Voice Acting in the Legend of Zelda
Written by: The King of Hyrule
Well excusseee me, princess!
**Shudder** This was Nintendo's first attempt at adding voices to rather timeless characters. Though the line above did not come from a Zelda game, it came from a show based off of the Zelda games. These horrendous voices have stuck to The Legend of Zelda throughout the years.
But what would Zelda be like if voice overs were added to it? Hopefully, the world may never know.
Technology today is progressing at a rapid rate. Graphics are constantly being improved, the speed of a game is always being increased, and the overall quality of games in general is rising. Lots of games have adopted many of the new technologies available, including the Legend of Zelda games. The latest console game, Twilight Princess, featured brilliant graphics and the game moved at a speed unparalleled by other Zelda games (i.e. – no loading times between dungeon rooms). However, Zelda did not adopt something that many other games have: voice acting; at least not yet.
Since the beginning, Legend of Zelda characters have not spoken coherent words. Instead, each character makes a unique grunt or squeal-like sound when talking. But what would Zelda be like if the characters actually said what showed up on the screen?
This debate has been going on for a while now. Many fans like Zelda just the way it is, and would rather not hear what their characters sound like. They would rather leave it up to their own imagination. There are those, though, that think Zelda would be much better if each character had an audible voice, including Link. Opinions vary greatly from person to person, but some feel that everyone but Link should talk, while some think that Link, and only Link, should speak.
When approaching a topic, it is always good to hear the pros and cons of both sides of the argument. For some, having a voice to match with Link or Zelda would be fun, even somewhat helpful at times. For others, it would be hell to have a voice to connect Link or Zelda to. The pros and cons vary depending on where you stand, as they do with most articles. The most common fear: a repeat of the 1989 “hit” animated television series based on the Legend of Zelda. Very few disagree with the fact that the voices were atrocious. If Zelda were to ever have voice overs, Nintendo would have to make sure this sort of thing didn’t happen, for fear of losing many die-hard fans of the series.
If you have ever read any of my other articles, you will know that I believe that a huge part of the Legend of Zelda games is the mystery surrounding them. This mystery causes us to be creative and create our own answers to the hundreds of unanswered questions each Zelda game leaves us with. One of the long-standing mysteries of the Zelda series has been what the characters actually sound like.
Each gamer has his or her own view of the characters of Zelda, and, in a way, we all have expectations that the characters live up to. But what would happen if voice acting is added to a later Zelda game and Link doesn’t sound quite as courageous as you pictured, or as powerful as you thought. Would that not affect the way you view Link? Of course it would. We all have ideas somewhere in our heads about what Link, Zelda, or some other Zelda character sounds like. We have grown accustomed to that sound and expect nothing less. Voice overs cannot please everyone. Even if Chuck Norris were to be the voice of Link, people would protest. Part of the mystery that is Zelda would be ruined, all because of something as simple as a voice.
The majority of people in the Zelda community agree that voice overs would not be a good thing. However, there are fans that think it would be nice to have every character talk but Link, which is a much more rational idea. Years of experience has proven that the formula Zelda games follow works. One part of that formula is not having any kind of dialogue attached to Link, not even simple text. The closest thing to dialogue Link has received are small noises accompanying certain actions. This suits Link well, and it is enjoyed by the gamers. Using this reasoning, certain groups believe that voice overs for everybody but Link are necessary. But does anyone really want a voice attached to any character? As I said before, mystery is key in Zelda games, and attaching voices to the characters would diminish an aspect of that mystery. Some may picture Zelda with a high pitched, almost squeaky voice, while others may see her having a deeper, more courageous or powerful voice. There is no in-between voice that would fit Princess Zelda and satisfy both of those perspectives. If voices were added, many people would be disappointed; even if with voices didn’t include Link.
My final point is the failure of the past attempt at a voice over: Navi. Famous for all the wrong reasons, Navi is widely considered the most annoying Zelda character ever. The reason? The constant nagging “Hey!”s or the “Look out!”s. Left and right Navi made noises like that, which often lead to anger at one of the greatest games of all time. This was Nintendo’s first shot at voice acting in a Zelda game, and it turned out miserably. Zelda games have always been extensive, and there is just so much text involved in a Zelda game that, in my opinion, it would get very annoying, very fast.
Though we may often wonder what Link or Zelda sound like, I, and many other gamers, feel it is better left up to the imagination of the player to decide the voices of the characters. That way, each character lives up to the profile that we have built for them, and no one is disappointed.