Breath of the Wild Added to Zelda's Ever-Evolving Timeline

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

At first glance, the many entries in the Legend of Zelda video game franchise seem connected by little more than familiar characters and a central quest. The setting might change, but the player always controls the elven adventurer Link, rescues Princess Zelda, and defeats the evil Ganon. Some entries were surmised to be sequels to one another, like Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask for the Nintendo 64, but Nintendo left the door open to explore alternate versions of Hyrule and Link; Super Nintendo's A Link to the Past established that Link was not a singular hero.

Theories always existed about the series' overarching timeline, but it wasn't until Nintendo released a series chronology in 2001 that there was any real official word on how the entries lined up. That timeline stated a single hero appeared in the games and that they took place in the following order: Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, A Link to the Past, Oracle of Ages, Oracle of Seasons, The Legend of Zelda, The Adventure of Link, and Link's Awakening.

This timeline is just the first of series' ever-evolving in-universe order. The currently definitive timeline can be found at Nintendo's Zelda portal site and in the Hyrule Historia encyclopedia. A recent interview by Famitsu with Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma and Breath of the Wild director Hidemaro Fujibayashi might illustrate this best. The pair were somewhat obtuse about Breath of the Wild's placement in the series. The Zelda portal site currently puts the game at the end of the timeline but with no direct connections to any other game entries or the now established three separate timelines that contain the other games.

In short, Breath of the Wild appears to be hovering in a placeholder position. Neither Aonuma or Fujibayashi would commit to which timeline the game takes place at the end of, and both jokingly stated that the official history changes, seemingly at the whim of the creators and what seems interesting.

Aonuma: Hyrule's history changes with time. When we think of the next game and what we want to do with it, we might think, “Oh, this'll fit well”, and place it neatly into the timeline, but sometimes we think, “Oh crap”, and have to change the placement. Actually, the decided history has been tweaked many times.

Where Breath of the Wild takes place canonically is still a mystery. It might take a few more Zelda games for the staff to fully establish it where in vast history of Hyrule this story takes place.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Switch game has sold 1,004,689 copies in Japan as of June 3. Nintendo revealed in April that as of March 31 the game has sold 8.48 million units for the Switch worldwide. The game won Game of the Year at the 35th Golden Joystick Awards ceremony in London last November, won Game of the Year at The Game Awards 2017 last December, and won Game of the Year at The SXSW Gaming Awards ceremony in March.

[Via Siliconera (Alistair Wong)]

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