astro Boy: Omega Factor shouldn’t be some relic of the past. It’s hard to think of another studio that has made arcade fun the cornerstone of its DNA and we need more of that in gaming today. So please, Treasure, please start making games again.

Crossbow Training
Image Courtesy of Nintendo

Just make it Linkle’s Crossbow Training and call it a day, Nintendo

It’s unlikely we’ll ever see Linkle again outside of some future Hyrule Warriors sequel. While the Super Mario series is absolutely swimming in spin-offs, Link hasn’t been so lucky. Sure, there have been some, like My Nintendo Picross: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Cadence of Hyrule, and Hyrule Warriors. Other spin-offs only saw a limited release, like the various Tingle games that were never released in North America or Tetra’s Trackers. Link’s Crossbow Training is arguably the most well-known of the spin-offs (and certainly the best-selling), and of all the genres that Nintendo would be most likely to stick Linkle in, it’s the shooting gallery genre (as long as it has some peripheral to package with it).

And while Link’s Crossbow Training didn’t have the best reception, that doesn’t mean Linkle’s turn at the helm would have to turn out so bad. In keeping with the spirits of her debut game, Linkle’s Crossbow Training could take her around the many different versions of Hyrule, from the fields of Ocarina of Time to the ghost ships of The Wind Waker. That’s a game I would play the heck out of.

As I stated above, despite Eiji Aonuma’s insistence, it’s unlikely that Linkle was nothing more than a one-and-done character. We’re probably not going to see her again, at least not from Nintendo proper. But I think the company is in a new era, with successes like Mario + Rabbids and The Super Mario Bros. Movie, where it isn’t so afraid to loosen its grip on its treasured brands. I’m sure if an indie developer or third-party partner came to Nintendo with a solid pitch for a Linkle game, we could see one come to fruition.

And if not, Nintendo should just ask Treasure to make one because THE WORLD NEEDS MORE TREASURE GAMES.


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Author
CJ Andriessen
Editor-at-Large – CJ has been a contributor to Destructoid since 2015, originally writing satirical news pieces before transitioning into general news, features, and other coverage that was less likely to get this website sued.