The Legend of Zelda Reimagined with Zelda as the Lead
The creator of the webcomic Dresden Codak, Aaron Diaz, has put together a series of illustrations of something called “The Legend of Zelda: Clockwork Empire.” Inspired by Anita Sarkeesian’s Tropes vs. Women webseries, Diaz decided to construct a concept for a Zelda game where Zelda herself is the hero, rescuing Prince Link.
In the first episode of the Tropes vs. Women webseries, Sarkeesian approaches the topic of the “damsel in distress”, a well-worn trope that’s been a core component of video games for decades. The “damsel in distress” trope has served only to marginalize female characters as objects to be rescued by male protagonists. As a result of their trophy status, they often have little in the way of personality or characterization beyond needing rescue.
Diaz’s Zelda game concept is an attempt to elevate the series above its tired old tropes by giving Zelda a proper character of her own by making her the protagonist of the game after which she’s named. Beyond that, Diaz also designed his concept to fit into the continuity of the setting instead of taking the easy way out by simply redressing any existing Zelda game with her as the protagonist.
Clockwork Empire is set 2,000 years after the events of Twilight Princess, isn’t a reboot, and is simply another iteration of the franchise.
“It just so happens that in this case, Zelda is the protagonist. I’m a very big Zelda fan, and worked hard to draw from key elements in the continuity and mythos,” wrote Diaz.
“This concept work is meant to show that Zelda as a game protagonist can be both compelling and true to the franchise, while bringing new and dynamic game elements that go farther than being a simple gender swap.”
Beyond making Zelda the story’s heroine, Zelda is trained in the use of swords and makes up for her lack of a shield with her magic-wielding ability, which she uses to her advantage in combat. To amplify her powers, Zelda equips an ancient Hylian artifact called the Gauntlet of Gamelon.
The Legend of Zelda: Clockwork Empires is a worthy effort from one so talented as Aaron Diaz, and something that could very easily begin a trend of creative endeavors to recreate, or reimagine popular games like Zelda with their female characters in the lead.