The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is full of stuff to wear on your head. Mysterious hoods, rugged bandanas, armored helmets — you have a lot of choices when covering up Link’s weird, tiny ponytail and scruffy sideburns. But if you’re a diehard Zelda fan, you’re probably craving a little bit of Link’s classic, green pointy hat, and wondering why it wasn’t included.
The short answer: It didn’t look great.
“As the graphic fidelity has increased it becomes more difficult to make that hat look cool,” said Breath of the Wild art director Satoru Takizawa in an interview during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. “As the game becomes more realistic it's difficult to present it in a way that's appealing.”
While it may seem like a simple explanation, it also explains the reason Link’s hat transformed so much in more recent console Legend of Zelda releases.
“If you look at Twilight Princess, I really made the hat long, so it would flap in the wind and move around,” Takizawa said. “But because of that people were like 'What's he got? What's in that hat?'“
Then, in Skyward Sword, Takizawa tried making Link’s hat diminutive, which gave it much less motion, but as he said, “we're reaching our limits as to how we can make it look cool.”
While there was a great effort made into playing with the conventions of Link’s design for Breath of the Wild (see some of the wild, not-canon concept art from the team’s GDC presentation), some things still make Link Link. Takizawa said it was part of the essence of the character, who is, in his soul, a samurai. So while the pointy ears and Hylian features stayed, that didn’t mean the clothes had to.
Of course, if you really miss Link’s iconic hat (and green tunic), there’s one way to get it. it just involves beating of Breath of the Wild’s 120 shrines.