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  Home | Features | Interview with The Missing Link

 
 
Chances are if you've been around the Zelda community for some years now, you've come across The Missing Link. The current webmaster of The Grand Adventures, author of The Book of Mudora (his own personal take on the storyline of Zelda), and founder of Zelda Blog takes time out to chat with TSA about his work, his thoughts on the community, and on the series in general.
 
TSA: I wanted to first talk about your sites and the Zelda community. So to start off, why did you decide to start a Zelda web site? Did you have any inspirations or influences that guided your decision?

The Missing Link: Well, technically speaking, the first site I webmastered, The Grand Adventures, I never really started. I inherited the site after the previous webmaster left and then took it running from there. The reasons for taking over the responsibility back then are very different from the reasons I continue to do so today. Back then, I have to admit, I was very naïve and inspired; I believed that with the megaphone that a site would give that I could affect the way people viewed Zelda, and to some extent, that did happen. Now, however, my inspirations come from those people in the community who I've really befriended over the years. There are a variety of really great fans out there I've met, each with a different opinion on things, and meet those people and discussing this to see what similarities and differences of thought we have really make it all the worthwhile.




Meet...The Missing Link!

TSA: So you've undergone a bit of a transformation as a webmaster. Do you think running a Zelda fan site has changed your outlook on Zelda as a fan?

The Missing Link: It definitely has, both microscopically and macroscopically. As an example of a smaller change, a fan from a roleplaying site played Sheik in a way that was completely different than the way I envisioned him, sort of two spirits residing in the same body. I had never thought about that way before, and it seemed to fit so well that I accepted it as my own mental fact and ran with it. But on a bigger scale, I've come to appreciate games different as a whole. Majora's Mask never really stuck to me as well as Ocarina did after I first played it, but after I met quite a few who lauded it as better than Ocarina, I've seen their opinions and taken them as my own. I really think that discussion of ideas is one of the necessities in any fandom because it really opens up the doors to your understanding of the world as a whole.

 

TSA: Is the discussion of ideas one of the reasons you decided to begin Zelda Blog? When exactly did you decide to take on this secondary Zelda project?

The Missing Link: That's definitely a big chunk of the reason, although it wasn't the only reason for it. The Zelda community has enough forums across its domain that people could easily talk Zelda ideas until the cows came home to Lon Lon. However, most of these theatres of discussion are fragmented from one another, strictly kept separate, and so the discussion was potentially limiting. So I figured that bringing all of these individual ideas from across the community could be levered to broaden the limits of the discussion. It's definitely a lofty task, and it's not one that's going to happen overnight! When you heap upon that problem the difficulty of websites putting other things like inter-site politics ahead of Zelda, it makes unifying that discussion all the more an important element.

 

TSA: With trying to take up such a lofty task, do you ever feel like you are looked up to by other members of the Zelda community?

The Missing Link: I certainly do get a good bit of praise from a lot of circles, but I can't say that I really focus upon that aspect. I've always been, you might say, a behind-the-scenes guy. I've never quite been comfortable with having the spotlight on stage on me, so I tend to shrug it off most of the time. Of course, I do use that as a forum on what things I'm doing right or what things need improving, but otherwise, I always see myself as more of a back-seat driver, even when I'm in the pilot's seat.

 

TSA: I see. Speaking of the community now... What do you see as the main difference between the online Zelda community of today and the one of six or seven years ago when Ocarina of Time had just been released?

The Missing Link: Well, I didn't join the community until 2000, around when Majora was released, so unfortunately I can't speak for the whole history of the online fandom, but I can compare to the late Ocarina crowd. What I have noticed over the years is that Zelda has been taken increasingly seriously as the years have gone by. It's not a secret that Majora didn't do as well as Ocarina, but the outcry over Majora was hardly the outcry that we heard with Wind Waker. I personally know people who refused to play it just for the graphics, and... that really stung me when I heard it. I can still remember the days when forum members would pretend to be Kokiri and sell candy to one another on the forums, and I haven't seen silliness like that for several years; it's most debates. Not that debates are bad, mind, but it's my belief that Zelda isn't meant to be such taken with such a straight face. I certainly doubt Miyamoto keeps a straight face as he's making a new game!

 

TSA: The Wind Waker seemed to produce the largest negative outcry from the fanbase. What were your overall impressions with The Wind Waker?

The Missing Link: I seriously enjoyed Wind Waker. I enjoyed it to the point where I did play the second quest of the game immediately following beating it the first time. That in itself really speaks loads for me. The graphical "inadequacies" weren't inadequacies at all; rather, the style actually fit the game very well, and I don't think another style would have fit the game. The ocean was a very neat idea, and the seagulls kept me entertained for the seeming hours I spent at sea, and the sudden plunge down into Hyrule and extracting the Master Sword had me drooling with anticipation and curiosity. The only true criticism that I have is that the game seemed a bit rushed at the end, a little too free-flowing given the rest of the context of the game, and the element of somethat that was supposed to be there but didn't get in was prominent, but it didn't detract from the overall story. I firmly believe Wind Waker to be a better game than Ocarina just because of the originality of the game.

 

TSA: Wow, I didn't even play the second quest through to completion until this year. So, you believe The Wind Waker was pretty original. Do you think Nintendo is "selling out" with Twilight Princess in any way by distancing itself from The Wind Waker's unique style?

The Missing Link: It's really too soon to say, but I don't believe so. If memory serves me correct (which it usually doesn't, but I'm pretty sure about this one), Miyamoto has compared Twilight to Adventure of Link. That's a pretty bold statement considering that's considered to be the black sheep of the Zelda series when you throw out the CD-i games. Sure, they're returning towards the Ocarina style and giving us an adult Link, but you and I know Nintendo, TSA. They don't do anything halfway; they throw in a dozen or so surprises every time they release a game. Despite us knowing the basic plot premise of Twlight, there's miles and miles between that and knowing everything there is to know about the game, so I think they've got some neat idea up their sleeve just waiting to be cast when it's released. The graphic style, I'm guessing, is merely a means to an end on achieving that goal.

 

TSA: Speaking of the future of Zelda, after seeing the Revolution controller, what are your thoughts and/or expectations on a possible tittle for Zelda Revolution?

The Missing Link: Oh gee whiz, that's something I haven't even begun to consider yet! I might win the lottery before I could get that right! But seriously speaking, I think that it will move in the direction of a little older a market just because of the depth that the immersion of the game could take you. A decent title might be The Legend of Zelda: The Bane of Evil, but I wouldn't hold my breath on that one.

 

TSA: Did the demonstrations of fishing or swinging a sword with the "remote" controller pique your interest?

The Missing Link: Oh yes, definitely. Medieval stories have always been a fancy of mine, and there's a part of me that really wishes that I could have lived back in the 1300s or so, a part that really wants to know what being a knight or a hero was all about. I can't say that I've ever done anything quite so crazy as the Star Wars Kid, but I have to say that, were my imagination to run away with me one day, I probably could have done much worse! So actually going through the motions of being Link for a day (or a game) really appeals to me, and I'm excited to see where the controller will lead us.

 

TSA: Alright, two final questions. The first deals again with the future of Zelda and the community. With Nintendo going online on the DS and Revolution, do you forsee Nintendo playing a more active role in the development of the online Zelda community?

The Missing Link: Yes and no. While the relationship between Nintendo and the fan community has become a little strained at times, I think they realise deep down that a community by the fans for the fans really plays into their hands. Let's face it, even GameFAQs is more a Zelda resource than the official site, and that's completely fan-driven. So the answer is no in so far that the fansite basis for the online community is here to stay. As far as gaming in an online sense, I do see that as a possibility; I would not be surprised at all to see an online Zelda come out, possibly a Four Swords title or possibly a two-player multiplayer online Zelda game. I can see Zelda taking on a variety of different directions, but I don't see the basic structure of the community changing all that much.

 

TSA: I've saved the best for last...

The Missing Link: Oh dear...

TSA: Would you want the creators to reveal the timeline?

The Missing Link: I have to admit: No, I wouldn't want them to give me all the answers. The answer is long, so I'll try to keep it as short as possible, but the reason I don't want them to reveal the timeline is the same reason I don't want them to put in voice acting for the characters, especially Link. Link really hasn't had a personality in any of the games so far. Even the facial gestures of Ocarina and Waker haven't revealed all that much. As a result, who Link is really is decided by the player, not the creator. They can influence it, yes, but we hold the ultimate power. The same thing goes for the timeline; the fandom has the power right now to really construct Hyrule in our own minds, and to reveal once and for all precisely what the timeline is would be very similar to what happened when NoA tried to do it. There would be mass hysteria, people would go in and look for every counterexample to the official timeline possible, and it just wouldn't go over well with everyone. Besides, I play Zelda moreso for the overall experience rather than for the timeline, so I'd rather let them be creative and create those potential paradoxes rather than have them constrain their creativity to a timeline that cannot ever be broken. I think it makes good business sense for them as well.

TSA: Alright, thanks a lot TML for taking the time out of your day for this interview.

The Missing Link: It's my pleasure. I appreciate the opportunity, TSA.