Hmm...I might be okay with a side character kicking the bucket, but if it was Link, I'd feel so bad about beating the game because it was just sending him to his grave. I think stuff like that is best left to fanfics.
It would make for an interesting twist in the game, I doubt Nintendo would do such a thing. I think maybe they should do that in a game, after all we know that a new hero will arise the next time he is needed. Also could maybe fit into the storyline before Wind Waker, where evil swept the land and the hero never came, it could have been that Link died instead, so the evil was not defeated.
I doubt something drastic like this would happen, Nintendo would need to have it in a developer who would be willing to move the Zelda formula to new heights instead of you know..
Other than that this thread..
I don't think Link or Zelda should die because it wouldn't be as satisfying. But I think it could be interesting to end the game with Ganandorf/The Antagonist winning.
Maybe it could end right after he has taken over the land of Hyrule/Whatever and things are looking grim but provide sufficient satisfaction by having Link rescue Zelda and being safe for now. Then the next game could start off from there with the antagonist ruling and Link needing to find a way to stop him. Possibly with Zelda's assistance?
Killing a character wouldn't make any difference. Ganondorf has 'died' numerous times and come back. Zelda 'died' in Spirit Tracks and hung around. Link apparently died in OoT somewhere but that just heralded the Downfall/last hero timeline with many more Links. As for it happening in the game itself, I don't recall any nintendo game with a downer ending and i dont think that the death of a playable character for a final act is well suited to games and particularly not to Zelda. The player has just overcome so many obstacles to get the job done only to be defeated in a cutscene to end the game... All that hard work for nothing...
Zelda is also the story of courage and bravery winning through, the death of Link at the end of the game would completely defeat the object. However a Link dying at the beginning of the game and then game then starring a new Link to pick up where he left off would work. WW essentially did that When the Hero of Time didn't return. An immediate version of the WW's story where one Link dies and another takes over in quick succession wouldn't work either though because i don't think more than one Link exists at any one time (save for Hero's Shade and the misc incarnations of previous Links).
The epitome of drastic in Zelda so far seems to be WW, it got rid of the world we knew after so long and replaced it with something new and unexpected, it had a dark backdrop[ and while its ending wasn't a downer it was very sad and heartfelt that ended with Sacrifice.
Drastic in Zelda won't come from story or plot it'll come from design and time, for example had Valley of the Flood been real, then that would have been considered a drastic departure for the series with a technologically advanced Hyrule and something that probably would have played like ninja Gaiden or Prince of Persia.
Death of a main character would be devastating... I know I wouldn't like it. It could be interesting if the antagonist won, though that would still make me mad. I don't think people would like such a sharp turn from the Zelda formula.
It would be interesting to have a story where Link is actually defeated, time passes and a new hero rises to take his place like 100/50 years after the darkness has had control of the world. That would be an extremely awesome Mid-Game Change! I would love it!
Well that kind of sort of happens with Link's Awakening. Not Link or Zelda dying, but an almost happy yet depressing ending. Well in my opinion it was depressing. SPOILER IF YOU HAVEN'T PLAYED THE GAME
When you waken the Windfish, all of the people and the island disappear. You spend your entire time helping them, yet knowing that you will essentially kill them by waking the Whale. I mean yes they never truly existed as they were just part of the Windfish's dream, but I still felt a tinge of regret from awakening the Windfish. He simply just flies off into the sunset, leaves you on a raft, and that's it.
I don't think Link and/or Zelda should die at the end of a Zelda game. That just seems a bit stupid. You struggle through trials and tribulations to NOT die and you end up dying in the end. Yes, it would be dramatic, but it jsut doesn't seem like Zelda to do something like that.