Recently, over at IGN, Rich George posted a very interesting quote from Aonuma himself. Many believe in the theory of a split-timeline, where the events in the Zelda series split at the point of Ocarina of Time and branch off into The Wind Waker on one end, and Twilight Princess on another. Aonuma himself did confirm this a few years ago, but a recent statement by him at the fairly recent 25th anniversary concert seems to say otherwise. The quote says:

“All of the games are within one timeline for the entire series, but that timeline is a secret that I cannot reveal.”

Many believe that the fans are simply looking too deeply into this, as this statement could also include a split-timeline, but others are unsure. With games like The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess both being indirect sequels to Ocarina of Time, the split-timeline theory simply seems to make a lot of sense, rather than one simple timeline, without a split. What are your thoughts? Leave a comment!

Source: IGN
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  • Jack

    There has to be a split timeline, games like the Wind Waker and Twilight Princess simply would not make any sense without a split timeline.

    • TheMaverickk

      Actually it wouldn't be completely implausible to say that Twilight Princess' events take place after Ocarina of Time and before the Wind Waker.

      It's not as though the Zelda titles are so close ended that there isn't room for this to be a possibility. It may make a bit more sense that Twilight Princess and Wind Waker are alternate results after Ocarina of Time but who knows.

      • UmYeah

        Actually, it is completely implausible.

        Twilight Princess and Wind Waker contain far too many mutually exclusive elements.
        Most notably, Wind Waker's intro ensures that there was never a Hero to stop Ganon before the flood.

    • Chozo Knight

      my life is over.

    • Lemurdragon

      I say screw the timeline. Nintendo keeps changing it anyway. I say Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks, then all of the other games can go wherever the hell they want. Don't waste time theorizing when every Zelda game that comes out just makes things even MORE $%^#d up.

    • ArabDiSASTER

      False… Plus, The ballad of the gales is in Twilight princess, suggesting that Wind Waker took place in TP's past. How? Confused? A single timeline could work. Now what this guy says (AND IT MAKES PERFECT SENSE) says that all of the games can exist with one timeline, and that if there were two time lines (I.E. a split) Wind Waker would HAVE to be put on the opposite side, because it makes no sense on the current side. Here is the link to part 1:

      • UmYeah

        You're basing your theory on one song that was clearly fan service and using it to ignore all the other factors?

  • john

    how does he do that? the ds on the tv. DO WANT!!

    • Well john, as most people are aware, Eiji Aonuma is close friends with God- I mean- Shigeru Miyamoto. And anything is possible when Miyamoto's around.

  • Ashmic

    sadly i always thought there was no timeline, just nintendo making zelda games, taking place in different time, dimensions.
    Oh and don't bother asking Nintendo america, they'll telll u there is no timeline. (a guy made an accurate timeline and sent it in, they sent him a etter saying there was no timeline)

    • MDH

      I agree. I think at most Nintendo only have a very rough idea of a timeline that is subject to change whenever they feel it benefits the individual plot of one game. And I like it that way. Of course, this also leaves endless room for speculation, and trying to make sense of the games' connections for yourself is fun!

    • TheMaverickk

      There is a Timeline… there's no doubt about that, it's been said by both Miyamoto and Aunoma dozens of times, and they keep confirming that some form of a Timeline does exist.

      The truth in it though is that we don't know how developed the timeline is. It could simply be a spattering of coherent story ideas for future Zelda, and point tie ins for the current Zelda's that already exists.

      It could be a very vague document that gives a lot of freedom to create Zelda titles where ever they want them to fit in, or alternatively it could also be very detailed, and consist of rules that they must follow when creating Zelda titles, so as to not contradict other games.

      We don't know… but the point is there is some document of the timeline and that every Zelda title is tied together in some way through the timeline.

  • Magma

    I'm pretty sure I'm way more interested in how to plug up my DS to a TV.

  • The Adult and Child timelines make more sense as Link visits two eras in OoT.

    • TheMaverickk

      Time travel in any way shape or form can be subject to many loop holes.

      Link returned to Hyrule at the end of Ocarina of Time…. what does that honestly mean? Ganondorf was arrested, not defeated? Or perhaps even when Link returned things transpired just as they had when he traveled to the future.

      Ocarina of Time has a very vague ending that really tells us nothing. Much the same way that Twilight Princess ended….. we are left with Ganondorf's standing supposed corpse… but did he die? did he get sealed? was he thrown away into a prison? disappear in a twilight magic puff of panel smoke. Even Wind Waker's ending although seemingly killed… Ganondorf may still have survived that even. We simply see him turned to stone, and buried beneath the waves…..

      Who knows what the future holds for Zelda there… maybe a future Link will have to go back and retrieve the MasterSword from old Hyrule in order to defeat a new evil. Then when pulling the sword in the stone (a stone that was in fact Ganondorf) it not only releases stone but Ganondorf again… dun dun dun… or maybe the Master Sword became corrupted by being in direct contact by such an evil being.

      Zelda games have vague endings, quest completed sure, but they never really cement a concrete result, so as to not close themselves off from telling another story.

      • UmYeah

        Plenty of Zelda games have a concrete ending, among them being Wind Waker which you apparently dismiss.

        The only game with a vague ending is Twilight Princess.

    • ArabDiSASTER

      FALSE! FALSE FALSE! WATCH THIS F****NG VIDEO AND LEARN A THING OR TWO! THERE COULD BE A SPLIT BUT IT MAKES SENSE AS WELL FOR THERE NOT TO BE! LEARN SOMETHING AND WATCH THIS VIDEO! IT WILL COMPLETLEY CHANGE YOUR OPINION TWICE THROUGHOUT WATCHING IT! HERE'S PART 1!!!:

  • "H"

    Can't trust IGN as a source anymore, "Left handed" mode anyone?

    • TheMaverickk

      This story actually originates from GT actually.

      In their GT episode where they talk to Reggie first and then talk to Aunoma and Koji at the Zelda 25th anniversary concert. So it's actually GT's translation of what Aunoma said.

      Which was also an on the fly response, and he may have not used the best Japanese terms to answer the english question. There is so much room for mistranslation between two parties.

      So yeah this isn't really IGN's news, they just helped bring up the statement to peoples attention. Personally I think it's nothing more then misunderstanding, that IGN has hyped up and brought to Zelda fans attention.

  • mario_master

    maybe when zelda ends in six more games. (cries silently) we will know the truth. and yes it was confirmed zelda will end in six or five more games. but not for a long time we still got ten more years at least at most 50th anniversary

    • veeronic

      no its not, how do I know? because we've yet to play skyward sword, and miyamoto directly said if its not the best game in the series, than that will be the end of it.

      • lulles

        That news is quite old and we all know Miyamoto wasn't being serious when he said that.

    • TheMaverickk

      I'd love to see where it says that the series will end in six more games.

      Cause I've never read such rumors. After Twilight Princess there were off topic comments about how TP was the last Zelda title to be created that way, and they wanted to make some drastic changes to the series.

      Of course people assumed that it would mean massive changes… to say steam punk, or future style Zelda…. or first person Zelda even 😛

      Yet then we learned of Skyward Sword last year and it all made sense… they wanted to create a Zelda game with a new formula style and new gameplay style. Which simply meant the addition of motion plus, as well as changing up how dungeon design was approached.

      Either way that's a mega rumor you got going about 6 Zelda titles left.

      • mario_master

        I saw this on this very site before miyamoto said that thing about if ss sucked. so blame yourselves for putting false info. and if i am wrong sorry. i hope that it is false too. i love zelda.

    • lulles

      Where in earth did you read the series will end in six games? Because I've never heard even rumors about it.

  • veeronic

    anything that document says is not going to make sense without the split.

    • ArabDiSASTER

      FALSE! FALSE FALSE! WATCH THIS F****NG VIDEO AND LEARN A THING OR TWO! THERE COULD BE A SPLIT BUT IT MAKES SENSE AS WELL FOR THERE NOT TO BE! LEARN SOMETHING AND WATCH THIS VIDEO! IT WILL COMPLETLEY CHANGE YOUR OPINION TWICE THROUGHOUT WATCHING IT! HERE'S PART 1!!!:

  • rageagainst

    What was the exact translation, I think this is either him making a misnomer or it not translating right.

    But if there is just one timeline, TWW could still be a SPIRITUAL sequel to OoT, as with TP. Its just that TWW-PH-St would have to happen like last in the timeline, for the drowning of Hyrule to make sense.

    • ArabDiSASTER

      FALSE! FALSE FALSE! WATCH THIS F****NG VIDEO AND LEARN A THING OR TWO! THERE COULD BE A SPLIT BUT IT MAKES SENSE AS WELL FOR THERE NOT TO BE! LEARN SOMETHING AND WATCH THIS VIDEO! IT WILL COMPLETLEY CHANGE YOUR OPINION TWICE THROUGHOUT WATCHING IT! HERE'S PART 1!!!:

      • heroofmasks

        dude shut up myamoto the creator even sai there was a split timeline i think i belive the creator and main person who chooses how the zelda games go over a director

  • We need to wait to know about it.

  • aaa

    When he says it fits into one timeline, he means that there is indeed a timeline. It's very rough though and they have no master plan. They won't ever reveal it because at any moment they can just make a new Zelda game and decide where it will fit in or if it will simply stand out.

    • This would make only sense pertaining to the evolution of the mogma and the turnip resulting in spontaneity unlike any foodstuffs witness by mine and your brethren unto the end of the ages before clothing was borne before time.

    • lulles

      yeah, there could've been a mistranslation and he just said all the games fit into a timeline.

  • Crixler

    I think what he means by "one timeline" is still a split timeline. What he's probably referring to is that there are no outlying timelines, like some would propose for the Four Swords series. He's saying it's all connected. That doesn't mean it can't split. We don't call it split timelines, do we? We call it split timeline. Singular.

    • Oblique

      You losed. It is split. Link slept for seven years. THIS MEANS THE CHILD ADULT TIMES EXIST AND CANNOT BE REFUTED! DB

      • Crixler

        Yes. I was agreeing with that, but it sounds like you thought I was disagreeing.

      • ArabDiSASTER

        FALSE! FALSE FALSE! WATCH THIS F****NG VIDEO AND LEARN A THING OR TWO! THERE COULD BE A SPLIT BUT IT MAKES SENSE AS WELL FOR THERE NOT TO BE! LEARN SOMETHING AND WATCH THIS VIDEO! IT WILL COMPLETLEY CHANGE YOUR OPINION TWICE THROUGHOUT WATCHING IT! HERE'S PART 1!!!:

  • ABAZELDAFAN

    stop thinkin about the timeline and beguan too enjoy the game

    • Learner

      I began and begun to enjoy it the second I played Ocarina of Time. And I noticed the stories devolving from it. So no, I will not quit thinking about the timeline, for theory is another intriguing thing this franchise brings to light. You really want to kill another area of discussion for us?

  • aeolus

    What he means is there is a timeline. It can still be split at OoT, but its still all one timeline. He's just saying they are connected.

    • wolfpack2421

      Exactly. Two timelines =/= split timeline. A split timeline is still all one continuing strand.

      • SINCaliber

        Think of TWW and TP as consequences of certain choices made in OoT. The Split Timeline are still connected; they both started from OoT didn't they?

  • Bingo

    As aeolus said, I believe Aonuma is just stating that a timeline exists, one "true" timeline, if you will. Whether it's split or not, I don't think he was commenting on that at all. His previous statement regarding the split was very certain.

    • ArabDiSASTER

      FALSE! FALSE FALSE! WATCH THIS F****NG VIDEO AND LEARN A THING OR TWO! THERE COULD BE A SPLIT BUT IT MAKES SENSE AS WELL FOR THERE NOT TO BE! LEARN SOMETHING AND WATCH THIS VIDEO! IT WILL COMPLETLEY CHANGE YOUR OPINION TWICE THROUGHOUT WATCHING IT! HERE'S PART 1!!!:

  • ChainofTermina

    No, no guys, there IS a split timeline, but only for a little while. the alternate timeline gets erased from reality after Marty and Doc go back to 1955 and steal the almanac away from Biff so he can't-oh, wait……..wrong website. oops. :3

  • rasgar

    Why do people care about this stupid timeline. Just enjoy the freakin games!!!!

    • Bingo

      It's nice to enjoy both. It would just be nice to see the developers put a little more care in that department, granted it's not really what the series is about. It's just a bit of sloppiness that they never seem to want to address, and that's all.

    • wolfpack2421

      Plus if you don't want to deal with timelines, you could, you know, just ignore it.

  • typhoon

    I was at the concert and he never said that.

    • TheMaverickk

      Here's a link to the video from GT where they are interviewing both Koji Kondo and Aonuma;
      http://www.gametrailers.com/episode/gametrailers-

      If you want the entire interview with the two watch from the 8:25 – 10:00 marks

      If you just want to see Aonuma answer the question about the timeline which has stirred this article and debate you can just watch from these marks;

      9:15 – 9:30
      ________________________________________

      He didn't make this statement during the middle of the concert, so you wouldn't have heard it. They did an exclusive interview with GT TV before the concert even started.

  • Kale

    I agree with H that IGN doesn’t seem the most reliable source anymore. Still, I think we’re reading too much into it and losing something in translation here. I think all Aonuma is simply restating the existence of a timeline, not contradicting his earlier split-timeline statements.

  • jmoods

    I'm thinking it was translated sloppily and weirdly.

  • klz

    It´s hard to know with Japanes translations, we can´t know exactly what he tried to say.

  • supergiraloz

    i think your missenterpreting it as there is a single line for a timeline,

    but i think he means that all the games are part of the timeline, but that it can't be revealed

  • Nikachu92

    Some Zelda fans think way too hard about the timeline aspect of the series. I doubt there is a real timeline. I highly doubt that when Nintendo is working on a new Zelda game, that they are worrying about how the story fits in with the rest of the series. They are just worrying about how the story works with the game its in. I mean, if you are so caught up in timelines making sense, then what happened to all of Link's items when you play games like PH or MM.

    Also, I don't know what the full timelines look like, but I wonder how they compare with the level of technology in the games.

    The games are fun and great individually so that's all that matters to me.

    • TheMaverickk

      There is a timeline…. is the creators of the series say there is a Timeline, there is. It's not even debate-able whether or not one exists. It's as if I was writing a story, as the author I hold ultimate power to say what this and that means, and what is connected and not connected, as the creator of that fictional world.

      There exists a timeline, it's just that it's an ever evolving thing much like the entire series is. Where I'd say you are right is in the fact that they don't start developing a Zelda game with the timeline in mind…. and going farther then that they normally don't start making a Zelda title with a story in mind (normally, one of the few games where they put story first was actually Twilight Princess, which ended up being one of the weaker Zelda titles).

      They always start with a mechanic or gameplay in mind. In the case of Skyward Sword, when they started developing it, they wanted to use motion controls to their fullest, and with Motion Plus they were able to fully realize this. So with a game focused on swordplay and sword based puzzles and gameplay (not to mention motion specialized items) it become natural to make the story also built around the Master Sword, which then led towards an origin story.

      The result timeline wise, is that they had to put this game before Ocarina of Time, and when that is decided during development they start putting elements that may link the two titles.

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  • mariah

    I think he means one time line as a whole. You can has a rope that starts out whole and starts to fray and come apart but it is still one rope.

  • Danny

    It seems pretty clear to me that he simply means that all the games are connected, including the Four Swords games which many believe are in a world of their own (and should be, if you ask me). I had recently come to like the idea that the 3D games were all connected and the 2D games were in a seperate world, or worlds. This would seem to make sense as all the 3D games are clearly connected to OoT in some way. Anyway, Aonuma seems to be debunking that idea here.

  • HeikkiV

    As a moblin friend of mine would say, "it's a secret to everybody."

  • Just like a tree that splits into two main branches isn't TWO trees, a timeline that splits is not TWO timelines, but one.

    This isn't even worth posting about, it's just linear wish-thinking and/or trolling.

  • Gerudude

    Isn't it another translation mistake?

  • Callin

    He probably just means all the games are connected. As opposed to some theories that put the 2D Zelda games, or Four Sword games, in a completely different legend.

  • I've been thinking that there was a split time-line since 1998…don't take away everything I've ever believed in, Nintendo! 😛 It just makes sense, and, unless someone directly states that there's no split, I'll keep on believing in it.

  • Sanity's_Theif

    It's hard to imagine the timeline working without the split, it is how reality works after all lol, I'd like to see someone come up with a good diagram of how it could work in 1 timeline though

  • Patrick

    There's no doubt this is a misunderstanding.

    What he means is that the FSA games aren't in their own timeline. The split timeline is still a single timeline. But the official timeline includes all of the zelda games, instead of non-cannon releases or separate timelines.

  • well, if there is only one timeline, it is a major clusterfuck. but it could go SS, OOT,MM, WW (and all that like ST and all those) and then TP. the older games aren't as story oriented (like Four swords). Remember that the Zelda franchise still is alive and well, so those gaps that make no sens could be room for future. maybe Aonuma is pulling a lelouch/Light thing on us.

  • Mucrush

    I just got a theory… can't it be like this:

    Ocarina of Time -> Majora's Mask -> Wind Waker -> Phantom Hourglass -> Spirit Tracks -> Twilight Princess ???
    The map of Twilight Princess shows that there is snowy mountains to the left, just like there is a snow area in Spirit Tracks… because its unknown as of yet, maybe another person killed Ganon in the future? And he was called the Hero of Time! Because Link went on another journey, Majora's Mask, another person maybe came…

    And this one is probably too stupid and not making sense, but maybe that giant flood came before Ganon took over the Hyrule, because Link didn't help? Most likely impossible, but its still a possibility IMO XD

    Cause if our theory before wasn't right, we just have to come with some others ;b

    • heroofmasks

      well think about the begining of ww it explains how the flood came to be after the hero of time went back to being a kid ganon came back atlease 100 years later but no heros to slay him becouse link aka the hero of time isnt there anymore pluse no one exept the royal family knows where the master sword is

  • Erifkrad Henako

    Personally, even though the Split-Timeline Theory is perfectly plausible, and believed by a vast majority, I have always felt that all the games fit into one timeline. but the thing is, this one timeline has many holes, and covers a span of thousands of years. the holes are periodically filled in by the zelda creators, bringing the already existing games closer together. In The Wind Waker, the game tells that Hyrule was flooded by the gods and the old Hyrule was forgotten over the years. that must have taken at least 200 years to forget the old Hyrule. it just shows that the timeline covers more amounts of time than is fathomable. maybe at a later time i could piece together my specific ideas of the timeline.

    • heroofmasks

      still split i say becouse even miyamoto said that alttp is the final game in the timeline if the game also explains why at the end it said the master sword sleeps again forever and if the flood happend after then that means nintendo lied to us

      • Erifkrad Henako

        in my theory, the WW/PH/ST series comes after the flood happens,as foretold, making them the last or latest portion of the timeline. And really, with all the speculation and mystery about "The True Timeline", Nintendo can make new games and throw them in the timeline based only on that the current first and current last parts of the timeline are skyward sword and spirit tracks, respectively. anything in between is kinda fair game for them, so to speak. i think all the different things they say about "The True Timeline" keep us hooked on whats gonna come next.

  • Split timeline ftw

  • Ryan

    You know what you kids don't understand? "It's a secret and I won't tell you" is, in reality, PR speak for "Stop asking me these stupid questions," It's a very effective method. I'm sure it shut up whatever dumbass journalist asked him that pretty quickly. And if people actually stopped asking him these retarded questions, then maybe we'd actually get some pertinent information on the actual games' development for a change.

    • Erifkrad Henako

      I'm guessing you live in a world governed by boundary line that inhibit creativity. the way I learned, speculation wasn't a bad thing. There's this thing called "imagination", and just like the muscles on your arms, it has to be exercised to keep it working. Your imagination is obviously dead by this point.

      • Ryan

        Hahah! You mock me because you know I'm right. Well cry me a river. You're just delusional like most of these people yearning for an "Official timeline." Keep living in your little fantasy world. I, on the other hand, will gladly continue not caring whether there's a timeline or not, and just enjoy the games for what they are, instead of obsessing over worthless nonsense.

  • heroofmasks

    who to belive the creator of zelda or a zelda director i say the creater

  • heroofmasks

    there still is a split timeline when link goes into the future same timeline but when he went back in time to before he picked up the master sword and lefttimeline it split the future timeline still went on but it also splitted 1 part went onto the future but the kidtimeline didnt turn out that way aka ganon count get the triforce becouse he needed someone to pick upo the mastersword its all explain in back to the future movies

  • GrantBrown16

    Skyward Sword- Ocarina- Majoras Mask- Twilight Princess/every other Zelda game that has a hyrule field- Wind Waker- Phantom Hourglass- Spirit Tracks…

    That’s my view of a Zelda timeline

  • Mr. Dent

    I believe what Aonuma means with this, is that he is debunking the theory that MC/FS/FSA occur in a completely seperate universe from the home console and ds titles.

  • MagmarFire

    It's pretty clear this is either a mistranslation or just a standard miscommunication. The "one timeline" thing most likely includes the fork after Ocarina of Time. Technically, it is one timeline because the two threads are connected in some way. It's not like Final Fantasy where most games have their own timeline–their own universes, actually.

  • Cris Bredahl

    Well because he said it is a secret that he cannot reveal it makes me believe that he is not talking about the previous timeline they have released. One timeline does not include a split timeline as the split timeline we’ve seen before would be considered one timeline split into three. It doesn’t doesn’t make much sense though why he would say something like this after they’ve already released an “official” timeline. Maybe he’s hyping us up for something new in the future? Who knows.