The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, the latest entry in Nintendo’s hallowed fantasy adventure series, is unique in that it will be the second game in the series to feature a dedicated multiplayer element (the first being The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures). Instead of having to play the game on your own in a solo campaign (in which case your partners would be AI controlled), you can choose to recruit a couple of friends to aid you on your quest.
Unlike the aforementioned Four Swords Adventures that allowed four friends to play together, Tri Force Heroes only allows three comrades to play together, presumably for narrative reasons and also to make a parallel to the Triforce, an important relic in the Legend of Zelda canon. Players control copies of Link, the series’ iconic hero, each one being distinguished by the color of their hair and clothing. This means it’s another Zelda game with no female playable protagonist, which—predictably—bothers some folks.
Eleven years ago, when Four Swords Adventures was released and gave us our first taste of multiplayer Zelda, being able to play as a female character wasn’t really a concern to anyone. The question simply didn’t come up: everyone was too busy praising and enjoying the deftly developed first multiplayer Zelda title to worry about representation or diversity.
It’s a real sign of the times that the absence of a female character is a problem people would profess have with a Zelda game. Despite the fact that there really needn’t be an explanation as to why there are no female characters in this next game, one exists anyway.
Negating A Non-Issue
In an interview with IGN, when questioned on the issue of whether or not his game would include a playable female character, game director Hiromasa Shikata reasonably explains that there are no female characters in the game because the game’s narrative doesn’t permit their presence:
The story calls for this sort of legend/prophecy where heroes will come together to help solve a problem. And in that, they are male characters. So, because the game is set with that as the story background, you cannot choose a gender; you are a male character.
The interviewer in the article proceeds to express his disappointment in this perfectly reasonable creative decision. Shikata responds, making it clear to our IGN interviewer that Japanese female gamers clearly don’t share his sentiments:
…we do have a lot of female staff members who are playing this game and enjoying it. It doesn’t seem to be a big issue to them. They still are getting emotional investment in this game.
Their response stands in stark contrast to the many Western gamers and journalists who lament the consistent incorporation of female characters in games. They seem perfectly content in playing and enjoying the game and characters that have been offered, as if they appreciate the game for what it is.
This isn’t the first time the Japanese in general have had a huge difference of opinion from their Western counterparts, at least in terms of representation of characters. Look at Bayonetta, a character reviled by SJWs like Anita Sarkeesian for being a humorously salacious character, despite the overwhelming amount of positive traits she possesses that make reasonable women feel proud:
Focus On The Right Thing
It is incredibly amusing to compare the countless outrage fits SJWs in the West have about representation of female/minority characters to the ambivalence/contentment the Japanese tend to express when asked about their characters and their portrayals. They simply don’t place too much stock into the representation of characters because it’s simply not an important element of interactive entertainment.
Game designers should be chiefly concerned about how to make their games as interesting, fun and creative as possible. Gamers, in order to obtain the maximum amount of satisfaction possible from the games they play, should focus on how fun and well-designed they are. Focusing on unimportant things like diversity and representation, for gamers or game designers, makes the games suffer; they’re simply nothing to found fun and entertainment on.