Shigeru Miyamoto, game designer, producer and creator of The Legend of Zelda, recently revealed that Link was a Peter Pan-inspired character designed to be recognizable.
Miyamoto interviewed with French magazine Gamekult, which we have translated with the help of Google. According to Miyamoto, the Nintendo's limited capabilities would only allow them to use three colors. With consideration for the game's many forest environments, and some inspiration from Disney's Peter Pan, green was chosen as Link's signature color.
Link's original sprite was crafted by Nintendo designer Takashi Tezuka. Miyamoto wanted the character to be recognizable; as a result, Link's sword and shield were created to be easily seen and distinguishable. The team wanted a hero with a long hat and big ears, Miyamoto said, and so Link became an elfish character.
Link's name comes from the game's original futuristic setting, said Miyamoto. When the team first began designing The Legend of Zelda, the Triforce fragments were computer chips. The game was to take place in both the past and future, with the main character as the "link" in the middle.
The Legend of Zelda, the first installment in what would becoming one of the most acclaimed series in gaming, debuted in 1986. The lastest game, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, released in November of 2011.