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Legend Of Zelda voice acting? 'We'll see,' says Aonuma

Zelda producer not sure they'll find the right voice

Nintendo legends Koji Kondo and Eiji Aonuma remain unconvinced about the idea of voice acting in future Legend Of Zelda games.

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Other than the odd yelp, Link has never had a voice in the Legend Of Zelda games and while composer Koji Kondo appeared to rule out the idea, producer Aonuma offered fans a morsel of hope when he said: "we'll see."

"The most important thing about the Zelda series is that the player becomes Link," Kondo told Game Informer. "One of the challenges with full voice is that if we're trying to convey the player's emotion through Link, but you hear Link talking in somebody else's voice, that creates a disconnect between you and the role that you're taking on."

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Aonuma discussed the issues of giving Link a voice. "If you create a game where everybody else in the game speaks but Link doesn't, it emphasizes the fact that he is silent and draws even more attention to it," said the Zelda producer.

He added: "Of course, this was the first time we went with fully orchestrated songs in the game, and we've seen what that can do to help bring the world alive and make the game that much more fun. We're continually looking at ways that we can evolve the series. We're not confident that we can find the right balance with full voice, so we'll see.

He then raised a good point. "Everyone would be speaking Hylian, so even if you heard them speak, you wouldn't understand them."

Would you like voice acting in future Legend Of Zelda games? Let us know by commenting below or on the ONM forum.

[ Source: Game Informer ]


29 comments so far...
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  1. king of Games Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 11:45

    I don't think that they could do voice Acting in Zelda for one reason. You can choose what to call Link.

  2. shy guy 64 Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 11:48

    id prefer it not to have voice acting

  3. mario_boi Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 11:52

    I think that voice acting could work, as long as link remained silent.

  4. hoshixcandy Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 11:57

    Nothing wrong with having vocalised background characters, and a silent protagonist. Just look at the Half Life series! I'm sure the Zelda franchise could pull it off with the right voices! ;)

  5. Captain Kuchiki Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 11:59

    Link's a silent protagonist anyway; aside from the odd grunt or shout he doesn't even say anything. Simple answer - keep Link the way he is but give the other characters the full voice acting experience.

  6. Amelie Poulain Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 12:12

    I don't think that they could do voice Acting in Zelda for one reason. You can choose what to call Link.

    Final Fantasy X solved that problem by never having the other characters refer to Tidus by his actual name.

  7. 08boatfg Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 12:17

    It worked with metroid other m, but...

    Link's a silent protagonist anyway; aside from the odd grunt or shout he doesn't even say anything. Simple answer - keep Link the way he is but give the other characters the full voice acting experience.

    And there's...

    Nothing wrong with having vocalised background characters, and a silent protagonist. Just look at the Half Life series! I'm sure the Zelda franchise could pull it off with the right voices! ;)

    So, I think Nintendo should add voices for all the characters except from link.

  8. hotswipe Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 12:26

    i'm for it just for the fact that my tv is small and i need my glasses to read whats being said some times...
    i like the thought of keeping link silent though...

  9. reeesy Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 12:52

    For me, one of the reasons Zelda games are so special is the way it makes you feel like you are Link himself. Giving him a voice would only break that connection. It works so well the way it is so i see no reason to fix what isn't broken.

  10. MartinIsAwesome Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 13:11

    Link did have a voice.
    If this happens again I will personally rip out his larynx, along with every over Zelda character that utters a single line of dialogue.

    Joking aside, I find that the subtle utterances to be immensly charming, and in the few times where there is spoken dialogue like when Link says "Come on!" in Wind Waker when calling Medli/Makar, and Jakamar the handy man in Skyward Sword who after a certain side quest says "Aha...Thank you!", it makes it even more charming because it's so rare. I don't think Beedle would be anywhere near as popular if not for his exclaimations of "Oh!", "Thank You!" and "B-Bye!", nor would Navi be as notorious if not for "HEY! LISTEN!" It also made Zelda's singing of the Ballad of the Goddess in Skyward Sword so much more enchanting. If you have people talking here, there and everywhere then it loses that rarity and specialness.

  11. SuperJonnyMario Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 13:17

    I know that Mario talks sometimes, but it's better to let a character not talk sometimes, and Link is this case. But if it's going to go ahead, I hope it would only be the amount of talking you get from Super Mario games.

  12. ninjafox Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 13:48

    It also made Zelda's singing of the Ballad of the Goddess in Skyward Sword so much more enchanting. If you have people talking here, there and everywhere then it loses that rarity and specialness.

    I agree. Zelda singing the Ballad of the Goddess at the start of Skyward Sword just made it all the more special.
    The characters in Skyward Sword have so much personality anyway voice acting is simply not needed, you can imagine in your head how each character sounds. If Link not only spoke but it was voice acted as well then some of the magic of the series would be gone for me.

  13. Religion0 Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 14:46

    Well, there are several good reasons not to use voice acting in Zelda, in part because it is part of the game's charm that the only sounds they make is scrambled voice-like noises.

    I would like to hear Hylian, however. That'd be interesting, although it'd probably only work in certain cut-scenes, where they don't need to use Link's name and there's no need for him to even appear to speak. Both already appear, he never said anything to Fi, he just gasped, nodded, and stared. Voice acting in a foreign language worked in Muramasa: The Demon Blade, where they had only translated the text, not the voices, so everyone still spoke Japanese.
    Including voice acting when a character's name was free to choose, however, was part of what made me twitch over Baten Kaitos, when there'd all of a sudden be a blank in the middle of a comment to allow for the name.

    But parts being in Hylian would be awesome.

  14. LBDNytetrayn Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 15:31

    If it relieved us of the constant reading of text boxes from assistants and the like, I'd be for it.

    I don't need Link to speak, though to be honest, they flesh out each new one so much that I don't feel quite so much like "I am him" as I did in the series' older days.

  15. colourblindyoshi Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 16:10

    voice acting works in some games, and can ruin others. the protagonist doesn't have to be silent, but it is very important that if voice acting is used for the main character, it works. giving link a bad voice would be worse than giving a character such as tingle a bad voice, for example, and if it was bad, it would dampen the whole experience of the game.

    personally, i like the characters having no voice acting. maybe the game needs to move with the times, and add some voice acting, but i can't really think what link would say if he was given a voice. he is meant to be seen as a representation of the person playing the game, and the people around him who influence the story are meant to be more important to the actual story.

    maybe some voice acting, but many games have been on the recieving end of bad voice acting. the only thing that saved lylat wars was that it was ALL bad voice acting.

    i don't know. like most innovations in games we'll hate it for a while, then find out it is actually allright.

  16. CyberGW Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 16:14

    Voice acting would be awesome! It would be even better if Link just made random sounds all the time and no proper words.
    "Link are you angry?" "Wraaa!"

  17. danbish Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 16:55

    I'd prefer no voice acting in Zelda and I think it'd ruin the feel of it too. Keep it silent and let your imagination do the rest.

  18. mr.AR Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 17:11

    Well, voice acting or not, it would have to be the RIGHT voice becuase if your gaming hero starts talking and his voice is just a bit..wrong, if you get what i mean it would kinda`v ruin your feel of the game...Because, you would end up having a image of what his voice is like..and that raise your hopes..

  19. OrangeRakoon Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 17:42

    I much prefer no voice acting in Zelda. Somehow it actually makes me more immersed in the game world, despite the less-realism of having no voices. It just feels right, with the music really setting the tone of what is happening rather than the voice. The occasional yelps and one word cries I like, they add character, but full voice acting I don't think would do anything for the series.

  20. Waldy565 Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 18:35

    no, it doesnt suit the series. call of duty, it works, becuase the story finally finsihes, while legend of zelda can be "completed", but you can still go back to it!

  21. zapper01 Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 18:39

    I'm fine with voice acting but not for Link.

  22. kylewithaface Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 18:56

    i dont think they should do voice acting but maybe update the yelps

  23. Starman64O Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 19:35

    To a few of the bove comments, I see what you mean by voice acting being hard if you can name the character, especially in a game which tries to make YOU feel part of the tale. There are 5 options.
    A) No voice acting, full stop
    B) Voice acting, but when a character talks to you, listen to a little slip in the tone as one of those 'talking bot' things say it wrong. e.g. "I see you have made it, OR-LEE-VE-AR-ER, You are too late, the princess is gone... etc"
    C) Or it could work, look at Final Fantasy X, that had voice acting, and you could name your charcter. The unfortunate effect is characters calling you 'You' all the time, no meaning what so ever.
    D) Go down the route of big games like Xenoblade Chronicles (which is epic, natch). NPCs talk in text when not in cutscenes, and in scenes, you will have to sacrifice the naming, sticking to Link...
    and E) Everyone's favourite, everyone talks in Sidekickish (you know, the unaudible noises made by Midna and Fi), and Link can either stay silent, or talk. He's done it before, in Wind Waker, he says 'come aahn!' and in TP when getting on Epona, 'Gid' y'up'. Just don't fail miserably (looks at a certain blue mammal)

    Overall, I'd go for A or maybe E. The rest, especially B, wouldn't work. I'm sure most others agree with me

  24. PureAwesomeness Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 19:43

    Now that I've played Skyward Sword, voice acting for Link and co. doesn't seem like a bad idea. But I really don't care to be honest.

  25. sciqueen Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 23:06

    Voice acting doesn't belong in Zelda, it would feel out of place. I like having the story told via characters facial expressions and dialogue.

  26. Eragon Firesword Tuesday 6th Dec 2011 at 02:48

    To contradict, Link has had a voice - in Wind Waker he can be audibly heard saying "come on!" to a follower.

    I personally think that not having voice acting is a good thing. Reason one is the individualist argument that, though everyone else is doing it, doesn't mean Zelda should conform to the baffling expectations of the gaming world at large. Even Metroid got the voice-actors treatment, and as a result lost out on things that are essential to Metroid.

    The second reason is that voice acting is rarely done well. Think - what games do you have where the characters speak like real people? One end of the scale is the chunky, yurky, ponderous tones of incredibly cheesy American voices that sound like crude parodies of children's morning TV characters (i.e. FF:CC: The Crystal Bearers). The other end is where you get characters who not only look, but also sound, all muscle and no personality. Samus was regrettably verging on this in Other M, with some of the less-important characters doing this outright.

    The last game with voice acting I played was Oblivion on Xbox 360, which is a terrible example of voice acting. The second last, however, was Xenoblade, which had a varied cast and voices that not only fitted the characters they were put to, but even fleshed out the characters we were being presented with, especially with the likes of Shulk and Dickson. This, however, is a very, very rare case.

    I may be biased. Other people may be able to tell the difference in acting quality between a youtube anime fandub and a "professional" voice dub in a video game, but I for one find it very difficult on most cases. I would strongly advise against it as, let's face it, does the series really need it, what with all the other stuff going for it?

    If you want to put in something people want in a game, Aonuma-san, spend some time, effort and money on designing an online multiplayer, which is something a lot of people will buy a game for the sole reason of. It's become a common trend for Nintendo to avert this in all but their biggest games with some odd, weak reasoning. There have been a few, but due to a combination of Murphy's Law and being up at 2:45 in the morning, I can only think of the recent Lylat Wars 3D.

    So now's the time to put it right, senior Nintendo Staff. Forget about voice acting and concentrate on stuff you're all guaranteed to get right!

  27. CraigEmberson Tuesday 6th Dec 2011 at 03:48

    Voice acting wouldn't work... Zelda is renowned for having no voice work and it's a small part of what separates it from the rest. Not only that, it's too easy to convey emotions through vocals... It's a real achievement that even on N64, we could see the character emotions without them having to say a word. It's just lazy and following the crowd if they go with voice work... People don't seem to appreciate that there are skills in media that work better to convey what they want the audience to see in a character or situation - this goes for music, movies and games, even magazines and newspapers - Whether it be use of language, music, lighting, clothing, hairstyle or expressions. The way Zelda does it is amazing and the team have done so well to make us feel something for the characters without having them say a thing - There's no way they should conform to what some people want.

    Also, would everyone rather have Zelda the way it is? or them end up hiring the wrong voice actor and making you moan about the game? That's all it will do. Leave the characters the way they are... It may work for other games but not for Zelda, it's amazing the way it is - Don't fix what isn't broken.

  28. Dimpee Tuesday 6th Dec 2011 at 04:01

    For the love of god, don't let it be Nolan North!

  29. stormsinger Wednesday 6th Mar 2013 at 20:35

    Perhaps it's just me, but whenever I see a character I always have my own mental "audio" of what their voice would sound like. For example, when I was playing Skyward Sword I imagined Ghirahim's voice to be quite deep, yet quiet. When I actually turned the sound up on my TV and heard his nasal "Heurgh heurgh heurghhhhh!", that kind of changed my idea of the CHARACTER himself. Strange, I know :)
    I reckon, though, that if anyone is good enough to give Zelda voice acting, it's Nintendo. They know the series and the characters so well, and I don't reckon they'd skimp on finding the perfect voices for all of them- dare I say, even Link.
    I would like Link to stay silent though. It's just... y'know, LINK.
    I will NOT say anything about the Legend Of Zelda cartoons. I am racking my brains, and no Zelda character would sound good with an American accent. Well, not in my opinion anyway... but then again, maybe Malon?
    That is another question with voice acting... how would they get the accents neutral? I mean, the beauty of Zelda is that you cannot really liken Hyrule to another place in the world. It's a beautiful fantasy realm of its own... AND THEN THE HYLIANS START SPEAKING LIKE THE QUEEN?!
    I can't imagine a Zelda character with any type of accent, to be honest... But, as Aonuma- san said, it wouldn't be in English! That's one way to get around it, unless Hylian has seperate dialects or something!

    Anway, it's something to think about. But I reckon they should leave it be for now.

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