For over two decades fans of the Zelda series have been wondering just how all of these games fit together to form an epic narrative. Certainly there were obvious connections such as the original Legend of Zelda to The Adventure of Link. And then A Link to the Past to Link’s Awakening. And then again from Ocarina of Time to Majora’s Mask. But how all of these fit together as a whole remained a bit more complicated.
We heard conflicting information from series creator Shigeru Miyamoto about the placement of A Link to the Past both before and after the original Legend of Zelda. Which statement were we to believe?
As time went on, the developers indulged us with specific information. When The Wind Waker was first announced, they made a point of clarifying that this game’s story would take place 100 years after the end of Ocarina of Time. Likewise with Twilight Princess, which they assured us also took place 100 years after Ocarina of Time, but in an alternate reality, thereby cementing the theory that fans had invented after witnessing the peculiar events of Ocarina of Time: that game caused a split in the timeline.
This gave birth to a new hobby: Timeline Theorizing. Many, many debates have been waged over many Zelda fan sites with fans battling it out trying to prove that their theory of the proper order of the games made the most rational sense. Yet none of it was flawless, and none of it could be proved. And Nintendo kept complicating the matter by releasing new games which then had to be fit into the ever increasingly complicated situation.
And then came the mention of the holy grail of Zelda fandom: Shigeru Miyamoto himself mentioned that there existed a document which linked all of the Zelda games together and explained how they all fit together into an arching story spanning many eras. But, he said, this was a secret to everybody. It would not be revealed.
Some fans pined anxiously for this document to be revealed to finally end all of the confusion, while others were glad that it remained secreted away so that they were free to theorize unhindered by facts set in stone.
And time passed on.
And then, in celebration of The Legend of Zelda’s 25 anniversary the unthinkable happened: Nintendo released an official book entitled Hyrule Historia which contained not only that very timeline which they had sworn to never release, but also hundreds of pages of detailed elaboration explaining the links between all of the games and the minute details of some of the most mysterious aspects of those stories!
And yet… there was also a feeling of “well, what do we have left to talk about now?” But that proved untrue, for there were still many mysteries which were not uncovered by Hyrule Historia and fans continue to this day debating some of those unsolved mysteries.
But the timeline–the official timeline–released by Nintendo? Here it is for your perusing pleasure!
Timeline translated by (and courtesy of) GlitterBerri.