BOTW Adventure Magazine has completely changed the link in English


The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s Link was originally much more elaborate than the translated versions of the game offer. The Legend of Zelda has always been Link’s story. Each game is centered around the reincarnation of the Hero of the Time when he fights evil, but apart from small details, such as his courage or his habit of oversleeping, because of which Link wakes up to start most games, little is known about the character. While past Zelda games avoided setting more than these basic Link specs, the Japanese version of Breath of the Wild broke the pattern and included significantly more.

Link has almost always been the silent protagonist in the Zelda series. Aside from grumbling and random words in Wind Waker, players never understand what Link is thinking. In Skyward Sword, Link was given dialogue options that gave him more personality, which passed into Breath of the Wild, where he finally became a full-fledged character with his own name, and not just a replacement player. However, the biggest detail added to Link’s character in “Breath of the Wild” was changed in the translations, which significantly changed the narrative.

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The Neck slate from Breath of the Wild is an integral part of the game, functioning as a map, a camera, a way to use the rune Link and the center of all Breath of the Wild information. The Sheikah Slate database also includes an adventure log, which details all of Link’s quests, as well as additional notes after they are completed. The main difference between the Japanese version of BOTW and translations such as the English version is here: in the English version, Sheikah Slate seems to record information about the Link quest itself, giving second-person analysis, linking the information to the player. In the Japanese version, Link writes updates of his quests in the first person, providing his unique comments.

Entries in the BOTW adventure log made the link more individual

It is reported that Twitter user @atomaruu was the first to discover the difference between the English and Japanese versions of the Breath of the Wild adventure log entries, which were then decrypted by tumblr user Vadnyl. The English translation doesn’t just change “I” to “you”, it replaces the expressive tone of the Link with a fully robotic one. Instead of Link’s own thoughts, the player hears instructions from Slate Shake himself for each of the Breath of the Wild quests. For example, in the English version of the completed quest “Captured Memories”, Sheika Slate orders: “Go and save [Zelda] as soon as possible to finally ease this burden,” whereas the Japanese version (translated by Vadnil) says: “Even if it happens a moment earlier, I want to save her as soon as possible… (I) want to see her smile again, with these eyes (my own).”

The Japanese text gives more characteristics to Link than any other Zelda game. His words convey the urgency of his mission to save Zelda, and they confirm his concern and potential love for her. Also, knowing that these adventure log entries mainly serve as Link’s diary makes them more attractive due to their charm. When Link tames a Giant Horse, he writes about how “cool” it is that a horse can trample a lot of monsters, and when he accepts a Test of Will from Zelda’s stone Goron race, Link begins playfully imitating their speech in a magazine, ending each sentence with the word “goron”.

The original adventure magazine reported on many different aspects of Link. It’s hard to imagine why the translators decided to make such a radical change to the narrative of the game, especially when you consider that “Breath of the Wild” has already challenged many long-standing traditions of Zelda only in its gameplay. Whatever the reasons, this move detracts from Link’s character. Fans outside Japan can only hope that the translations of the Breath of the Wild sequel will be more faithful to the original.