While many Legend of Zelda fans would like to see a Zelda game where Zelda is the protagonist, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom definitely gives us a lot more to chew on narratively for the princess. It definitely seems that Zelda’s days of being nothing more than a damsel in distress are far behind us, and that’s a great thing to see.
In an interview with The Verge, Zelda director Hidemaro Fujibayashi talked about the story of Zelda in Tears of the Kingdom, and how the team wanted to explore her character in a deeper manner. That also goes along with the core theme of ‘hands’ in the game, which has a lot more to it than just Link’s hand being transformed.
I think the kind of major theme from Breath of the Wild was the struggles of Princess Zelda and the growth she goes through and what accomplishments she achieves and what kind of a person she becomes. At the time with Breath of the Wild, we were just focused on having this as a standalone single title, so that’s kind of where it ended. But as we started to think about a sequel, the natural next step we thought people would wonder about is, “What’s Zelda going to do next?” So that was kind of a core theme that we were wanting to tackle with this new entry.
We wanted to explore what that means more specifically and more practically through the idea of hands and hands being hand-in-hand, whether it’s characters holding hands or Link using his hands to activate some of its abilities. This hand concept really evolves into this idea of connecting or making connections with others. In this title, Zelda travels to the past, she meets a king, she meets a queen, and meets the demon king, and it all leaves her really thinking about what lies in her path ahead. She’s going through growth, experiencing things, and ultimately figuring out what kind of a person she’s going to be and what she is going to say. That’s a key factor in this narrative.