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The new Zelda game, subtitled Breath of the Wild, was shown at Nintendo’s E3 presentation earlier today, and a lot of interesting tidbits of information about the game were revealed. Among all the awesome new features, the demo opened with a female voice saying, “wake up, Link.” This marks the first time that we’ve heard fully voiced sentences in a main Zelda title.


Voice acting in the Legend of Zelda tends to be a touchy subject area for fans of the series. Some reject the idea because they have already imagined what the characters would sound like in their mind, and adding voice over to characters, especially Link, would ruin the experience for them. Link is not voiced in this trailer, and in a later interview with GameInformer Eiji Aonuma confirms he will remain a silent protagonist. However, I believe that other major characters will have voices, specifically in the game’scutscenes.

Early on in the demo, Link ran into a familiar old man sitting by a campfire. His dialog was delivered in the usual Zelda fashion, with text boxes. This detail may rule out the possibility of the whole game being fully voiced, so it’s possible that they are saving the voice over for cutscenes or important story moments only. I believe this would be a perfect way to incorporate voice over into the game without overdoing it.

Old Man

I also believe voice over would improve the game’s cutscenes drastically. More recent entries to the series like Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword are presented more cinematically and there are many cutscenes with character interaction throughout the game, but none of them verbally speak. You instead read their dialog through text boxes while the characters make emoted grunts or expressions. Frankly, I feel that this breaks the immersion, as every time I have to read a character’s dialog during a cutscene I’m reminded that I’m playing a game, and as a result I’m not as engaged in the story.

Hyrule Warriors is a good example of a game that could have benefited from having voice over in cutscenes, as you have these wonderfully animated scenes with characters talking and moving their mouths, but no words come out. Instead you must avert your eyes from the characters and read. Cutscenes with complex character acting and no voice over simply don’t pull it off, in my opinion.

Overall, I think including even more voice overs would actually benefit the series. The addition of fully voiced characters would help make the world feel more alive, and would enable the cinematic moments to carry more weight. You would be able to actually watch cutscenes rather than read through them. However, you wouldn’t need it for every interaction, and the text boxes work great for that. It would be a perfect balance that would please the fans that wanted voice over, without upsetting the fans that prefer tradition.

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Written by Bobby Soto

Bobby is an animator, a voice actor and a writer. He’s a storyteller who's constantly working towards bringing his characters and ideas to life. When he needs an escape from his work, gaming is his go-to activity.