Zelda: Breath of the Wild devs on making Link a more neutral character, giving him a blue tunic
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild introduces some radical design changes for Link. His signature green look is gone, as is the classic hat he’s worn since the earliest games.
Some of the developers behind Breath of the Wild spoke about these changes in the game’s newly-translated art book. Series producer Eiji Aonuma said that he wanted to “make Link a more neutral character in a variety of ways.” Additionally, while the blue look “organically ended up that way” according to Aonuma, senior lead artist Yoshiyuki Oyama added that “Link wearing blue clothes appeared pretty early on because the blue stood out against the backgrounds we were producing.”
Below are the full comments from Aonuma and Oyama as well as art director Satoru Takizawa:
“Link is the game’s protagonist, so I’ve always thought we need him to look cool. Yet, if we overdo it, the people playing the game might feel like they’re controlling an already accomplished hero, which I felt could get in the way of the players immersing themselves in the game. For that reason, this time I decided we should make Link a more neutral character in a variety of ways.
We thought that the iconic green tunic and hat had become expected, so we wanted to mix things up and update his look. Interestingly, though, nobody on the team said, ‘Let’s make him blue!’ It just organically ended up that way.”
“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.”
“The Link of this game was to be a traveler from the frontier who exudes a sense of adventure, which is why there are a lot of designs that feature capes and bags.
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.
Did you notice that the Champion’s Tunic that appears on page 60 (see below) has a different pattern on the chest than the one from the start of development? Since the tunic is unique to Link, it ultimately ended up being a symbolic representation of the Master Sword. The story behind the Champion’s Tunic is touched upon in the second DLC, ‘The Champions’ Ballad.'””