News Article

That Zelda Timeline Makes a Bit More Sense Now

Posted by James Newton

But not much more

Brace yourselves folks: your grey matter and perception of time is about to get seriously twisted. Again.

New Nintendo has a fuller translation of the Legend of Zelda timeline we posted the other day. This has been translated from the Hyrule Historia art book, but as usual remember it's a fan translation so don't take it as 100% gospel just yet.

Does this description clear some things up, or is it still a bit of a fuzzy mess?

We still prefer Dr. Emmett Brown's take on the timeline, mind you.

Branch 1: Link is defeated by Ganon in OoT.
Branch 2: Link comes back from the future in OoT and tells Zelda what’s going to happen, she sends him away.
Branch 3: There is no longer a hero in the future of OoT since Link was sent back.

After Link dies in Ocarina of Time, Ganon obtains the entire Triforce. The Seven Sages seal away Ganon and the whole Triforce as a last resort, but villains with their eyes on the Triforce make for the Sacred Realm, which eventually turns into the Dark World and is filled with evil power. The Seven Sages then try to seal away the Sacred Realm itself, but end up fighting with monsters. This is the Imprisoning War of A Link to the Past.

Untitled

Now, isn't that much clearer?

[via newnintendo.net, newnintendo.net]

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User Comments (95)

KaiserGX

#2

KaiserGX said:

I think you posted that wrong. It's OOT that splits not 4 Swords. Must be a spacing error.

James

#4

James said:

@KaiserGX Nope, looked perfect on my screen. Still, I've posted it as an image now instead of text so there's no confusion.

eviLaTtenDant

#6

eviLaTtenDant said:

I feel ashamed for supporting games that are based on the death of Link. I really should have known all that back when the first Zelda came out. It was so obvious all the time.

md1500

#8

md1500 said:

I found a site that explains it.
Link doesn't die - he just never returns to the original timeline.

http://www.gamezone.com/news/official-zelda-series-timeline-explained

when OOT's Link first pulls out the Master Sword and goes into the future, he actually travels to an alternate future universe, disapearing from his original universe forever. This "original universe" timeline continues on witout OOT's Link to defeat Ganon, who is instead trapped by the seven sages, setting up the events of Link to the Past.

JayArr

#10

JayArr said:

1 dai a gurl name Zelda iz kidnappd by dude named Ganon
Her bf Link sez "I sav u bbz"
He travl in time to helpz
Zelda say "Link uze Tri Force"
Link sez "No"
Ganon stab Link in bak and he blud goz errywher. < ///////3
Link wisper "I wantd uze Tri Love for yu bbz"
Link diez and fail quest. ;____;

xXx Like dis if U cry evrytime. xXx

KaiserGX

#13

KaiserGX said:

Link does die... it's in the translation for the book.

Also why that is wrong is because he didn't travel in time the first time. He was put to sleep for 7 years. If he did disappear the Master Sword would have gone with him (but it exists in Link to the Past). LttP's back story was that (at the time) there was no hero worthy of using the Master Sword. A lot of the knights died in battle against Ganon. Link was one of them.

This means Link would have had to pull the Master Sword first so Ganondorf would even be able to get the Triforce.
So it was the future Link that failed. Ganon received the WHOLE Triforce in that game. Having killed Link he took his piece then went for Zelda's.

Portista

#14

Portista said:

Ok, that makes alot more sense now! Much more than that back to the future link you tube video.

KaiserGX

#15

KaiserGX said:

I also want to add. The Master Sword didn't cause the split. The Gate of Time and Master Sword were both designed so you could time travel freely back and forth. Things you do in the past changed the present.

It was when Zelda sent Link back with the Ocarina that caused the split. So Link dying is an alternate outcome not really a split but comes from the Adult ending.

JarredBuzzo

#16

JarredBuzzo said:

So Link kills Ganondorf and this leads to Majora's Mask and TP then ultimately Four Swords adventures (that makes sense)...but Spirit Tracks is ultimately the result of....what? lol Is it Link going back in time before beating Ganondorf in OoT? Or is that what leads to Adventure of Link?

KaiserGX

#17

KaiserGX said:

Link doesn't kill Ganondorf. Zelda sends him back in time when he first meets Zelda. They warn the King about Ganondorf's plan. They try to execute him but fail and send to the Twilight Realm. Then it's Majora's Mask, Twilight Princess, Four Swords Adventures.

Since Zelda sent Link back in time. The future timeline were Link defeated Ganondorf and was sealed. Link lo longer exists there. So when Ganondorf escapes the seal eventually, there is no one to fight him. So the Gods have to Flood Hyrule to protect the Triforce. This is Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks.

skywake

#18

skywake said:

... and the Link dies timeline is the bit after a Game Over screen in OoT ;)

Kosmo

#19

Kosmo said:

This is still very hard to believe. Especially the bit about Link dying. He is the hero! He can't die, or fail. It is his destiny to fight and win.
The timeline split is already hard to believe, so, a dead Link... meh...

KaiserGX

#20

KaiserGX said:

I don't know how it's hard to believe when both Wind Waker and Twilight Princess confirm it from both sides of the split. They did fail in LttP though that's why they had to seal Ganon. There was no hero found to wield the Sword. Actually he fails again in OOT because he wasn't there so it had to become flooded by the Gods. Link also failed to find Navi in Majora's Mask.

Arthedain

#21

Arthedain said:

I was a bit harsh in my comment in the previous thread. This actually makes sense to me now (as much as it can, I guess).

kirby95

#24

kirby95 said:

How does that work? Aside from seeing game over, there is no instance in the game where Link dies.

KaiserGX

#25

KaiserGX said:

There is no hero in the Imprisoning War for LttP. If OOT is going to work as the bases for the 3 timelines he needs to be DEAD.

Einherjar

#26

Einherjar said:

So, according to the site md1500 linked to:
Link to the past, the oracle games, awakening, the original zelda and links adventure ALL happend in the 7 years OoT Link was sealed after he pulled out the master sword ? Because i dont know how that shoud trigger an ulternate universe...
So, the thing is: When Link puts away the master sword and travels back in tie at the end of OoT he actually was NEVER sealed, setting up the majoras mask branch, while the future timeline he WAS in in OoT continues to the wind waker branch ?
I still dont get why sealing link away could start a new timeline (the ALttP one) You see what happend after the 7 years, why would he be on a different timeline ? He was just "sleeping" while ganon took over hyrule (as seen in OoTs future timeline...)
And i thought Chrono Trigger/Cross was complicated....heck, even DBZ explained the "Trunks timetravel / parallel universe" thing better :P

NX01Trekkie1992

#27

NX01Trekkie1992 said:

that's the whole issue though, OoT is NOT the imprisoning war, it was originally SUPPOSED to be, but they retconned it with FSA. I still call bull

Aqueous

#28

Aqueous said:

Hurray, it's a fan translation. That makes it as good as everyone else's. Now I can get some sleep

eviLaTtenDant

#33

eviLaTtenDant said:

Wait, now where does it explain how Fi was reborn as Ezio who was reborn as Navi a) who was reborn as Tatl who was reborn as Midna b) who was reborn as Ciela ? :O

JarredBuzzo

#36

JarredBuzzo said:

ok....I guess it makes sense considering Link doesn't actually kill Ganondorf in OoT, they just seal him off. Meh, sounds cool, but one has to wonder if before Skyward Sword something else occurred that dealt with Link and whoever the foe may be. Considering some of the creatures on the "ground" know what humans are whilst others seemed to be puzzled by their existence seems to imply there was interaction between the groups before the events outlined in Skyward Sword. One could posit that these events are what lead to the split between the two worlds and created what was known as Skyloft in the game (SS). Surely there has to be some reason to tell this tale ;)

zelda42293

#37

zelda42293 said:

I was a bit skeptical on this timeline at first, but when I read about the timeline where Link dies, and how it occurs, it actually kinda makes sense.

Shworange

#38

Shworange said:

Are they perhaps going to make a Zelda game that takes place right after OoT in which you (link) is indeed killed? Perhaps then his son (Link Jr) takes up the master sword and continues, thus showing the ancestral lineage continues?... Enter Zelda HD!!!!

aaronsullivan

#39

aaronsullivan said:

I don't get certain parts of this and I haven't played Skyward Sword yet. On top of this I never thought a timeline was even remotely necessary. It's just a legend being told over and over in different ways.

However, Wind Waker really tried to be connected to OOT and that did intrigue me and the connection resonated with me making the finale stronger.

On top of that, this alternate timeline set of games really kind of works and it makes it a pretty cool set of stories and adds some depth to the different types of directions the game has headed. I also like that the first two games are at the end of one timeline.

Very nice. Will be even more fun when it becomes clearer, I think. I bet all the Zelda fan sites are scrambling like crazy for a definitive timeline at this point. Fun. :)

Ashflow

#40

Ashflow said:

I think that when this is officially confirmed I'm going to have to die fighting Ganon in Ocarina of Time... just to see the Game Over screen that leads to over a third of the series.
Also, anyone else think that when you finally get to play some of these games you'll look at them a bit differently now?

Mikau94

#41

Mikau94 said:

It makes sense, but where do Wand of Gamelon, Faces of Evil and Zelda's Adventure fit in? :)

DarkLloyd

#43

DarkLloyd said:

so your implying that link after being sent back in time from future oot goes on some other secret mission from zelda in majoras mask which ganondorf was still free then in that time which caused him to get killed by some other force which leads to Twilight princess

are you then telling me that LINK is the same link from oot to majoras mask to twilight princess O.O?

if its one thing to be confused about if all of those other forces of good beside the sages were in the same universe just where the hell were they during the whole oot mess :P

DarkLloyd

#44

DarkLloyd said:

and ladies and gentlement prepare to be Mind Blown by Zelda WiiU god knows where that is in the timeline of a mess lol

jkshaz

#45

jkshaz said:

meh....I was never too hung up on a connection between all the games. If Big N wants to pretend like they were all along trying to create a cohesive story amongst all the games I'll go with it. I can buy most of the justification for the way this suggest it is split up. Though truthfully I always took these games as separate legends each entry (with the obvious exception of those that clearly took place in the same space).

The_Fox

#46

The_Fox said:

Nintendo would save people a sh*tload of trouble by just admitting that there is no timeline.

Hokori

#47

Hokori said:

where do the Tingle games fit in? :( Tingle's Balloon Fit is obviously the 1st game in the series

retro_player_22

#53

retro_player_22 said:

Where does the Zelda Game and Watch fit? Yes there is a Zelda Game and Watch game, yes it does have a plot, and yes it was made by Nintendo (not like the crappy CD-I games).

AVahne

#54

AVahne said:

Oh so that's what it is. Makes sense, so sealing the entire Triforce away along with Ganon was a last resort.

AVahne

#55

AVahne said:

@ BlackFira
Read, Link tells Zelda everything that happens in the future, who then tells her father, who then has Ganondorf arrested. If you played Twilight Princess and watched the beginning (actually, I think it was just one of the cutscenes showing what had happened to Ganondorf before TP), you'd know that Ganondorf was arrested and was going to be executed, but was instead sealed away many years before the events of Twilight Princess. The same Link from OoT is in Majora's Mask, and I bet the "secret mission" is just Link's personal quest to find his friend who left him after he fulfilled his destiny as the hero (Navi).

MasterGraveheart

#56

MasterGraveheart said:

So, by beating Ganon in Ocarina of Time, does this mean we're effectvely erasing the oldest and most classic Zelda games from continuity? :O

KaiserGX

#58

KaiserGX said:

@RedLink The Civil War was the battle for the Triforce when people first herd of it's existence.

@Retro Player The Zelda CDi game is just a port of the Legend of Zelda.

bro2dragons

#59

bro2dragons said:

Disappointed.

I mean, it makes sense... but what bothers me with this is that the "Link dies" branch is more of a "what if?" scenario than one that actually happened. The games ending is Link defeating Ganon and being sent back in time, obviously causing a split timeline. The third, by the game's ending never actually occured, and only in a quantum mechanics parallel multiverse sort of way does that ever "happen" and the other games follow. I guess I just hoped Nintendo wouldn't resort to that and would stick to a story of Hyrule's ACTUAL history, not its theoretical or "potentially alternate" history.

KaiserGX

#60

KaiserGX said:

The 2D games were the original canon. There was a time when the game OoT didn't exist. So there was just one canon with no Link in the Imprisoning War and that was it. It's only in 1998, with OoT's release, that a new canon started with a Link emerging as a victorious hero in the previously known events. It's like Nintendo said, "Hey what if there was a Link in the Imprisoning War after all??" So the 3rd timeline isn't a what-if, it's just the original timeline. The two other timelines are the what-ifs.

RaylaxStaff

#61

Raylax said:

I love this timeline now that I understand it.

One small thing though, how come Link dying counts as an alternate continuity in Ocarina of Time, but Link dying in every other game doesn't?

ShinRPGGamer

#62

ShinRPGGamer said:

"Clicks link."
"Reads article."
"Thinks about it..."
"...Still makes no sense."
"Gives up for good"

yoyogamer

#64

yoyogamer said:

Confirmed! If you die as Adult Link in Ocarina of time 3D, the game over screen appears. Wait for about 3 hours, and a cut-seen will play that sets the events for A Link To the Past. It all makes sense!

grumblegrumble

#65

grumblegrumble said:

Oy! So confusing!! Nintendo really needs to start focusing on where stories fit in and how. I know that this timeline was never thought up when they made all these individual games so it's just a 'convenient' way to explain them all. I think it's just pure rubbish. Sorry to say.

pntjr

#66

pntjr said:

After looking at the picture, NOW it makes sense. Jeez, Nintendo could sell a whole textbook on the history of hyrule! This is complicated stuff.

QUESTION: If Link dies, I don't understand how ALttP can come! WTF?

CapnKael

#67

CapnKael said:

Confirmed. Amazing!

I don't understand how people struggle to understand this. All three splits happen in OoT.

Split 1: Link defeats Ganon in the future. When he travels back to the past, he tells Zelda everything, they get Ganondorf arrested before he can do anything. This leads to Twilight Princess, yadda yadda.

Split 2: After Link leaves the future in OoT after defeating and sealing Ganon, Zelda and the rest of Hyrule begin to pick up the pieces of the kingdom. Some time later, Ganon breaks free from the seal, there in no hero because Link left, the gods intervene and flood, etc etc.

Split 3: During what i assume is the final battle with Ganon, Link is killed. Ganon claims the triforce and in a last resort the sages seal him without having a hero to weaken him first. With the Triforce, Ganon is able to take over the Sacred Realm, leading into aLttP.

Those of you saying that there is no part of OoT where Link dies... well, of course. Because that would mean that the game ends. However, the idea of Link dying (as much as I or anybody else may not like it) makes the transistion from OoT to aLttP make so much sense.

I feel that this official timeline is pretty easy to understand and joins all the games together better than any fan made timeline. Nintendo releasing a timeline was something I dreaded because i always assumed they'd haphazardly throw the games together in a way that would make no sense, but this is awesome.

KaiserGX

#68

KaiserGX said:

@grumblegrumble the games themselves tell you how the stories fit. Each game has been a prequel or sequel to a previous game, mentioning something from them.

C-195

#69

C-195 said:

This is pretty straight forward to me, and it also confirms Ganon's return (He was only sealed away in the Four Sword, so he should break out eventually). I can't believe I didn't think of a third timeline.

sc100

#70

sc100 said:

Now that a third timeline (the "Link fails" one) has been confirmed we need a new game for it. The other timelines have been getting all the love for the last decade or so. I'd still love to see a sequel to Zelda 2.

sc100

#71

sc100 said:

I understand the rationale behind the third timeline and how it connects the games but I'm trying to understand if it's a purely hypothetical "what if" scenario (Link wasn't actually killed by Ganon but this is what would have happened if he had been...) or if a certain timesplit in OOT caused it, such as when Link traveled through time or was in the Chamber of Sages (which is outside of time, right?) I think either option works but I like better the idea of the third timeline actually having been created (within the OOT storyline) rather than the whole timeline being a hypothetical scenario.

Gamesake

#72

Gamesake said:

Thanks to reincarnation and multiple time lines (Marvel Comics would be proud), Nintendo can keep making the same game over and over again.

But I need more. It's time to explore a fourth time line. What happens when Link II fails to defeat Vaati?

eviLaTtenDant

#73

eviLaTtenDant said:

See people everytime there's a long cold silence at family dinners just bring up the timeline and enjoy the neverending discussion. Better make sure to have enough food though since otherwise you might starve halfway through.

FluttershyGuy

#74

FluttershyGuy said:

Hmmmm, strange. You could almost say the "7 years later" version of Hyrule where Ganon has killed Link (and presumably Zelda since he completes the Triforce) is marginally better off than the one where Ganon is defeated. I guess it's a coin flip, but the Ganon wins version is ALttP's Dark World, and Link wins version is eventually flooded! What you can say is "seven years later" Hyrule is screwed either way! :P

One thing I thought of in the Ganon wins timeline: Link must defeat Ganondorf, then lose to the transformed pig Ganon. It's Ganon you face at the end of ALttP, and this is the same Ganon from OoT. So, that kind of tells me at what point Link dies (and he had Navi for this battle... what the bleep, "Hero of Time"???).

I've come across another explanation I'd hoped would be the case instead, that when Link uses the Ocarina of Time the first time to return to past, that creates the third "Ganon wins" timeline because the Hero of Time just disappears in this alternate reality (kind of like when he's sent back by Zelda after beating Ganon). Problem with that is it doesn't explain Ganon completing the Triforce. I guess you have to kill the owner to gain one of the pieces?

I am confused about something, if anybody has any answers. At what point does the Light World version of Hyrule come into existance? The Dark World of ALttP IS OoT's Hyrule! I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Help is appreciated!

At this point, with two out of three outcomes negative, can we still call him the Hero of Time? How about Scapegoat of Time?

Gamesake

#75

Gamesake said:

@FluttershyGuy Ganon doesn't kill OoT Zelda. With Link out of the way, they get married and have the ugly moblin children that populate the dark world.

DarkLloyd

#78

DarkLloyd said:

@55. Koto

ah that makes sense you just made twilight princess more cooler to me now :P lol

akacesfan

#80

akacesfan said:

No... I'm still confused. Honestly, I don't care about the timeline, I just want to enjoy the games.

Sonicman

#81

Sonicman said:

Makes perfect sense to me, I say it's 99.99999...% accurate :). (Sorry I disappeared, I've been caught up with Ambassador games :P.

drumsandperc92

#83

drumsandperc92 said:

ive always loved the games & how they connect, seeing the different places recurring (such as temple of time) and everything.
This timeline makes a lot of sense except for one thing (and bear with me, it's been a while since ive played the first 2 zelda games)...what about the sleeping zelda?
wasn't the legend that the sleeping zelda in Adventure of Link the original Zelda? the very first princess zelda whom all other princesses are named after? and isn't that zelda supposedly then the very same zelda as in skyward sword?
If so, it just looks like those two zelda games are way late in the timeline..obviously it makes sense since they came after the imprisoning war & everything, but it just makes you think, where is that sleeping zelda during all those other games?
Oh yeah, and i didn't beat skyward sword yet, so i don't know how it ends but i read something about POSSIBLE SPOILER!
****zelda sacrificing herself? so is that how she's put to sleep?****
Otherwise this timeline sounds great.
There is plenty of room for a game to come before skyward sword, but if that's the first zelda i imagine then we might need a different princess, or simply feature hylia as the main female instead of zelda.

Kisame83

#84

Kisame83 said:

The only thing that throws me is that there was once a two timeline theory. The Link dies thing seems like a retcon tossed in (so it's a little weird that people are saying hey it happened in OoT all along!). I remember when OoT was fresh and it's makers said it was meant to show the Imprisoning War. Meaning the absence of a hero and corruption of the sacred realm was the span where Link was sealed for 7 yrs. After he awakens, under direction of Zelda (essentially) he gathers the seven sages and they seal away Ganon.

I assumed that we have no hero and a sleeping master sword because no one but Zelda (who operated mostly incognito) and the sages would really know Link's involvement. And he doesn't stick around to party and get a statue- he puts the sword back to sleep and leaves that timeline (leading to Major's Mask and such). And it is hard to treat the legend told in ALttP as sacrosanct, since it references the king and his knights. On the one hand, OoT doesn't contradict the death of most Hylian knights, because...they certainly seem to be gone when Link emerges. Second, if we are taking OoT as the basis here then, Link dead or alive I have a hard time believing the King of Hyrule ordered jack squat after Ganon emerged from the sacred realm. I personally always treated that legend as, well, a legend- which changes over the ages as more people tell and interpret it (for example, the King's daughter and a Hylian warrior gather the sages and many yrs later people just say the king order his knights to do it).

My 2 cents anyway, which don't amount to much :)

Highwinter

#85

Highwinter said:

The third timeline really ruins it for me, it comes from no where and makes no sense. It isn't created by a logical paradox, like the young Link/Old Link thing, it's completely arbitrary.

If alternate outcomes can just occur randomly, what's to say the next game isn't a continuation of Windwaker Link dying? Or not bothering to get up in the morning? It makes the timeline completely inconsequential, because there could be millions of alternate realities now and any game can potentially fit anywhere.

Noire

#86

Noire said:

It makes the timeline completely inconsequential

You ever think maybe that's why they're doing this? :D

The best thing that has, is, or ever will come out of this timeline nonsense is a thousand butthurt fans whining about how their timeline is better somehow because it might work if they just made this game somewhere and put it right here so the timeline would work.

JGMR

#89

JGMR said:

I just got a funny feeling that Nintendo created a mess (by making these games fit a timeline) which they cannot escape from. LOL.

Dynetheous

#90

Dynetheous said:

i understood all of this before, the i was trying to read this article and it made me all confused :( , i stick to what i knew before reading this

wanderlustwarrior

#91

wanderlustwarrior said:

So the first game in the series is one of the chronologically most recent games in one of three paths?

Ow.

Red X is Jason Todd. Got it.

Sgt_Ludby

#92

Sgt_Ludby said:

Copenhagen interpreted everything wrong!! String Theory is proven correct!! hahah It appears that reality really does exists as a multiverse, with every single probability playing itself out in its own unique universe. It all makes sense. Nintendo is just utilizing the three major possibilities that resulted from Ocarina of Time, choosing one of those three universes to use as the setting for the games that chronologically follow. There must be a physicist or two working for Nintendo =P

Ian_Daemon

#93

Ian_Daemon said:

So, you need to be a "Sliders" aficionado to understand all this? XD

M theory it is, then.

Cia

#94

Cia said:

@87
Wrong. In OOT, Ganondorf does not die, but is sealed away.

Sgt_Ludby

#95

Sgt_Ludby said:

@94 Hahahah exactly! Man, Nintendo deserves a Nobel in physics for this timeline!

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