A portion of an Eurogamer interview with Eiji Aonuma...
EU: Let's start with the latest Breath of the Wild trailer. I think fans loved what they saw. There were several familiar characters and faces - fans spotted the Deku Tree, for example, and the Koroks. There's continued speculation on where the game might fit within the timeline that we know. Can you expand upon that? Are people on the right track with theories that it follows Wind Waker?
Aonuma: So... in the trailer there was a sort of Wind Waker-esque element, and to a degree you could say that the animation and the art style have some influences from Wind Waker, so I can see why people would draw those connections.
But with Breath of the Wild, one thing I'm really keen to emphasise is that a big part of the appeal of the game is surprise, unexpected encounters, so I want fans to experience surprise and to experience an element of the unexpected - I feel if I spoke too much about that kind of thing, it might spoil things for people, so I'd rather not touch on that too deeply.
EU: Already people have been surprised by what this version of the Zelda series has already brought. Skyward Sword really set down the idea that each version of Link and Zelda were new incarnations of original characters, but with Breath of the Wild, the beginning seems like an attempt to sort of disrupt this and surprise the player by having a Link who's already a hero and has awoken 100 years later. Was it a conscious decision to disrupt the formula and what fans might be expecting?
Aonuma: The fact that Link has been asleep for 100 years is a particularly important part of this story. It's true that this is kind of a technique in a way - a storytelling technique - that we'd like to use this time so everyone can relate to that in his or her own way, and players can discover the importance of that point as they play through the game. How exactly that plays into the story as a whole... well, it's very important, so as you can probably understand I can't really say much more about it at this stage.
This is an idea I've had bubbling away under the surface ever since I started making games.
EA: Zelda fans continue to show interest in having Zelda as a playable character, and I wonder if that was something that was considered for Breath of the Wild?
Aonuma: I seem to remember three years ago when we showed the first trailer at E3, I said something along the lines of "I never said that Link would necessarily be male" or something along those lines, and that got taken out of context and turned into a rumour that took on a life of its own. Link has always been portrayed as a male character as the protagonist of the games.
After that happened actually, we did discuss in the team about whether or not we should have a female protagonist. I spoke to Mr Miyamoto about it and the whole team talked about it, but in the end, it just didn't happen.
On Wii U of course there's already Hyrule Warriors where Princess Zelda is a playable character, and there's actually quite an assortment of characters including several female ones. And that title is already available of course. So looking to the future, talking about the possibility of having a playable female protagonist, I'd say yes, it's a possibility.