The Legend of Zelda remains one of the most important video game series in history. Without question, the story of the green-clad elf boy named Link saving the princess has been, well, legendary. Despite being in the title of the series, however, Zelda has stayed in the background, sticking to a damsel role. As we’ve seen in various spinoffs, though, Zelda has skills. She can fight, she can plan, so why not give another princess a chance to star in her own game? There are so many Zeldas to choose from in the series’ library, but if there’s one Zelda that has the skills and world to really benefit from her own game, it’s Ocarina of Time’s.
Zelda’s role in The Legend of Zelda has been subdued at best, irrelevant at worst. While she’s earned some nice roles in other Zelda games like the kind childhood friend of Skyward Sword to the emotionally constipated comrade of Spirit Tracks, she’s mostly been reserved to damsel status, or in the worst case of Twilight Princess, a stoic doll. Even as the main drive to victory in the series, Zelda’s personality has been underdeveloped, so a starring role could give her a chance to express some emotion for once. Regardless of what Zelda’s role is, the multitude of incarnations across the games offers lots of different personalities to explore. Zelda has a lot of forms to show.
One of the most apparent (and arguably most popular) forms of Zelda was in Ocarina of Time. Zelda’s main role moved from a sheltered princess to a strategist in the shadows, blending seamlessly with her alter-ego, Sheik. Sheik’s nimble motions and large arsenal of weapons echoed the skills of ninja, which could offer a ton of mechanics to operate should Zelda take the stage. Between a chain, needles, and vanishing explosions, Sheik’s skillset is massive, and using these moves in a more action-focused setting could give the character (and Zelda) much more agency.
A 3D action game featuring Sheik has potential to be interesting, but in the fan-service-laden world of Hyrule Warriors, having a Zelda game under the same perspective seems redundant. It’s why this kind of gameplay could function well in something simpler like a Metroidvania. Sheik’s combination of stealth and action echoes 2D games like Mark of the Ninja, so evading Ganon’s minions to escape a captured castle doesn’t just offer plenty of potential for game design, but also stays true to the original Ocarina of Time story. Sheik’s chain is eerily similar to both Simon Belmont’s whip and Samus Aran’s grapple beam, which would fit in very well in a 2D Metroidvania setting. Finding rupies and other hidden goodies could keep players exploring, while a steady increase in skills and harp interludes could break up the tension. Being able to see Zelda grow from quiet royalty to a tactician guiding Link throughout his life is something that could give both Zelda and Ocarina of Time a chance to grow.
Zelda as a character still feels underdeveloped and a game where you explore one of her most iconic and involved roles could add a new spin to an already classic formula. We know of the story of the boy without a fairy, but what about the princess who lost her kingdom? Taking a new direction with the narrative could provide a unique gaiden to Ocarina of Time. Even better, Zelda and Sheik both have expansive movesets, which could add a Zelda spin to 2D side-scrolling. There’s a ton of potential to make Zelda into both a powerful heroine and a developed character, so hopefully Nintendo will show interest in making one of their most important female characters into something more. If Zelda gets her own game, her Ocarina of Time form is easily the best choice to go for.