Nintendo fans love to get personal with the company’s family-friendly characters, whether it’s obsessing over Mario’s nipples, how big Luigi’s dong is, or what happens if Kirby were to swallow a hot man. (Disclosure: That last one is actually my fault.)
Ahead of the release of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, though, one TikToker dared to ask something that had, to date, not been one of these hot-button topics: Which version of Link, across the long-running series’ dozens of titles, would smell the worst? In a thorough video, @bigthighthescienceguy ranked each iconic hero as he smells fit, ultimately declaring the Link in Skyward Sword the least musty (the game has bathrooms). Ocarina of Time Link, however, didn’t shower for seven years, in between his time running around inside of a big fish and getting bopped by decaying bodies.
Tears director Hidemaro Fujibayashi and producer Eiji Aonuma disagree. For them, two Links stand out in particular. Aonuma points to Breath of the Wild’s version of the character, who wears a barbarian-style outfit with a bone cap and furs. “That might be kind of smelly,” he says, noting its “wild animal odor aroma.”
Fujibayashi, who says that “across the many decades” he’s given interviews he’s never been asked to consider which hero is most in need of deodorant, cast his vote for Twilight Princess. Although Link spends much of his time digging through dirt and running through dungeons as a wolf, there’s one specific moment Fujibayashi thinks of. “There are some scenes in Twilight Princess where Link engages in sumo wrestling with the Goran tribe,” he says. “I imagine he’s pretty smelly in that situation.”
Giving various Links a smell test is just the beginning. In a wide-ranging interview with WIRED, the duo, through translators, also explained their worst Ultrahand creations, how getting lost in caves helped them create one of Tears’ new abilities, and how they approached one of the biggest games of the year. But not before Aonuma shared one final thought: “Actually, Ganon might be the smelliest if I’m thinking about it.”
WIRED: You’ve said it was a deliberate choice to make Tears of the Kingdom a sequel to Breath of the Wild. Why was this world, specifically, so important to return to?
Eiji Aonuma: I was probably the first one to mention that. This was something that kind of occurred to me while we were continuing to work on Breath of the Wild, especially on the DLC. I really felt that this world we’d made still had a lot of potential for new play that we could dig into. So this is something I suggested to Mr. Fujibayashi. Little did I know that kind of at the same time, he already had some ideas in his head about ways that he might accomplish that.
Hidemaro Fujibayashi: I was thinking about the environment of Breath of the Wild without adding anything new. In some of the dungeons in Breath of the Wild, you see these cog wheels that are just kind of perpetually spinning. So we took four of those and attached them to a stone slate, and [made] a makeshift car. As an extension of that, someone took rectangular slates and put four of them together in a cylinder. And then you drop a remote bomb and a ball in there and detonate and you have a makeshift cannon. Putting those two ideas together, you have a DIY tank that Link can now ride.