Developing New Races for the Zelda Series

Developing New Races for the Zelda Series

Wherever do they come from?

When Ocarina of Time was released, a minority of hardcore fans found themselves bothered by the question: Where did they get these new races from? For whatever reason they would not be in Hyrule later on when ALttP takes place? They were not even among the Sages descendants! Both these people and those who just wanted to figure out every detail in the story of the series, immediately tried to come up with possible scenarios explaining the latter two points.
Most resolved the Sages descendants issue with magic (and how else would you explain a normal person being born from a being made of stone?). For the disappearance of the races as a whole, the ideas were many and diverse. A surprisingly high number of people was inclined to disregard the eventuality of a migration and claim to see the signs of a number of catastrophes.
The Gorons, some said, died out because they run out of the type of rocks they could eat.
The Zoras became monsters as a side effect of Ganondorfs curse.
The Kokiri left the woods as seen in the ending and all died out of old age.
The Gerudo had no males left and interbred with the Hylians (and Sheikah) making both races disappear (I actually still believe that this one could be correct)

As it turned out, most of these theories were proven wrong.
The Gorons moved (back?) to Holodrum and Labrynna.
There were actually two races of Zoras and the ones seen in OoT went back to Labrynna too.
The Kokiri were really plants, the Koroks that live hidden within the forests.
The Gerudo& they are still a mystery and may really have died out.
The first question remains however: where did they get these new races from?

A very large number of people believes these races have no foundation previous to OoT. This does not seem to be entirely true.

The Gorons have often been identified with those small indestructible winged monsters, Deadrocks, living on Death Mountain that turn to stone when hit. But while they may bear some physical resemblance they are definitely NOT Gorons (perhaps they are to Gorons what apes are to men? Or their equivalent of a Stalfos, which would explain the name)

Rather, to find something that may relate to the origins of the idea which resulted into the Gorons, we need to check ALttPs Japanese manual. In the story it says the graves of the race of people in the high mountains (Uhm, graves& Deadrocks&). I dont really believe that the programmers meant for a non-human race to have lived on the mountains when they wrote this& but these elements could certainly be what inspired them to eventually create the Gorons when the time to develop OoT came.

For the Zoras I dont really need to say anything, except perhaps that already in ALttP the river Zoras had their hangout and a King that you could speak to.

The Kokiri are more interesting than one would expect in this regard. Its almost openly accepted by all who know the following, that the Kokiri were based off the twin lumberjacks from ALttP.

That is because in Japanese an uncommon way to call lumberjacks (the one used in the game) happens to be Kikori. And I dont need to point out that their clothes match those of the Kokiri and they live near a forest. Truthfully, they may well be Kokiri with their fairies hidden under their hats!
Some also believe the greenish-blond haired thief to be related to Mido because they both live in the woods and take the same grumpy stance (arms crossed and head turned to the side, snorting begrudgingly)
Also check out the sign in front of the Lost Woods in Ancient Stone Tablets.

The Gerudo are probably the ones whose ideation process we can reconstruct the best. Since ALttP, Ganondorf was said to have been the leader of a band of thieves& but again, the Japanese manual gives us a little more detail: Ganon of the race of evil thieves. So it was implied to have been akin to a separate race of people already back then. And yet, also in the time of AlttP a gang of thieves does exist, one that used to dwell hidden into Kakariko (lead by a man named Blind) but was then forced into the woods.
It seems almost all too obvious that these thieves are meant to be what remains of Ganondorfs followers. But is that still the case after OoT and the Gerudo were introduced? I believe it may be. These thieves do have darker skin and many also red hair (in fact, they almost resemble Ganondorf!) so this really does seem to lead us into believing that deprived of their king and only male the Gerudo mingled with the Hylians, resulting in the disappearance of both races. The thieves are probably their last direct descendants.
&except perhaps for those who inhabit the village of outcasts within the Dark World. We do know that the former leader of the thieves Blind resides there and the other dwellers, foxes that constantly try to rob you, may just be what the nastier Gerudo became upon following their King into the Dark World. These guys may have recently showed up again in the Minish Cap, within Hyrule, but this doesnt mean the Gerudo couldnt have turned into them (after all, Link turned into a bunny but this doesnt mean bunnies didnt previously exist).

In closing with OoT we have the Sheikah and, naturally the Hylians. The latter were never a problem. It was always made clear that the people in ALttP Hyrule are their direct descendants (though no game ever bothered to give them a proper name, so we call them Hyrulians)
The Sheikah are a bit of a surprise. The protectors of the Royal Family in OoT are based off of ALttPs villain, Agahnim. Ganons pawn wears large robes with a turban (like Sheik) and a slight variation of what became the Sheikah symbol.
We know it represents shadows, and Agahnim does fight you with two shadows of himself. He doesnt really seem a shadow himself, but a very real person so it was probably a real Sheikah that was corrupted and possessed by Ganon.
Also wearing a turban even more alike that of Sheik is the man selling you bottles in Kakariko, who just happens to appear out of a cloud of smoke in Ancient Stone Tablets (something Sheik and Impa do all of the time)

&then again, he has a bit of a feline look, doesnt he?

Although unrelated to the matter at hand, its worth a mention that Veran is most likely an evil Sheikah too.

Before ending this article, lets spend a few words on the races that came after OoT. Most of these, dont seem to have any parallel to characters previous to the games in which they are introduced.
But the Minish may be an exception. Obviously, their hats are pretty much the same as the Kokiri, but thats not the oldest archetype to be found. In Ancient Stone Tablets, we see two gnome like beings carrying a large vase to operate a minigame. They even have red pointy hats like those of the Minish, so it seems quite likely that the programmers were thinking of these little guys when making the Minish Cap.
As for what they are, some may argue that they are too big and shouldnt really be seen if they were Minish& but this was long before the concept was fully developed. We may just assume that the starring character is pure hearted and has keen eyes. Something of a long shot may be relating the Minish to the village smithies. For a long time people wondered why they were small. They are just the same size as Ezlo in MCs ending. Now Im not saying that they themselves are Minish, but maybe (if Minish could use magic to grow they size of people and we know at least some could) they could be half-breeds. Or maybe the Minish adopted them and they grew up in cramped spaces.

Certainly being of Minish descent would explain why they are good enough to improve the Master Sword (seing as the Minish Smiths alone could create the Four Sword) and additionally, the Japanese version of the smithies song is very similar to that of the Minish Miners.

On the same line of thought& people have always wondered who the old man at the end of AoL is. Now he just looks quite a bit like Ezlo doesnt he? And it would definitely make sense if it was a Minish that kept the Triforce of Courage safe (considering MCs background story). Of course that could not be intended at the time of AoLs release, but that old man may be what Minish elders were based off of.
And of course TWWs Tower of the Gods is just filled with thing that would later become references to the Minish and the Wind Tribe.

One last consideration I would like to make pertains to a single character, Malon from Ocarina of Time. It is evident enough that Malon was based off of Marin from Links Awakening (who was later the inspiration for Aryll and her seagulls). As of consequence, they would supposedly look just about the same, right? But then Marin was said to greatly resemble the Princess Zelda from A Link to the Past. Let us make some comparisons and see which OoT character looks more like the Zelda of ALttP:

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