The Roles of Original Characters in Zelda: A Thriving Community

POSTED ON:  August 1, 2023 

by: loz_short_stories

The Legend of Zelda game series has held fans in a steadfast grip since the very day it began, captivating them in the land of Hyrule. The franchise is full of fully-fledged characters, with even side characters sporting their own unique personality and backstory. But what really adds an additional layer of depth to the franchise is the original characters (OCs) that are created within the thriving fan community. It is through this blog that we’ll take a closer look at the significance and benefits OCs bring to the community and their creators.


In fact, even the developers create OCs that end up finding their way to Zelda titles. One such example is Midna, the mischievous imp who aids Link on his quest in Twilight Princess. The Breath of the Wild art director, Satoru Takizawa, mentioned that Midna’s design had been finalized long before Twilight Princess itself had been. Many have speculated that she was meant to appear in a direct sequel to The Wind Waker, however, it has never been confirmed. Some theories even revolve around Midna being meant to appear in a game completely separate to the Zelda series. Still, it’s astonishing to picture Twilight Princess without the beloved imp, a character that helped define the game.

Even more to do                                                                                                                 

Creating a Zelda OC is a process full of love, passion, and hard work. What clothes do you give them? What backstory? And perhaps one of the most difficult questions of all… what name? I know I can’t be the only one who desperately struggles with naming an OC – finding the balance between a name that is original yet not too authentic is no easy feat. Regardless, it’s a labour of love and can be a wonderful way to get even more out of an already amazing franchise. Even if you’ve already completed 100% of the game, speed run it, tried all the craziest of Zelda Nuzlockes and challenges, you’ll get hours out of creating your very own Zelda OC.

Further ways to explore Zelda                                                                                              

What’s even better is that Zelda OCs can be used to bring even more depth to the Zelda games. It’s no secret that the timeline for the games is all over the place. But no matter how ‘broken’ the timeline may be, it doesn’t stop countless eager fans from trying to piece all the different eras together, and inevitably, that involves a lot of theorising. Whether the timeline discussions are something you’re a fan of, or you just really love digging into all the corners of Zelda, creating Zelda OCs is an intricate way to further explore the land of Hyrule. The best part is you can bring a character to life by using so many different mediums. Whether it be through cosplay, artwork, writing… the possibilities are endless. It also provides a pathway to collaboration among other artists, the exchanging of ideas and sharing of skills leading to better developed ideas.

Developing your skills                                                                                                               

As I briefly touched upon earlier, creating your OC is no walk in the park… and just how much harder is it when you need to create an entire world for the character to reside in? Unless you base your OC in our world, you’ll need to create your own world for it. This can make the process quite daunting, especially if it is your first time designing your very own character. Basing your OC in Hyrule, on the other hand, can make the process easier. You already have preset species to pick from, roles, and time periods to set your OC in. As so many more people are familiar with the Zelda world, it’s also a fair bit easier to receive feedback and guidance while creating your character. By going through an exercise like this, you also gain valuable skills that you’ll be able to use for future personal projects. You’ll know the steps to take, the mistakes to avoid, and it’ll make the whole process a lot less daunting.

Inspiration for fan projects and game modifications                                                              

By only a quick glance, you’ll find that fan-created Zelda OCs quite often serve as a catalyst for a variety of fan projects. The ‘Zelda Randomizer’ project is just one notable example. If you’re not familiar with this project, it allows you and other players to create a randomized version of Zelda games. This means that the locations of dungeons and items are shuffled – you can even swap around the abilities of enemies if you want to add some extra oomph! to your gameplay. But that isn’t all it can do. Dedicated fans have taken the project even further by introducing their own characters into the world. There’s also the option to create your own custom character, to customize Link to your liking, or to play as another Zelda character. It’s a wonderful way to further explore original characters through a fresh perspective, and to include your own.

Another exhilarating example is the ‘Zelda Dungeon Maker.’ Inspiration from Zelda titles such as A Link Between Worlds and their creation tools are utilized and expanded upon in this project. Fans have even gone as far as to develop a new, intricate dungeon creation software that allows for extensive and imaginative dungeons to be created by the player. This project has been a great pathway to integrating OCs into the dungeon itself. The dungeons are populated with OCs that not only prove to be unique bosses or allies, but ones that carry their own personalities and stories. The Zelda games are famous for their world full of rich characters that no doubt demand hours of the developer’s time. But the developers always deliver, and it seems that Zelda fans are no exception.

So far, these have been mostly game modification-related examples. But another remarkable example is the fan made film The Legend of Zelda: Sage of Darkness. This film by The Josh Dixon Show was released back around 2008, yet it still holds up well to this day. With slight compromises in its locations and costuming, where it really shines is in its acting, storytelling and character development. Based on the Zelda franchise, the movie itself is not a retelling of a specific game but has its own unique story full of the characters we love. It features plenty of OCs, too, such as Ertegan, Ganondorf’s son, Davik, an appointed knight of Hyrule, Kyrin, Link’s brother, and many more. It is a radiant example of how Ocs in Zelda have been utilized creatively, and if you’d like to give it a watch, it's available on YouTube!

Growing the community     


Incorporating OCs into the Zelda community doesn’t only benefit the creator but many of the surrounding fans, creating an engaging fan-made ecosystem to pair with the Zelda universe. Right here at Zelda Creators, you’ll find the ‘Create an OC Collab’ being a perfect example of a community event that was based on the creation of Zelda OCs. Although, there are far more examples in the wider community that you can find by scouring the web. Some of these will include character designing contests, full of specific themes for character creation. Writing and art prompts work similarly, aiming to encourage Zelda fans to conceptualize and bring their OC to life. This includes various OC collaborations or prompts to draw, write, or create your character doing something, dressing in a certain way, and so on. The possibilities are endless, and whether you are hosting or participating in one, it would be a fantastic way to grow your OC.

Cross over your favorite fandoms to your heart’s content                                                         

Zelda isn’t the only game out there – although, I’m certain most of us Zelda fans would rightfully argue it is one of the best! But there are plenty of games out there, stories, movies, pieces that are fiction yet teach true lessons. And with that come many more fandoms. Creating a crossover between Zelda and another game can be a fresh way to view both pieces and to intake inspiration for your OC. Whether the OC is born from a combination of both (or more) worlds, or they actively participate in both said worlds, it doesn’t only benefit your OC creation process but can help to bring light to other phenomenal stories in the Zelda community. A game that I think quite a few Zelda fans would enjoy is Chrono Trigger. It shares quite a few similarities with Zelda – A Hero destined to wield the legendary sword (the Masamune), elements of time travel, and a rich world. Although, most similarities stop there, and you are also introduced to handful of new features. Creating an OC based on both games has popped up in my mind, and if you’ve experienced the same with any of your other favorite games, why not go for the opportunity?

A small dose of happiness goes a long way                                                                        

And perhaps the most obvious reason of all, happiness. Creating your very own Zelda OC allows you to add even more of yourself to the game. Nintendo made a phenomenal decision the day they decided to make Link a silent protagonist. For Link wasn’t merely a cool sword-wielding elf-boy, he was also you. It was you filling in the silent places for him, saving characters, building relationships, and going on stunning adventures. What more ways could you intake the world of Hyrule further? Creating an Oc could be one way. For through your OC, you add even more bits of yourself, your experiences, your values into the world. Ultimately, be that the reason you create a Zelda OC or not, you are sure to find some delight in creating a character of your own.

Through the vast, rich land of Hyrule, Zelda OCs have had their own grand role to play. We’ve briefly touched on how this is also true for developers and the character designs they create. There’s no doubt that creating Zelda OCs brings even more to do and further ways to explore existing characters and concepts. It’s been a huge driving point for creating fan projects and game modifications, and in the process of doing so has allowed the creators to expand their own skill set. Whether you want to cross over your favorite fandoms or insert more of a piece of you into the world, your contribution can help the community thrive and grow!