Game news The Legend of Zelda: where Breath of the Wild fits in the timeline
The Legend of Zelda is arguably one of the most iconic sagas in video game history, but if there’s one thing that stirs passions around it, it’s the series’ timeline. In this JV LORE, we invite you to come back to the chronology of Nintendo’s license, and in particular the placement of Breath of Wild inside.
A controversial timeline
The Zelda timeline has always been a fantasy dream for fans, desperate to build one, out of the blue, with the few bits and pieces to bridge the gaps between the different games. With the release of
Skyward Sword Nintendo has made the decision to set an official timeline for its action-adventure license. Skyward Sword is the very origin of the saga, setting up all the foundations of the universe, followed by The Minish Cap and Four Swords. For now, everything takes place on a single timeline. Ocarina of Time complicates the matter. This installment takes place a few millennia later in the timeline. At the end of the game, during the fight against Ganon, 3 paths open up: the one where Link loses, called the era of decline. Another, where Link wins and goes back to his time, which is called the Age of Shadows. Finally, there’s the one where Link left temporal continuity, as he returned to his own time after winning, leaving a world without a hero. This one is called the era of the Hero of the Wind and the New World (that one is tough, I grant you).
The Age of Decline depicts the events of A Link to the Past, Oracle of Ages/Seasons, Link’s Awakening, A Link Between Worlds, The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. The Age of Shadows is told in Majora’s Mask, Twilight Princess and Four Swords Adventures. Finally, that of the Hero of the Wind resumes the events of The Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass and The Spirit Tracks.
And Breath of the Wild in all this?
Breath of the Wildis a really special case. Eiji Aonuma, producer of the saga, said in the book The Creation of a Prodigy, that he did not want to position the game clearly in the timeline, so as not to eliminate the imagination of the players. Still, we can see from Nintendo’s official Japanese site that Breath of the Wild is at the end of all three timelines at the same time. Thus, it is the latest in this timeline, which makes sense given the many references to older games. We find for example the Piaf people from The Wind Waker or the Master Sword hidden in the Lost Wood as in A Link to the Past. Easter-eggs or not, these links are indeed present. According to Nintendo, the story of the founding of the Kingdom of Hyrule is so old that it is only a matter of myths from which we can no longer distinguish legend from historical fact. With this postulate, we can understand that Nintendo seems to want to start from scratch by building a new timeline that is more coherent than the previous one. As proof, Breath of the Wild may find itself at the end of the timeline, the game is completely separate from the others.
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