Epona being ridden by Link in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. She has brown fur and a white mane.
|Series||The Legend of Zelda|
|First game||The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)|
|Created by||Shigeru Miyamoto|
Epona (エポナ) is a fictional horse in The Legend of Zelda series of video games. She was created by series creator Shigeru Miyamoto, and originally appeared in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. She usually acts as a mode of transportation for series protagonist Link, and is often found in the company of the ranch hand character Malon. Her name is derived from the Celtic goddess of horses of the same name.
Concept and creationEdit
Epona was created by series creator Shigeru Miyamoto for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Epona shares the same name with the Celtic goddess of horses. Epona was planned to be nameable by players in Ocarina of Time, but the feature was removed before its release. The feature was later added to The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Eiji Aonuma, the director of Twilight Princess, would not confirm whether or not the horse was Epona during its development.
Epona is Link's horse, and is mainly used as transportation. She first appears in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as a young horse at the Lon Lon Ranch and personally handled by a young girl named Malon. She teaches a song to Link that allows him to summon her called "Epona's Song", which Link uses seven years in the future once Epona is matured to ride her. According to Malon, Epona is shy toward everyone else, but after Malon teaches "Epona's Song", which is later used to summon Epona once she is rescued from the ranch after it had been taken over. She appears again in her young form in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, going along with Link in a journey, only to be kidnapped by a creature called Skull Kid. She is later recovered at a ranch. Link appears riding an unnamed horse appears in the introductions for both The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages, bearing a resemblance to Epona. She again appears in a minor role as a non-playable character in The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap along with her owner Malon. Most recently, she appears in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and is owned by Link in the outset unlike previous titles in the series. In both The Minish Cap and Twilight Princess, Epona is able to communicate with Link under certain circumstances. For the first time in the series since Ocarina of Time, Link may use weapons while riding Epona to battle on horseback. This mechanic is used in the final battle.
Epona has received mostly positive reception since her introduction in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. IGN editor Matt Casamassina called riding on Epona in Ocarina of Time great. IGN editor Levi Buchanan compared the smoothness of the horses in Gallop Racer 3D to Epona's, saying that this smoothness is what won over the hearts of millions for her. Due to a high level of fan requests for young Link to be able to ride young Epona, this feature was included in Majora's Mask. The boat in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was questioned as to whether it was a replacement of Epona. According to GameDaily, the sight of Epona being revealed in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was enough to make some people cry. Gaming Age editor Craig Majaski gave similar praise to Epona, commenting that it was obvious the developers had spent a great deal of effort on her. He praised the improvements over her Ocarina of Time designs, as well as her animation. GameDaily listed Epona as one of their top 25 of Nintendo's gimmicks, stating that Nintendo provided players with the ability to ride a horse, which they say is a dream of every kid. They also state that seeing Epona in Twilight Princess made them "squeal like fan boys". Honest Gamers editor Jason Venter commented that the world of Ocarina of Time seemed to be design for Epona, rather than the other way around.
Gamasutra editor Bryan Ma compared the relationship between Link and Epona to that of Wander and Agro from Shadow of the Colossus, though he states that their relationship is to a different effect; while the cutscenes in The Legend of Zelda enforced the relationship, it is not enforced in gameplay. He adds that Epona is more of a sidekick and game element than an ally, and that controlling Epona is merely an extension of controlling Link. In response to a "blow-up motion-sensing horse saddle", which Gamasutra editor Kris Grant thought would make gamers' imaginations run wild with the thoughts of using it to ride Epona. Gamasutra editor Francisco Souki cited the reunion of Link and Epona in the future of Ocarina of Time as an example of a story-telling game mechanic, stating that after Link goes in the future and finds Epona, she does not initially trust him, but once "Epona's Song" is played, she remembers who he is. He adds that this teaches players that even in a game with time travel, music is a constant. In a vote for the best video game horse, Epona was named the victor based on the four judges, Ken Levine, Mike Krahulik, Leigh Alexander, and Tofuburger, and was second place in the readers' choice award. Leigh listed Epona as her favourite, describing her as a "legendary horse", and Tofuburger listed Epona as his favourite, calling her a "rockstar" and "full of awesome and win".
Since her inception, Epona has been a part of multiple promotions such as figurines, usually accompanied by Link.
- ↑ Nintendo 64 Mailbag - January 8, 1999. IGN (1999-01-08). Retrieved on 2009-08-04.
- ↑ The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Preview. IGN (2004-05-14). Retrieved on 2009-08-04.
- ↑ RPGFan Reviews - The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages. Rpgfan.com. Retrieved on 2010-08-05.
- ↑ GameCube Mailbag - November 17, 2004. IGN (2004-11-17). Retrieved on 2009-08-04.
- ↑ Gallop Racer Preview. IGN (2005-09-29). Retrieved on 2009-08-04.
- ↑ More Details on Zelda Gaiden Surface. IGN (1999-08-20). Retrieved on 2009-08-04.
- ↑ E3 2002: Zelda GameCube Movies!. IGN (2002-05-21). Retrieved on 2009-08-04.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 June 19, 2009 (2009-06-19). Gallery and Images. GameDaily. Retrieved on 2010-08-05.
- ↑ The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess review (Wii). Gaming Age (2006-11-27). Retrieved on 2009-08-04.
- ↑ The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64) review. Honest Gamers. Retrieved on 2009-08-04.
- ↑ Bryan Ma's Blog - Ueda and A Boy and His Blob and A Girl and A Horse. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2010-08-05.
- ↑ News - Nintendo Files Patent For Blow-Up Motion-Sensing Horse Saddle. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2010-08-05.
- ↑ Francisco Souki's Blog - Game Mechanics That Tell Stories. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2010-08-05.
- ↑ The Greatest Video Game Horse Revealed, As Chosen By Our Stunningly High-Profile Panel » MTV Multiplayer. Multiplayerblog.mtv.com (2008-01-30). Retrieved on 2010-08-05.