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Mute Link Needs to Go

In Zelda games with voice acting, does Link need to speak too?

  • Hell yes

    Votes: 384 26.5%
  • Keep him mute

    Votes: 1,066 73.5%

  • Total voters
    1,450

Admiral Woofington

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
10,728
I get where OP is coming from. It's one of my biggest glaring issues with Breath of the Wild. Mute protagonists work when you do something aching to dialogue choices ala rpg where even if your character doesn't talk when you have folks talking at them there are lines you can choose to keep the conversation going. Cutscenes are limited and tend to just be for setting up a situation where dialogue from the lead is not necessary. Think showing the bad guy walking in, a battle scene, or something else where the lead talking is not necessary.

If you're going to keep Link mute, you need to either not have characters talk to him in such a manner that a back and forth is necessary, or when responses are naturally expected give text based dialogue options to choose from such as when the Owl or deku tree asks you something.

If you had text based options to have more natural conversations with folks when needed in some of these bigger Zelda titles, then for the most part you avoid the issue even if you can't really create Link to your preferred image like a character creator. But you get to dictate their personality to a degree like supposedly Nintendo wants.

Breath of the Wild outside of cutscenes did a decent enough job. Link is supposed to be a man of few words but has plenty of personality with his emotes and even with the text dialogue choices you have here and there. It isn't much but there are times you can make him sound hilariously impatient or rude, such as demanding the glider from the old man over and over again.

The cutscenes on the other hand were plenty awkward. Characters directly talking with you, with full voice acting, and Link staring back blankly. Nintendo tries to excuse it by having a journal entry say that link
took a vow of silence or something
but that's them conveniently side stepping the issue which didn't solve it. You can solve the issue for the most part by having cutscenes not expect Link to respond to a degree to people talking to him and any conversation he might have keeping it to text boxes with others.

Voice acting is nice but it isn't like a game changer and I'd rather have more consistent dialogue choices than voice acting any day of the week.
 

XenIneX

Member
Oct 28, 2017
187
Clearly, Link needs a dialog wheel.

Rich (BB code):
Zelda: <TL:DR LORE BULLSHIT> What do you think, Link? "... :)" ___ ___ "..." \_____/ / \ "...?" ---- | O | ---- "..." \_____/ ___/ \___ "...!" "..."
 

Sea lion

Member
Nov 8, 2017
677
I think if they continue down the path of link being your avatar thus not allowed to speak, at least let us customize him and even choose the gender and race. It'd be great to play as hero Zora or Rito. Link's design can still be the default, as I understand he is iconic, but I do believe they either need to buckle down making him a true avatar or an actual character with personality.
 

Acquiescence

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,281
Lake Titicaca
Silent protagonists just need to be eliminated entirely. They're dumb and make no sense, especially as production values continue to get bigger and improve. Staring at someone in a gormless manner while they have a one-sided conversation with you might have been acceptable in the 16-bit era, but doesn't translate so well to this gen.
 

Rogue Agent

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,740
Now that it has VA, I'd rather have Link either talk or just be more expressive when reacting to dialogue or answering a question, especially in cutscenes.
 

vedrua

Member
Oct 26, 2019
47
Silent protagonists just need to be eliminated entirely. They're dumb and make no sense, especially as production values continue to get bigger and improve. Staring at someone in a gormless manner while they have a one-sided conversation with you might have been acceptable in the 16-bit era, but doesn't translate so well to this gen.
I think there's no absolute rule. If it can make the game better, he should talk, if not, there's no point. I'm not buying at all that "you just need to do this because that's the way it goes" stuff.
 

Mato

Member
Oct 27, 2017
661
Mute link all the way. I'd pick mute if it was optional, provided the game isn't explicitly build around Link's voice.
 

Admiral Woofington

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
10,728
I think if they continue down the path of link being your avatar thus not allowed to speak, at least let us customize him and even choose the gender and race. It'd be great to play as hero Zora or Rito. Link's design can still be the default, as I understand he is iconic, but I do believe they either need to buckle down making him a true avatar or an actual character with personality.
This is my train of thought. Mass Effect proved you can have character customization and still have the base look be iconic enough by itself.

Pokemon titles have been allowing customization to a degree and the base characters tend to appear in the Anime. Breath of the Wild for what its worth is the first Zelda title to let us freely customize links outfit how we see fit, so browny points for that. But that is yet another reason cinematic cutscenes are a problem because if they wanted to let players customize links gender, race, hair color, etc... Then you can't have cutscenes without a bit more effort.
 

skeezx

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,864
never once had a problem with "the mute protagonist". in any game ever, though i guess you could make a case for certain games out there

remember when Fallout 4 blessed us with a voiced protag. boy that worked out great
 

RagnarokX

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,771
Mute Link is fine, but the degree to which they nuked his personality in BotW was a big step backwackards. Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword had Links good personality and character development. The problem with BotW was they tried to make him a player insert and he doesn't express himself at all.
 
Oct 26, 2017
15,496
I think Link could stand to have minimal voice acting if the the writing supported that kind of quiet and reserved character who only talks occasionally. The lack of voice acting per se wasn't really an issue in BotW.
 

Kneefoil

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,727
Previously I felt he should stay mute, but after playing Breath of the Wild, if this is the direction the series is taking, we should hear him speak like the other characters.
 

Chimpzy

Member
Dec 5, 2018
483
No, we have to go further! They should literally make Link a mute.
No, further still. Make literally every character a mute.

Actually, make that a plot point. Villain got up to shenanigans, stole everyone's voice, Link needs to fix it.
You could even work communicating something to another character without speech into the game's puzzles.
 

Mimosa

Production
Verified
Oct 23, 2019
11
Honestly I've felt this way for a while, but with Breath of the Wild it's especially apparent - Mute Link is a relic of the past that has long outstayed its welcome.

It always baffles me how people will get annoyed at silent protags in voiced games like Astral Chain, but as soon as we talk about Zelda, it's "no VA/Link stays mute!"

I don't need to self-project onto a blank slate (which I would argue that Link hasn't been since at least Wind Waker). I'm a woman of color - I'm never going to "see" myself as Link. I'd much rather follow the story of a fully-realized character and empathize with his struggles and growth.

So thank you OP, I'm in your corner.
 

Yazuka

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,048
Sweden
Yes. I'm pretty tried of silent protagonists all together.
I'd love to hear Link speak, even if it's just a little.

At least in spin-off games. Like Hyrule Warriors would have been perfect to have voice acting in.
And it would have been nice to hear Link speak there. So I'm all for it.
 

Scotia

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,635
UK
For what it’s worth I DESPISE mute characters but for some reason I think Link works better being mute. I can’t explain why, but I don’t think having him speak will make him any better.
 

daxy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,963
It’s more likely to be a miss than a hit. I’d rather they not. BotW alone has so many bad choices like a kid doing an old man voice, an American doing a heinous British accent, the big burly character is half-screaming his lines, etc. Awful. I don’t know why people want to subject themselves to more of this.
 
Last edited:

Paradox

Member
Oct 28, 2017
269
I'm definitely Team Mute.

My biggest issue, and my question to people who do want Link to have a voice - what accent would you give him?

Zelda ended up with a (not particularly amazing) English accent which I can't really imagine suiting Link. So is he American? Regional UK? Equally, in a lot of the games he's little more than a child. So do you get a woman to voice him or risk a terrible child actor?

I just can't think of something that would suit him other than maybe a made-up Simlish/Splatoonish that is pseudo-Japanese as his current grunts and moans are.
 

Lichtsang

Member
Jan 2, 2018
4,424
No, further still. Make literally every character a mute.

Actually, make that a plot point. Villain got up to shenanigans, stole everyone's voice, Link needs to fix it.
You could even work communicating something to another character without speech into the game's puzzles.
Okay, I love this idea. And then, in the end, after the villain is defeated we discover that something went wrong and Link didn't get his voice back!
 
Oct 27, 2017
706
London
I'm half and half on this. I would like Link to talk as much as Joker does in Persona 5. So rare dialogue lines and incidentals that make sense. Basically some kind of affirmation people are talking and he's listening. I didn't think the voice direction was great in BoTW in scenes where there was talking thougn, so I wouldn't mind everyone being mute to be honest. It seemed odd to me they went with voice acting in the fjrst place given the story isn't so complicated or depth-filled it would need any more animation or text boxes than previous Zelda games.
 

ArkhamFantasy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,061
I would agree with you that link being mute in a game with voice acting is awkward, but the solution isn't to give link a voice, it's to eliminate the other voices in the game.

I just want to clear dungeons and solve puzzles, i can get story telling and voice acting from almost any publisher.
 

Lobster Roll

Member
Sep 24, 2019
583
Chicago, IL
Link is an avatar, a blank canvas. The character has been this way forever, and it’s a huge part of what makes him such an iconic character. Every LoZ game has the character entering a unique world as the Hero of Time who has the experience happening directly to them through Link. It’s your adventure, not a look into a story of somebody else’s adventure. Everybody gets to be Link instead of playing a game featuring the character Link.

We really don’t need Link ruined by some lame attempt to characterize him through voice acting and (god forbid) Link having direct interactions in cutscenes. I’m Link, damnit. And so is everybody else in this thread. Let’s not strip away that magic.
 

Vini256

Member
Oct 20, 2018
425
Brazil
I was so relieved that Link's Awakening didn't have voice acting that I'd just want to go back to no one talking. Ive said this countless times before but Zelda without VA is just better (and since you're just reading the lines it doesn't feel awkward that Link doesn't talk). Really hope BotW2 at the very least makes voices optional.
 

Tonswelt

Member
Aug 25, 2018
124
I like how his character is being shown through the dialogue options, that‘s why I think that it works well in the text only scenarios, especially in BotW. But him not speaking during cutscenes is weird, yes, and I don‘t know how they should handle it.
 

MegaSackman

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,630
Argentina
I've been playing the game a lot this week and honestly the dialogues might be my biggest criticism on the game so, it's really irrelevant if he talks or no, he being mute has its charm, besides he has some expressions at least (not like the Luminary in DQXI who is a terrible dead person).
 
OP
OP
TreadTalks

TreadTalks

Avenger
Oct 28, 2017
1,991
United States
Just like Dragon Quest XIS cut scenes becomes so "dramatically better" when Hero talks in the childhood memories?

Based on Zelda's notebook in BotW, he basically is.
Based on Zelda’s notebook, you expect a man of few words - the quiet, reserved type. But what you get is an expressionless mute who reacts to expressive, voice acted characters with a blank stare and some blinks.

I’m not saying “give him lots of dialogue” — I’m saying either give him some real reactions to the other voice acted characters, or eliminate the voice acting altogether. Either of those would make the cut scenes dramatically better.