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There's a massive battle going on in the space within the interwebs centering around playing as a female version of Link. Well, game director Eiji Aonuma confirmed that you can't play as a female in the new Legend of Zelda due to a number of factors.
Gamespot managed to get in some time with Eiji Aonuma to ask about Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and one of the questions they couldn't wait to get off was centered around either playing as a female or Link turning into a female.
It's a two-pronged assault from certain members of the media and community who have been asking Nintendo to either completely turn Link's gender from male to female, or allow people to play as a female in the upcoming Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. According to Aonuma, they thought about it but decided against it, with the legendary designer saying...
We thought about it, and decided that if we're going to have a female protagonist it's simpler to have Princess Zelda as the main character.
[...] if we have princess Zelda as the main character who fights, then what is Link going to do? Taking into account that, and also the idea of the balance of the Triforce, we thought it best to come back to this [original] makeup.
I'm not entirely sure why the Triforce would prevent players from assuming the role of Zelda, but putting Link in the backseat if Zelda was the main story centerpiece of the game and also the main combatant of the game didn't sit well with Nintendo because, as Aonuma points out, without a combat role Link has no purpose in the Legend of Zelda.
It's an interesting observation that I never paid any attention to before. However, it does make some sense that you completely remove the need of a specific character if a certain role they fulfilled is now rendered void. In this case, if Zelda was a driving point of the plot, held the narrative progression for the story and did all the combat, I suppose one would question what role Link would play as a supporting character that players didn't control?
Most times other characters are the centerpiece for the stories in Legend of Zelda titles, from Princess Midori and Zelda to Ganondorf and the Skull Kid, other characters have always pulled more than their weight to carry the story in the games. Everyone but Link.
Link was usually seen as a vessel for the player, and so he rarely has any character development or story progression outside of direct player actions.
In this newest game the story is shrouded in mystery but Nintendo definitely went out of their way to feminize Link as much as possible, giving him longer hair and a more feminine body. In fact, he looked so feminine in all of the trailers and art that most people assumed you played as a woman in the newest game.
For now it doesn't look like players will be able to play as a female Link or as a female in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. However, the last time Nintendo did introduce an alternative heroine was in collaboration with Koei Tecmo in Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Warriors; they received a lot of backlash for the character Linkle because some people said it was just a female version of Link.