Zelda fans snatched up thousands of copies of the epic The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia in 2013. Now Nintendo and Dark Horse bring us The Legend of Zelda: Art and Artifacts, a full-color book packed to the gills with original artwork created for the many Zelda games.
From a pixelated Link in the first game released in 1986 to the blue-shirted Link in this year's upcoming game release, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, this substantial volume covers the artwork of Link, Zelda, animals, monsters, enemies, and allies that was developed for the games themselves or for the accompanying instruction books. The designers offer commentary in the back of the book about how the style direction unfolded and evolved as the franchise expanded.
Here we offer an exclusive early look at a few images of Link as he's changed his look and style over the past thirty years, giving you a glimpse of the rich art inside the book.
The Legend of Zelda (1986) - The Link from the original game, whom everyone recognizes. Pixelated, cheerful, and ready to find the princess with his trusty shield displaying a cross.
Oracle of Ages (2001) - Released for the Game Boy Color, Oracle of Ages put Link on a completely different world, Labrynna, where he had to travel through time to defeat the plans of the wicked Sorceress of Shadows, Veran. This was among the last games to be released on the Game Boy Color system, which would be replaced with the Game Boy Advance.
Skyward Sword (2011) - Link has evolved from a boylike figure to that of a hero with "wild strength" and musculature, yet the painterly artwork style shown here has a timelessness to it. [click image to expand]
A Link Between Worlds (2013) - This artwork (not from the gameplay) displays a less refined look...which is dramatically different from the artwork that came before (Skyward Sword) and after (Tri Force Heroes). [click image to expand]
Breath of the Wild (2017) - Link's primary appearance goes through at least one big change (blue!), and the focus in this artwork is on his strong gaze. The game releases in March 2017. [click image to expand]
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