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Nintendo Explains Why 'The Legend of Zelda' Doesn't Have Voice Acting

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For the most part, Nintendo has always shied away from voice acting.

The company has always focused on gameplay over every other aspect of a title's design — would a Super Mario game really be any better if the titular plumber started waxing philosophical during a fight with Bowser? Would Donkey Kong be any better if Diddy Kong started shooting off one-liners?

However, if there's any one long-running Nintendo franchises that's practically begging for voice-over, it's The Legend of Zelda. While older titles in the series may have been text-only due to technical limitations, it's strange that Nintendo has kept Zelda silent for so long. With games like Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword featuring such prominent stories, Zelda seems like a prime target for voice acting.

Sadly, it doesn't look like Nintendo's stance on Zelda voice acting is going to change anytime soon: in an interview with GamesMaster (via NintendoEverything), series producer Eiji Aonuma confessed some reservations about giving Link a voice:

"We've had a lot of requests from fans to hear [Link's] voice, and while in some ways I do feel that it could be good to have a game where he speaks, part of me also feels that that air of proud independence he has because he doesn't speak is a precious part of the individuality of his character. I want to think long and hard about whether changing that would be for the better or not before I make any decision."

To be fair, Nintendo has done a lot to characterize Link's various incarnations without voice acting: in Wind Waker, Link was a small, albeit courageous child, while the Link of Skyward Sword was something of a layabout. Of course, by the end of each game, the characters become the heroes of destiny ... but you'd be hard-pressed to say they're all completely identical to one another.

That being said, Nintendo has had a rough track record when it comes to voice acting. 2009's Metroid: Other M was blasted by fans who claimed that Nintendo's casting sapped Samus Aran of her power and independence, and instead portrayed her as yet another damsel in distress. Before that, Super Mario Sunshine's voice-over turned what should have been a pleasant platforming game into a bizarre, somewhat unsettling story of Bowser Jr.'s heritage and the concept of death.

Either way, it doesn't look like Link will be getting any speaking roles soon ... though fans can expect to don the green tights once again when The Legend of Zelda Wii U launches sometime later this year.

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