UPDATED WITH GAME INFO REGARDING THE FINAL TIMELINE: An official Zelda Timeline has been released on December 23rd! in a book titeled Hyrule Historia. I have previewed a few pages and here is the official timeline:THIS IS THE CONFIRMED, OFFICIAL TIMELINE:
Skyward Sword, Minish Cap, Four Swords, Ocarina of Time
Child Timeline: Majoras Mask, Twilight Princess, Four Swords Adventures
Adult Timeline: Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks
New Timeline: A Link to the Past, Oracle Series, Links Awakening, Zelda 1, Zelda 2
The NEW TIMELINE Part suggest that there is a thrid split after Ocarina of Time, basically Link never interfering with Ganondorfs plans or failing on his quest, thus creating a new timeline.
I have read a lot of comments regarding the official timeline. Some are disappointed, others point out discrepancies between the games and how this game cant be there because of that. So once again I have taken the time to deconsturct everthing. So here we go:
Well, the game itself makes it pretty clear that it is the first in the series. However, that does not mean that there was nothing before it. As we all know, there was the Demise war before it AND the backstory to the Minish Cap. Also, since Impa appears and has the bleeding eye, there was something before it and that essentially caused the Shiekah betrayal. I guess the backstory to Minish Cap and Skyward Sword talk about the same war, so you can assume that the Minish aided Hylia and whoever was her chosen hero back then against demise. After all, Demise did say that some humans were still on earth when he attacked, they were hiding behind their goddess.
Eiji Aonuma stated years ago that this is the first Zelda in the series. Now this changed with Skyward Sword but it still comes before everything. And it makes sense, seeing as how there are no Monsters in Hyrule and they only appear after Vaati opens the sealed chest. Furthermore, the sky people are in this game so you can bet those are the people from Skyloft. They also possess the ability to walk on the clouds in this game, probably foreshadowing what is going to happen to them in a few centuries…
It was this game that Aonuma meant when he said it preceeded Ocarina of Time. Since it is a direct sequel to Minish Cap, this placement was also very obvious. If you have a 3DS or DSi download it from the eShop while it’s free, it is awesome, especially in Multiplayer!
Ocarina of Time:
Originally said to predate any other Zelda game, this game also sets the path for the rest of the Series. We learn that Link’s journey has three different outcomes:
- He defeats Ganondorf and is sent back in time to re-live his childhood. This timeline is the regular child timeline.
- The time he leaves behind becomes an alternate future, and this alternate future is known as the adult timeline.
- If Link is unsuccessful in his quest and murdered by Ganondorf, Ganondorf takes over creating what is known as the classics timeline.
The child timeline:
As a direct sequel to Ocarina of Time, this game has Link on his quest for Navi (why he would want her back is beyond me though). It is set shortly after Link returned to his time and warned the King about Ganondorfs plans. Sicne he now has the Triforce of courage symbol on his hand, the king believes him. Ganondorf is set to be executed while Link sets out on his quest.
However, since Link obtained the Triforce of courage, due to the destiny link created by Demise in Skyward Sword, the Triforce of Power manifests within Ganondorf. The execution fails, and instead he is banished into the Twilight realm, an ancient realm created centuries ago, probably by the civilisation that existed in the Backstory of both Minish Cap and Skyward Sword. There, Ganondorf returns with the aid of Zant.
Four Swords Adventures:
Now this game is really tricky, because it obviously follows Twilight Princess but it features elements from A Link to the Past. We learn that Ganondorf stole a magic trident and this trident turned him into the demon king Ganon. However, those are things that predate both A Link to the Past and the original Legend of Zelda, both games set in another reality. Also, the Dark world makes an appearance. BUT, and this is the crucial part, it is different than in A Link to the Past. Because in this Dark World, the people and objects are SHADOWS!
Now, remember in Twilight Princess Ganondorf managed to return to Hyrule with the help of Zant. He died standing in the Hyrule plains. But what if parts of him still remained in the Twilight realm. Remember, the sages banished him into the Twilight realm because he could not be killed. What if the Ganondorf that returned to Hyrule was only a body with the partial power of his real self. If this were the case, the real ganondorf would still have been trapped in the Twilight realm. And after Midna returned there, she probably began hunting him down, forcing him into hiding where he would eventually find the magic trident and take over the twilight realm, creating an alternate version of the classic Dark World. Then all of a sudden he could tear down the barriers between realities and free Vaati, just to manipulate and use him for his own benefit…
So after Link defeated Ganondorf and returned to his time, Ganondorf was banished into the Limbo by the seven sages. But since he had the Triforce of Power, he was able to break free and return. As a last resort, the goods flooded Hyrule. But Ganondorf survived and sought to bring it back to rule it. And this is where the Wind Waker begins.
As a direct sequel to Wind Waker, this game happens during Link’s travels with the pirate crew. However, the story is set in a mystical realm where time and space pass differently. It could be that this is the flooded version of Termina.
Eventually, Link and Zelda found a new Land where they setteled down. Little did they know that this land was already inhabited, and once a powerfull demon known as Mallaudus was impirsoned here.
Years passed by and a new Kingdom was established. And then the Spirit Tracks happened…
A Link to the Past:
The backstory to this game tells us what happened after Ganondorf brutally murdererd Link. He took over Hyrule and a war raged across the Land. In desperation, the seven sages banished him into the Sacred realm, which was transformed into the Dark World, similar to how the Twilight realm was transformed.
Centuries later, A Link to the Past began…
Oracle of Seasons and Ages:
I argued before WHY those games are where they are, and I will not repeat myself. It makes sense and it was obviously intended this way, since the real ending shows Link traveling on a sailboat. The triforce sent Link on his quest and we all know the Triforce was completed in A Link to the Past.
Originally a direct sequel to A Link to the Past, it begins as Link travels to Hyrule by boat. His boat is smashed in a storm and he crashes on Koholint.
The Power divided.
Sometime after Link’s Awakening, Ganons Minions got hold of the Triforce of Power and used it to bring back their Master. However after the loss of th Triforce of Power, the other two parts were seperated. The Triforce of courage was brought to a different place while the Triforce of wisdom stayed with Zelda. Ganons return was feared, so Zeldas brother demanded the Triforce of courage to face Ganon. zelda refused. Angrily, the brother seeked out the help of a scorcerer to get what he wants. Little did he know that the scorcerer worked for Ganon. Zelda was put into an eternal slumber and once the prince realized what had happened, he hid Zelda away for that she one day should re-awaken.
The original Legend of Zelda retroactively got a subtitle and this is it. Ganon managed to kidnap the latest incarnation of Zelda however, prior to that, she was able to split the Triforce of Wisdom and hid the parts throughout the Land. Impa sought out Link to defeat Ganon and restore the Triforce of Wisdom.
Adventure of Link:
After Link killed Ganondorf, Impa showed him the sleeping Zelda, the ancestor of the zelda he knew and tild him about the Triforce of Courage. Fearing Ganon could return since he was not slain by the legendary Master Sword, a weapon lost to time, he set out on a quest to find the Triforce of Courage. However, Ganons minions were after him, believing that with his blod, they could revive their Master. After an epic battle against Dark Link, the Tirforce of Courage was obtained and Ganon stayed dead.
So there you have it. This is the official Timeline with the official information on where the games are set with some additional theory by myself to iron out some plot holes. Have some more fun facts:
- The Master Sword rests in the Lost Woods. The Oracle games feature the master sword, but this appearance is just a bonus and NON CANON!
- Dark Link is not an individual, rather the dark spirit version of the current Link. They can either be summoned magically or exist in different realms.
- The story to Twilight Princess and the story to Four Swords Adventures originally were merged as ONE story for Four Swords Adventures. They were seperated late in development.
- The split Timeline was first mentioned during the development of Twilight Princess. It could be possible that the idea existed for longer though.
- Oracle of Seasons and Ages happens at the same time. The Triforce split Link in two during those adventures. Chronologically however, Seasons comes first. The ending you get when connecting the games is after Link merged again.
- It could be said that the Kumulans in Twilight Princess are what is left of the people of Skyloft. They devolved to birds, unaible to keep their own city afloat.
- The Wind Fish COULD be Levias from Skyward Sword. Levias has a habit of being plagued by parasites.