Anyway, on topic.
For years now, Zelda fans have speculated about the chronology of the games in the Legend of Zelda series. This certainly has not been easy, considering the number of contradictions, characters of the same name, and most confusingly the concept of time travel, that are all present in the games. Many fans have also been frustrated with Nintendo's activeness to not reveal the definitive timeline, and only giving us possibilities of what it could be.
Well, it seems that will no longer be the case.
Nintendo have recently released the Zelda art and factbook, Hyrule Historia, in Japan. Several sites have managed to translate the book to find information that I'm sure any Zelda fan will find interesting.
|image property of Kotaku:|
Ever since the release of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, many have theorised about the possibility of there being split timelines. At the game's finale, Link has defeated Ganondorf in Hyrule's ruined future, and is sent back in time to prevent Ganondorf's conquest of the land from ever happening. This has led many fans to believe that there were two parallel timelines in Hyrule's history in the games: one in which Ganondorf never conquered Hyrule due to Link's intervention, and one in which Ganondorf did reign over the land but was defeated. These timelines are shown by the middle and far right splits, respectively.
However, this theory always led to complications. Yes, it made sense for the main console series games that followed OoT (Majora's Mask, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Link's DS outings fit into these split timelines nicely) but some of the older and later games did not.
Nintendo has revealed the presence of a third timeline in the series' chronology, shown on the far right of the image. This timeline represents the path Hyrule's history would have taken if Link actually failed to defeat Ganondorf in OoT. I have to admit, this concept never came to me until today, as I (like many others) only considered the possibility of the two previously discussed timelines. However, it makes a lot of sense when you think about it.
The first game that takes place in a time when Ganondorf was defeated by Link in OoT is The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. In this game, Hyrule has been flooded and has become The Great Sea. Link defeats a resurrected Ganondorf in Hyrule and leaves both The King of Evil and Hyrule to remain underwater forever. In all games following Wind Waker, Hyrule is submerged, never to be seen again as it once was. There's no way that A link to the Past and the games following it could take place in this timeline.
Then, we have the timeline in which Ganondorf never rose to power and the events of OoT are prevented by Link. In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, the game ends with Ganondorf being fatally struck by Link's Master Sword. Although Ganondorf's true fate is not disclosed in the game (something I'm sure Nintendo will exploit for a future release) it seems safe to assume that he was truly vanquished. Again, A link to the Past and its followers can't have taken place in this timeline.
This leaves us with the third timeline, in which Ganondorf was never defeated by Link himself. In the prologue of A Link to the Past, Ganondorf was defeated and sealed by the Seven Wise Men, with the help of the Hylian Knights, NOT by Link. It can be assumed that Ganondorf's original defeat in ths timeline is after the events of OoT, which means that this timeline is very plausible.
All in all, this revelation on Nintendo's part will likely lead to even more speculation both now and in the future of the series.
Until next time,