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Zelda's entire timeline was created retroactively, right? Surely Nintendo didn't have either a grand plan or even a plan for each game?

Shut0wen

Member
The third split with the failed hero timeline definitely came out of nowhere, but the original split of child and adult timeline was 100% established well before they released Hyrule Historia. It is directly brought up in the story of The Wind Waker if you just play the game. Remember, after OoT we had MM which was clearly following the events of child Link after he returned to the past, while even the ending credits of Ocarina clearly depicted there being a separate adult timeline in which the people of Hyrule celebrated the defeat of Ganon and the Sages watched over them.
So, when Wind Waker came out after MM, it states right from the beginning the events of Ocarina of Time and Link's victory over Ganon, which only happened in the adult timeline. So, by Wind Waker's release, we canonically had two games that each followed a different timeline, both of which had been depicted in the end of Ocarina of Time.

This was not constructed by fans or to appease to them. This was knowingly done by Nintendo. Now, I would argue that most likely, it was done more out of convenience than in an attempt to actually deepen their lore or such; but that does not change the fact that both logically inevitable timelines were introduced, acknowledged and used by Nintendo, which in turn fired up fan theories and speculation - not the other way around.


This is where you are right.


This is where you are wrong. It doesn't matter if Nintendo had the entire timeline planned out from the very start - which they obviously didn't, because how would you even plan out a timeline for games and stories you have not yet even created. But to state that they don't care about their timeline at all is just plain wrong and there is plenty of evidence for that.

First of all, they always made connection efforts. Always. The first two games were connected, and ALttP, effectively rebooting the series, was declared a prequel so that it would make some kind of sense. Then, Ocarina of Time was effectively a remake of ALttP and a reboot in a sense, and in order for that to not directly contradict the other games, they presented it as a prequel again because it fit the descriptions of ALttP's intro's sealing war. It was also an origin story for Link's iconic look.
In the following games, they cared about their latest achievements with OoT more than with what came before it, so they concentrated on that groundwork and treated it as a clean slate and made the stories afterwards work in context to it. Most if not all of the following games had a kind of clear understanding of how they related to the events of Ocarina of Time as an origin point and worked with that.
Finally, with Hyrule Historia, they published their official timeline and introduced a third timeline split in order to get rid of the "inconvenient" games that had no such clear placement or which' plots were too ambigous to work for the overarching story, so they shoved all of that into their separate realm as to not having to inconvenience themselves with these games and their narratives any longer, but still have the freedom to draw from them should they ever need to.
Now, with Breath of the Wild, they pretty much reset things again to start off of a clean slate, similar to how things started over with Ocarina of Time. But still, they didn't say "This is a new Zelda game, everything before doesn't matter", but just pushed it 10.000 years into the future and were done with it. It was convenient and they consciously left it ambigous how the game is placed in the timeline, because they don't want to feel limited in what they can do, storywise, with the new games. And now, BOTW2 is in the works, and yet again, it's clearly a sequel to BOTW. So, they always made connections as far as they served their goals with the narrative, but decided to not shackle themselves to having everything being a precisely placed tile in a narrative mosaic. But they do care enough about connections and timelines to put effort into connecting the games somewhat, and I fail to see why so many people seem to struggle with admitting that. The whole "Nintendo had no timeline plans whatsoever and pulls everything out of their ass each time they make a game" crowd is much more annoying imho than the timeliner and theorizer pack of fans, because they just seem ignorant of both things happening outside and inside of the games.
Nintendo confirmed there was a timeline in 2003, like i said they announced it for damage control over wind waker, everything after that has fitted into the timeline, everything before then was never planned but Nintendo seemed to make it work, thats why there's lots of things incorrect about the timeline that wasnt added there for yameplay purposes
 

Woopah

Member
It was publicly announced when WW was near enough finished


Again this was stop fan hate of WW for at the time fans slated it because of the art style so nintendo made up a whole timeline, there is no way in hell nintendo had conceived this plan from the very start, i love ninte do but they really dont give a shit about there consumers never mind a timeline
Your Google link doesn't have anything related to Wind Waker. What exactly are you refering to?

Again, the games being connected together long long before the Wind Waker. The official timeline released in 2011 certainly how to employ some retcons to try and make everything work, but we had plenty of examples of games being connected before then:
  • Zelda II is a direct sequel to the original Zelda, featuring the same Link and set several years later
  • Ocarina of Time was originally intended to be a story of the Imprisoning War talked about in Link to the Past (although the final story they ended up with meant it didn't quite make sense as a LttP prequel)
  • Majora's Mask is set after the Child Ending of Ocarina of Time and features the same Link
Wind Waker's storyline is dependent on the events of Ocarina of Time and directly references it several times. Its not something that Nintendo just added in later.
 
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Shut0wen

Member
Your Google link doesn't have anything related to Wind Waker. What exactly are you refering to?

Again, the games being connected together long long before the Wind Waker. The official timeline released in 2011 certainly how to employ some retcons to try and make everything work, but we had plenty of examples of games being connected before then:
  • Zelda II is a direct sequel to the original Zelda, featuring the same Link and set several years later
  • Ocarina of Time was originally intended to be a story of the Imprisoning War talked about in Link to the Past (although the final story they ended up with meant it didn't quite make sense as a LttP prequel)
  • Majora's Mask is set after the Child Ending of Ocarina of Time and features the same Link
Wind Waker's storyline is dependent on the events of Ocarina of Time and directly references it several times. Its not something that Nintendo just added in later.
Nintendo announced that there was a timeline in 2003 every other game thats came out since wind waker has tried to connect the timeline so that it makes sense, before hand there was no timeline other then zelda 2 being connected
 
It was clearly a recurring myth motif that is revisited with a new vision for each game. Of course nerds and fanboys had to try to put everything in a neat little box and force some kind of nonsensical timeline, so Nintendo just rolled with it.
 
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Woopah

Member
Nintendo announced that there was a timeline in 2003 every other game thats came out since wind waker has tried to connect the timeline so that it makes sense, before hand there was no timeline other then zelda 2 being connected

The bolded part of your statement is simply not true. Ocarina of Time was written as a prequel to A Link to the Past. Majora's Mask is a direct sequel to Ocarina of Time. Zelda and Zelda 2 were not the only connected games.

The Wind Waker wasn't the first time that Nintendo spoke about the games being connected. It was the first time they confirmed the existence of the split timeline, so maybe that is what you are thinking of?
 
Zelda's timeline was created from the beginning.

Easy to follow if you're paying attention.

The timeline was created AFTER ocarina of time (game number 5) more than 20 years ago and since the beginning every game had an order too. Zelda 1(legend of Zelda) and Zelda 2(Adventure of link) are at the end of the hero defeated timeline and were advertised as a sequel, Zelda 3 (a Link to the past) was advertised as a prequel to Zelda 1 back in the SNES era and Zelda 4(link's awakening) was advertised as a sequel to a Link to the past. Zelda 5 ( ocarina) was advertised as prequel to the whole franchise. And after that they created the different timelines for wind waker and twilight princess. So Nintendo didn't just put everything together from their asses.

Obviously the timeline was not created from day 1, but almost every main game had a place advertised from the beginning. Now is perfect because they can put games between games and now they do care more than before, that's why we have Skyward sword. Not the most coherent or perfect timeline, but for a franchise with more than 3 timelines and They did pretty good.

Btw a lot of the games are direct, for example wind waker is after ocarina of time ( even the intro tells you) then you have phantom hourglass with the same Link and then you have spirit track in the same world years after. A link to the past, oracle games and link's awakening all have the same Link. Ocarina of time and Majora's mask have the same Link. So when people tell you none of the games have connection, they don't know shit.
I love Zelda games but thought the timeline was stupid and retroactively applied... Until I saw this. It seems to be a mix of retroactive and proactive explanations of the various outcomes and young vs old link. Doesn't seem as stupid as I first thought.

As for it being the same story over and over...

Star wars anyone?
Matrix anyone?
Terminator series?

Lots of stories are just history repeating itself.
 

OldBoyGamer

Member
Personally i give a lot of credit to the team that came up with that timeline. Was genius to think of the three way split as a solution.
as has been pointed out above, my understanding is also that thy didn’t really consider a structure to the timeline in terms of progression of events until after OOT. At which point the success of the series really exploded and then the internet was invented and the pressure forced them to retcon a proper timeline.

it looks to me that it took them years to finally find that solution and agree to make it public. But as i said, I really like the solution. Was a tough problem to solve. It may not seem like it to some with hindsight ‘duh. Just make a threeway split timeline. How hard is that.’ But I’ll hand wave that away as someone who just doesn’t appreciate how hard these things can be when you’re talking about a major world renowned franchise that comes under so much scrutiny.

also. Anyone saying ‘it’s the same game‘ needs to read up on storys that share the same story beats. Star wars is a really good example. (and no I’m not defending the prequels or the sequels. I’m just saying they have the same story beats by design). but IMO, zelda uses the same story beats almost to perfection, SW…..didn’t.
 

Woopah

Member
It was clearly a recurring myth motif that is revisited with a new vision for each game. Of course nerds and fanboys had to try to put everything in a neat little box and force some kind of nonsensical timeline, so Nintendo just rolled with it.
There's definitely some repetition, but even as a recurring myth the majority of the games are clearly connected to each other chronologically in some way or another. I agree that fans cared way more about the little details than Nintendo did.
Personally i give a lot of credit to the team that came up with that timeline. Was genius to think of the three way split as a solution.
as has been pointed out above, my understanding is also that thy didn’t really consider a structure to the timeline in terms of progression of events until after OOT. At which point the success of the series really exploded and then the internet was invented and the pressure forced them to retcon a proper timeline.
OOT was written as a LTTP prequel so this part isn't true.
 

OldBoyGamer

Member
There's definitely some repetition, but even as a recurring myth the majority of the games are clearly connected to each other chronologically in some way or another. I agree that fans cared way more about the little details than Nintendo did.

OOT was written as a LTTP prequel so this part isn't true.
The fact that OOT was written as a prequel is separate to the idea that the order of all events and occurrences in both games were carefully plotted and planned. I think it was o my after OOT that they really began to take these things seriously.

Even then, from everything I remember and have read since, it doesn’t seem that they really started to play things into a timeline of events until later.
 

EverydayBeast

thinks Halo Infinite is a new graphical benchmark
Nintendo has a very casual take on the Zelda timeline, having the basic "Save the princess" theme, providing enemies like Ganon allows the timeline to basically go anywhere.
 

Woopah

Member
The fact that OOT was written as a prequel is separate to the idea that the order of all events and occurrences in both games were carefully plotted and planned. I think it was o my after OOT that they really began to take these things seriously.

Even then, from everything I remember and have read since, it doesn’t seem that they really started to play things into a timeline of events until later.
I don't think they've ever though ahead like that. They only have plan the game they are currently working on, they're not thinking about anything after that.
 

ethomaz

Banned
I’m not sure what are you trying to say…
Zelda franchise has 3 timelines:

- Tells the story when Ganon won over Link in OoT.
- Tells the story when Link won in OoT and follow the events after that.
- Tells the story when Link won in OoT and Zelda create a new timeline to send Link back in the past.

The first timeline is a what if Ganon won… so it is not actually a timeline that exists it just a timeline to tell what if.

But the two others timelines exists at the same time when Zelda choose to send Link back in the past she created two time paradox timeline so both exists with different events… one follow the events in a linear way with Link adult… while the other is a changed past with link living his children.

I consider the Adult Link timeline the canon and what really happened in the events.

Link child timeline is an alternative story created by Zelda when she tried to change the past.

And the Link defeated timeline is just a what if story.
 
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The 3 timeline theory sucks. The idea that the damned original games I grew up with my childhood are the ones that are relegated to a timeline that depends on a continuity error is utterly baffling.

Not only that, but the 3 timeline theory utterly destroys the significance of the Imprisoning War, a "Greatest story never told" war event on a scale similar to Iga's Castlevania 1999 that Nintendo kept promising Zelda fans to FINALLY occur in an actual game for years, only for them to give up and decide to:
1) Relegate it to the damned third timeline, screwing up it's status as a cornerstone event
2) Further screw it up by contradicting elements of the Imprisoning War's lore in Skyward Sword and other prequels, making it questionable how it even could have happened as described at all.

They couldn't even bother to make a non-canon version of the Imprisoning War in the Hyrule Warriors series, a spinoff line that would have been perfectly suited to telling a large-scale war story.

On top of that screwed up the placement of Link's Awakening in that third timeline even though that was supposed to be one of the most straight-forward, brainless "This took place after LttP" sequels, for... reasons. Then tried to say the Oracles Link was the same a LttP Link in spite of them not even having the same character design. No, my LttP Link did NOT wear white pants, thank you.
 
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