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.

  • Rocwing

    Let’s look at it from a chauvinist perspective just for fun: Why are we complaining about one guy surrounded by a bunch of beautiful women?

    Seems like my kind of party.

    • Supah Bluey

      Also take note that he’s not the only male out of them all. There’s also Darunia and Zant.

  • If they aren’t killing Bocoblins with period blood, and boobs, their gender doesn’t matter.

    Although, we really should see Mikau from Majora’s Mask, Ganon/Ganondorf, and the King of Hyrule as playable characters.

  • Operative

    I just want fierce deity link and some form of Majora’s mask

  • James Best

    “the most likely inclusion would be Tingle, hardly someone qualified to take on an enemy army..” Right, because a little girl with a bug fetish is totally more qualified. All joking aside, I think it’d be interesting to see how they’d work Tingle into this.

    • Agitha is fucking psychic she can tell where bugs are at all times.

  • Soulius

    I like the fact that there are so many female characters, It was kind of obvious a Male playable character was going to be a Goron however. Aside from that WHO doesn’t play as females in most games? Fighting games, MMOs, Phantasy Star Online, for crying out loud my game was Parasite Eve! Aya Brea ALL DAY! I think we need more characters like her. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a lot of females.

  • Linktm

    This post has too many females in it.

  • Pedro Rosas

    I’m someone who plays 80% of the time with female characters and though I love all the females announced so far even I have to admit there is way to many females.

    I would love to play as the bomb shop master from Twilight Princess, Groose, or Gaepora, or hell even Pipit from Skyward Sword. There is plenty of male characters to choose from and Tecmo is just creating a harem

  • TheUltimate3

    All the female characters don’t really bother me.

    I was told however there would be an equal amount of males and females. And most of the males in this series that can fight is either named Link, a different form of a Link, or a dead Link. Unless you really want to throw in someone like Tingle at which case I think you’re grasping at straws a bit.

  • bf313

    I’ve got no problem with the amount of female characters in the game but fuck off with this preachy bullshit, go write for Kotaku or Polygon. Done with coming to this website.

    • Infophile

      So you’ve got no problem with a lot of female characters, but you draw the line at reading a story about why the author has no problem with a lot of female characters?

    • bf313

      No I draw the line at seeing articles like this on literally every single website that isn’t Siliconera or Gematsu. I want game news not preachy opinion pieces, most of this stuff is written for the sake of increasing ad revenue. It’s all clickbait tactics and I want no part of it.

    • Infophile

      So what exactly makes it preachy? And what makes this the hill you’re willing to die on – it’s hardly the first opinion piece published on this site. And hey, you’ve admitted it’s apparently not an uncommon opinion. So are you against opinion pieces? Opinion pieces that say there’s nothing wrong with a number of female playable characters?

    • bf313

      It just follows the latest game journalism trend of loud power word driven articles designed to incite arguments and drive up ad revenue. I don’t give a shit how anyone feels about a bunch of whiny dudes complaining about female characters. Articles like this are pointless because they aren’t constructive or changing anything, it’s just noise meant to trigger more noise. And no this wasn’t the first thing that pissed me off about this website, that Kill La Kill article was also pretty useless too.

    • Infophile

      Huh, so both articles that touch on feminism in some way, eh? Well, it might just be noise to you, but it’s quite serious to many people. If you’re not one of them, then I recommend you simply look past these articles.

    • bf313

      Look at you trying to make connections that aren’t there, nice try though! Maybe you should pay attention and realize that this has nothing to do with the actual issues and everything to do with the presentation and the fact that these websites are playing their readers for suckers. If you actually buy into articles like this and the overwhelming wave that is clickbait journalism the joke is on you. None of these people that write articles like this actually give a shit, that’s why the articles lack any actual construction or purpose. The entire point is to generate ad revenue on controversial topics, whether it is feminism, violence, sexuality, or race, it’s all about the money.

    • Infophile

      Ah yeah, it’s all about the money. It’s not like women are being oppressed worldwide or anything. It’s not like women in gaming are regularly called fat, ugly, or slutty.

      And it’s also not like this article was titled “9 reasons that will blow your mind why Hyrule Warriors doesn’t have too many women in it.” Seriously, this has nothing on actual clickbait.

    • bf313

      Women are being oppressed in some places but articles like this DO NOTHING to help them, it’s nothing but empty talk. I bet you think you’re a really “nice guy” don’t you, standing up for women and all right? Also “It’s not like women in gaming are regularly called fat, ugly, or slutty.” that’s not an issue involving gaming that’s an issue of shitty mean people. Not something that needs to be reported on as a crisis by gaming news outlets Honestly i’d say you’ve actually got a lot more men playing games that are labeled as “fat or ugly” and guys that play games have been living with that stigma for much longer. And of course it doesn’t need a Buzzfeed esque title to still be clickbait, Polygon and Kotaku are all the proof you need to see that. It just sounds like you have a serious white knight complex where you think that by reading or posting stuff on the internet you’re helping women when your not. In fact you’re probably doing the opposite by supporting websites that profit off of controversial topics.

    • Infophile

      Interesting that you’d jump to the conclusion I’m male. Also interesting that you’d jump to so many conclusions about my motives. And that you’d jump to a conclusion about the motives of the author here. Your legs must really be getting a workout from all this conclusion-jumping.

      Ever found yourself on the end of the type of vitriol many women experience when gaming online? Or when posting comments with an openly-female moniker? It’s not a simply problem of shitty people; there’s a distinct element that insists on making it quite a bit worse for women than for men (or for people who, not making their gender obvious, are assumed to be men).

    • shinkunoaki

      I can definitely see the click-bait side of this. This article is the first I’m even hearing of anyone being upset over Hyrule Warriors’s cast being predominantly female. Among my male and female gaming friends, everyone just happy to play a spin off Zelda game. Mostly because, well, we’re gamers. We’re not into politics. If I specifically need to play a game with a strong fem lead, I can and will. And if you’d stop canning your opinion down this person’s throat, you’d see there’s obviously no real issue of sexism on his end. We’re just sick of inflammatory articles that puts a political slant against gaming, which most of us play to avoid in the first place. Trying to shove feminism into an artificial world built for entertainment is a waste of time and makes people take actual feminist issues way less seriously. Especially when the article writer is just a dude who games, not the feminist juror of politicon. So how about we step off the soap box and realize you’re taking to a fellow gamer, and not some malfested pawn of the patriachy. You’re seriously making us real feminists look like sexist assholes.

  • Thanatos2k

    I don’t think the problem is playing as female characters, but playing as *these* female characters – Zelda characters few care for or actively hate.

  • Asdf

    Eh IDGAF, Hyrule warriors is just a shitty DW reskin with all the problems and 0 fixes.

  • Justin Graham

    Who in their right mind would argue otherwise? People getting upset over the number of female characters in this game are being unreasonably stupid.