OPINION: There Are NOT Too Many Women in Hyrule Warriors

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

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Princess Zelda - Hyrule Warriors | oprainfall

New character reveals for the upcoming Hyrule Warriors have been trickling out ever since E3. After today’s news, we now know a total of 10 playable characters in the game. There’s been a lot of hype and other intriguing debates about the characters that have been announced so far. Some of you may be excited over getting a chance to play as Midna or Impa, others may express confusion over the inclusion of Agatha or Fi. But there’s one sentiment that keeps coming up that I just can’t wrap my head around: People complaining that there are too many female characters in the game. The only thing I can possibly respond to that with is:

Are you freaking kidding me?

I’ve heard this said on forums, seen it on social media, it’s even appeared in the comments of articles here on oprainfall, and I just don’t understand it. Are people seriously crying that there aren’t enough male characters? I mean, is this really a problem? We’re one month removed from an E3 where major companies revealed so many games with generic white male protagonists that most of the Internet couldn’t help but notice. In the wake of the backlash, the developers were forced to come up with the most asinine excuses for why they excluded the possibility of playing as a woman in their games. It became a sad, soul-crushing joke. People have been looking for more diverse video game characters; women and minorities have been clamoring for representation, everyone wants to see something different, and the industry seems unwilling to change a thing.

With all this in mind, how can it be a bad thing for a game to have so many female characters?

Lana - Hyrule Warriors | oprainfall

I can already hear the groaning: “blah blah blah feminism”. Okay then, let’s remove the feminist angle from the debate for a moment, and I’ll ask again: Is this really a problem? What is wrong with playing as a female character? Maybe it would be somewhat understandable if these were empty shells to be used as the player’s avatar. But these are pre-existing, fully-fleshed out characters from a pre-established lore. The chance to do battle as one of these awesome characters is one any fan should be excited for. And let’s face it, of all the characters in the Zelda universe, most of the really amazing ones are female anyway. A lot of the men would either make lame fighters, or just be there as a joke or nod to the fandom.

Midna - Hyrule Warriors | oprainfall

Take our own list of most wanted Hyrule Warriors characters that was published a few weeks ago. There are only four female characters chosen, but what male characters made the list? Two of them are alternate forms of Link: Dark Link, and the Young Link with his mask transformations. Two others, Vaati and Ganon, are villains in the series. Sheik’s gender depends on whether you believe he’s just a disguise or a whole new person. That leaves one—just one—legitimate, non-villain, male character that we want to see.

It’s not hard to find amazing female characters in the entire The Legend of Zelda series. We’ll start with Din, Nayru and Farore, the three Goddesses who created the world–or, if you prefer, the Oracles from the handheld games, respectively the Oracle of Seasons, Ages, and…the password desk, because apparently the Game Boy Color wasn’t technologically advanced enough for Farore to have her own game. Next we’ve got the Sages from Ocarina of Time. All but two of the Sages are female, with most either being on our wish list, or already announced. Four of the seven Sages in A Link Between Worlds are female as well. There are plenty of other awesome female characters that would be fun to play as. There’s the Great Fairy with her variety of magical abilities, Maple, a witch’s apprentice with skills of her own, and Romani, who helps Link fight off an alien invasion, to name just a few.

Hyrule Warriors Featured

For male characters though, it’s a different story. Aside from Rauru, the last remaining unconfirmed male Sage from Ocarina of Time, the most likely inclusion would be Tingle, hardly someone qualified to take on an enemy army. There are some minor characters that would make competent fighters, like Renado from Twilight Princess and Orca from The Wind Waker, but they are fairly obscure. Most of the memorable male characters in Zelda games would be gimmick characters in Hyrule Warriors. I’d love to able to play as the Happy Mask Salesman, Kafei, the Postman, Biggoron, Error, or Malo, but it would be more for laughs than for the characters’ strengths.

Yes, it’s true. Of all the known playable characters in Hyrule Warriors, most of them are women. Maybe that’s by design and Nintendo is trying to show they’re more progressive than their counterparts in the industry. Maybe it’s just a coincidence that the characters revealed so far are mostly female. They could also be making these reveals strategically around other possible news within the Zelda franchise—you know, like a certain remake being announced.

Majora's Mask

Oh, don’t mind me.

Whatever the case, the developers have stated that about half the cast would be female. Half. Not all, not most, half. While the reveals up to this point have been unbalanced, it will even out. The Dynasty Warriors series is notorious for having a large amount of playable characters, so I think it’s safe to say we’ll have a lot more announcements to look forward to.

One of the things that make Zelda games so great is the depth of their characters, and most of the great ones happen to be female. As such, it is not only unsurprising, but rather expected that so many female characters represent the franchise in a crossover game. When looking at who’s been announced already, the ratio is a bit skewed, but that’s no reason to go complaining all over the Internet about it. Stay patient and it will even out soon enough. There’s no need to get upset because characters you want to see haven’t been announced yet. And if you’re angry just because there are women in your video game, then stop it. You’re only making yourself look foolish.

About Eric Chetkauskas

Eric has been playing video games for longer than he can remember. His interests skew toward retro games with an emphasis on Japanese RPGs like Chrono Trigger and the Dragon Quest series.