The Zelda timeline has been something that Nintendo nerds and Zelda fanboys alike have argued over for years upon years. And to add fuel to the flames Zelda producer and director Eiji Aonuma came out and claimed that the franchise did in fact follow a heavily guarded timeline, though it was a secret that only Nintendo knew. Well, it’s been a few years since that quote was first spoken, and here we are at the end of the 25th anniversary of the series now bestowed upon with the official timeline, brought to you by Nintendo’s official Zelda artbook.
Nintendo reveals the official Legend of Zelda timeline, which expains the multiple Link’s, Zelda’s, Ganon revivals, and the branched off future’s:
Seen and explained for the first time in the release of the official Nintendo 25th anniversary Legend of Zelda artbook, the timelines is finally revealed! As illustrated above by x7razorback7x (of RB – World of Photoshop), here we see how Skyward Sword is the very first entry in the Zelda mythos, which isn’t a surprise if you’ve finished the game which explains (not really spoilers) why Link, Zelda, and Ganon are forever tied throughout history.
Our Hero is Unsuccessful
From there the Minish Cap is our next major stop, again not a surprise for those who’ve played the game, which explains the origin of Link’s green outfit. But where it gets interesting is when our timelines splits and branches out into three different times because of the actions of one very monumental game, Ocarina of Time; If Link is defeated then the events of the original NES and SNES games play out, which if you think about it does make sense considering the world is in pieces at the beginning of those games.
Our Hero is Successful
The second branch occurs when Link is successful against Ganondorf and returns back to his age as a child, in effect leaving the future period (where he was when he was Adult Link) without a hero to watch over the realm. This child Link then goes onto save the world again from the falling moon in Majora’s Mask, and his descendents play the roles in Twilight Princess and the Four Swords Adventure.
Our Hero Doesn’t Return
However, the grim future unprotected by any Link whatsoever has to look elsewhere for a champion, and so the events of Wind Waker unfold where the Godesses themselves had to flood the world of Hyrule to protect its inhabitants. A younger Link has to take on the responsibility of saving the world alongside the blood relative of our ancient ocarina wielding Zelda, who is now Terra the pirate.
It all actually comes together nice and neat when all things are considering, though it’s a little more messier than we all first thought.
I also added this magnifiscent and beautifully orchestrated tune played by Zelda’s own symphony which plays during the credits of Skyward Sword to keep you company.