Editorial: The Legend of Zelda Timeline

What ho Lusipurr.com minions! It is I, the all powerful and mighty Blitzmage! Today I have come to discuss a matter that has plagued the fans of a certain Nintendo franchise since the early 2000’s. To give everyone a little bit of backstory, The Legend of Zelda has had a long history of the timeline blues. Nintendo has proclaimed up and down that the Zelda timeline is “locked away” but that fans shouldn’t worry about such things.

The Legend of Zelda Series Logo
The Legend of Zelda Series Logo

So for many years hardcore fans of the series have looked for clues in each of the games to maybe try and piece together some semblance of a coherent timeline or storyline and, in 2006, the website GameTrailers produced a video presenting the ever popular “Split Timeline” theory. The theory states that two timelines were created when Zelda sent Link back into the past after they defeated Gannon at the end of Ocarina of Time. The timeline starts out with Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap, then after that is the legendary Ocarina of Time, then the theory states that the timeline spits with one of the lines being the time with Adult Link being sent back seven years and becoming Young Link again (Hyrule A) and the other being the one he left behind with Adult Zelda (Hyrule B). In the A timeline the next games are Majora’s Mask, Link’s Awakening, Original Legend of Zelda, Zelda II Four Swords Adventures, and A Link to the Past. In timeline B the only two games at the time of the videos release were theorized to be Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass. This then left three games out of the two timelines those games being Oracel of Seasons, Oracel of Time, and Twilight Princess; even though both of the Oracel games can’t be placed definitively in either of the timelines they do provide some proof of the “split timeline” theory.

The Legend Of Zelda Timeline
The Legend Of Zelda Timeline

Now flash forward five and a half years and three Zelda games later, Nintendo has decided to release an art book entitled “Hyrule Historia”. The book was released in Japan on 21st December 2011 for 3,255 Yen which equates to about Forty-One USD. Interestingly enough the once “locked away” timeline of the Zelda series was included in the art book… in Japanese. About a week later multiple Zelda fan sites start to receive translations of the timeline from one Joe Public. The Nintendo branded “Official Timeline” has the same basic set up as the Split Timeline theory with a few key differences. The first of two major differences is that the games on the timeline have been updated to include all the ones after the release of Twilight Princess, and the second difference is that instead of two universes created after Ocarina of Time there were three. Along with each of the games in chronological order each game and the time between them have been given an era name, for example the eras during the series newest release Skyward Sword are called “The Era of the Goddess Hylia” and “The Sky Era”. So here are the games as Nintendo has put them in the official timeline, first is Skyward Sword, second is Minish Cap, third is Four Swords and fourth is Ocarina of Time. Now after this the aforementioned three universes are created. The timeline breaks the three universes into two groups the first group being the split timeline theory with the Hyrule A&B and the second group is a single timeline in which Gannon defeats Adult Link in Ocarina of Time. So in Hyrule A, the one in which Link is sent back in time, the games are Majora’s Mask, Twilight Princess, and Four Swords Adventures. In Hyrule B, the one Adult Link was sent back from, the games include Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass, and Spirit Tracks. Now if you, the reader, has been paying attention the a great majority of the games are in this third timeline including the original Zelda’s for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The games in this timeline include A Link to the Past, The two Oracle of games, Link’s Awakening, the original Legend of Zelda and finally, Zelda II

WOW! Well with all that in mind it seems odd that a great deal of the Zelda games gamers have played have been in a timeline in which one of the most beloved characters in video games failed, but notice that most of those games came out well before Ocarina of Time and out of those games the only one that ever references the Hero of Time is Link to the Past. Really whoever had the god awful task of trying to make the early and spin-off Zelda games fit into a somewhat coherent timeline should be given a pay raise! But really should Nintendo have gone this long without publishing the timeline? Do you think they will release updated timelines when new games come out, or will they do the typical Nintendo thing and just not really say anything about it?


  1. Nintendo doesn’t have a timeline, and makes it up as they go along. That’s my firm belief. Anything they say about, ‘don’t worry, it’s locked in’, is just so much bluster from people who really haven’t a clue.

  2. Personally, I think they have a general idea of what happens when in the timeline, but in a sort of George Lucas-ey way lacking specifics (without, you know, being completely terrible).

  3. Blitzmage, you’re in the top contenders for “best first two sentences of a Lusipurr.com post.”

    I maintain that Link’s Awakening is the best Zelda game.

    The CD-i games are hilarious, but shouldn’t be mentioned in any serious discussion about Zelda.

    They DEFINITELY make it up as they go along, which is fine because they’re paying more attention to the quality and integrity of each game in itself (with the exception of Twilight Princess).

    Hopefully, a Mario timeline is forthcoming.

  4. @Rikki Those…. yeah…. no

    @MD Thanks!

    @EP Go read a reviews by “TheFallenSon”

  5. I’m mostly with Lusipurr here, though not entirely. I’m sure they’ve been working on this for as long as they say they have (along the way they mentioned OoT was first, TP was 100 years later or something), but I’m also quite sure that they have NO concern for the timeline when they make a new game. It’s likely they design the new game and half way through say, “Now how can we stick this in our convoluted timeline?” so they can add references here and there.

    I like the references to other games, but I’m not timeline obsessed. Because who cares? It was neat that Skyward Sword was explicitly an origin story, but I’m far more interested in it because it is a good game.

  6. I just started playing the non-terrible tacked on motion controls version of Twilight Princess. I got through the usual boring as hell first hour. And I got past the first kind of dumb wolf section (I thought he turned into a pink bunny? Retcon?). I had tried to go back to OoT, but holy hell does it look bad. Like I’m not even a graphics whore, but shit is it ugly. That, and I got lost and couldn’t find the Deku Tree, so I said screw it.

  7. @Ethos, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen something about Nintendo designing gameplay stuff first and coming up with a story afterwards? I think it was about Mario games though, but I consider story in Mario games (the RPG ones excepted) to be “Is there a skip button?” quality material.

  8. @ep I’ve read that on more than one occasion. Hence my opinion. And yeah, unless there’s Rosalina, I have no interest in a Mario cutscene. Peach’s ditzy, offensive “Mario?!?!” makes me want to punch babies in the face.

    Also, EVERY TIME something does “@ep”, I think they’re talking about me for a second. Even when I did it!

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