Why Zelda games need voice acting (opinion)

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Two weeks ago, Emily Rogers tweeted 3 rumors about the upcoming Legend of Zelda game for Wii U. One of these rumors is that “There is voice acting for most of the characters… except Link.”

In the franchise’s 30 years of existence, not once has it included full-length voice acting. This is not counting the CD-i games and Koei Tecmo’s Hyrule Warriors, all of which were not developed by Nintendo. So of course, the fanbase is incredibly divided on whether or not future Zelda games should include voice acting. Guess which party I’m in.

In case you could not tell by the title, I think it’s time for The Legend of Zelda to make the jump to voice acting. This isn’t just because I personally want voice acting, but it would be beneficial for Nintendo if they want this franchise to continue. Nowadays, voice acting is practically a necessity in video games, unless there is no dialogue in the game itself, which there is in Zelda. A lot. I realized upon playing Twilight Princess HD that having the characters mouth their words as dialogue being typed is just a bit… dated. Giving these characters voices would not only immerse players in the world way more, but it would expand the fanbase of the franchise as a whole. What do I mean by that?

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Let’s face it, people are now more likely to buy a game that has voice acting as opposed to one without. Games like The Witcher 3, Fallout 4, and Mass Effect have some of the best voice acting in the industry and are some of the most well-received games from fans and critics. Is this necessarily synonymous with their success? Not totally, but adding it to a series like The Legend of Zelda could make a big leap in new fans, especially younger ones who have trouble reading. The rumor also stated that only most of the characters will have voice acting, this could mean that the characters are voice acted in important cutscenes and minor characters (like shop-owners or citizens of Hyrule) would be stuck with traditional dialogue boxes.

While it has also been rumored that Link will remain silent, I have no problem with that, but the question still stands if he were to speak in future installments. I personally don’t mind if they make him talk, but they would have to figure out a way to do it right because Link’s name implies that he is the “link between the player and the game,” so creator Shigeru Miyamoto didn’t let him speak because of that reason. If they were to make him speak, I wouldn’t mind if they did something along the lines of Venom Snake in Metal Gear Solid V, where he rarely spoke, but did so when it was important, only making those moments more significant.

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One of the most common and poor excuses I hear about having no voice acting in Zelda games are: “They already had voice acting in the CD-i games and it was terrible!” You’re not wrong about that, but comparing a game that came out over 20 years ago when nobody took voice acting in games seriously to now when we have games like The Last of Us is incredibly juvenile. Another excuse I hear is: “Nintendo games aren’t known for their voice acting.” Okay, but there are a couple of good recent examples of Nintendo games with good (if not great) voice acting: Star Fox Zero included the original cast from Star Fox 64 and I would argue they did a better job in this one than they did 19 years ago; could be because of the better sound quality but hey. Kid Icarus: Uprising had some INCREDIBLE voice acting that I would never get tired of hearing.

Even though this is just my opinion and you have every right to disagree with me (keep it civil, comment section), I firmly believe that if this franchise wants to continue to stay relevant, voice acting is one of the necessary additions Nintendo will have to include whether it be in Zelda Wii U or later.

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Joey Ferris
Joey Ferris 260 posts

l love to play games and write stuff about them. I can't play something and not tell anyone how I feel about it. Call it a sickness, because it is.

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