Timeline revealed in the contents?

Since as far back as 1991 with the introduction of A Link to the Past the Zelda series has been rife with controversy over something that seems fairly straightforward in most gaming franchises: in exactly what order do the games take place? Here at ZeldaUniverse we have an entire active subforum devoted to the topic where every minute detail is analyzed and debated.

Part of what makes the debate so lively is that so few known indisputable facts have been revealed by the developers. In fact for quite a while part of the debate was whether there really was an intended timeline at all, but this was shown to be unfounded by then-director Eiji Aonuma who declared that there was a huge document representing the official timeline to the Zelda series but that it is confidential and is only shown on a need-to-know basis.

We fans feared we would never be privy to that knowledge, but all of that may be about to change…

Scans recently surfaced for the soon to be released art book Hyrule Historia which spans the full 25 years of Zelda art.

What’s curious, however, is that the table of contents hints at an even bigger reveal than original concepts for Link’s outfits. According to translation over at GameFAQs of the Japanese scans, there is a section entitled “Finally Revealed, The Geneology of The Legend.” It then goes on to give page numbers for the specific entries in the series.

History of Hyrule
~Finally Revealed, The Genealogy of the Legend~

The Timeline of Hyrule, Kingdom of the Gods………………………..68
The Legend of Gods and the Hero of Time……………………………….70
The Downfall of Hyrule and the last Hero……………………………..92
The Twilight Realm and the Hero’s Descendant…………………… 110
The Hero of Wind and the New World…………………………………..122

While it certainly sounds like the art book will make official the much speculated-upon timeline, please keep in mind that this is not an official translation of the Japanese. And also remember that Eiji Aonuma has started that the official timeline document would never be released. It’s likely that this is more a playful attempt at placing the stories in some semblance of order.

When the book releases in Japan on December 21, 2011 we will certainly have more definitive information. Stay tuned.

Source: VGTribune
  • I have a feeling that it wont be the timeline…
    I really hope it is though

  • Ashmic

    my honest opinion is that there is no timeline, and they just threw in that there is one, i mean a timeline maybe but not as strict as every game

  • I doubt this is the official timeline. Nintendo wouldn't have arbitrarily released it, or allowed it to be released, because then possibly plotlines deriving from recent titles could be predicted. That'd ruin the surprise and unexpectedness of new games, and ultimately this series might die out because of it. And that is my frank view on this situation.

    • Gerudude

      No. Not if future games would take place in the future of Hyrule.
      And so far, the series have been anything but unpredictable.
      I mean: go to the dungeon (always forest -vulcano-desert, or forest-vulcano-water-dessert).
      Find the map, find the key, fight the boss.
      It has been the same for ages, and that is why we love it.

    • bob

      right if nintendo released a timeline it would kill the series, also if you take a picture of the sun the camra will catch on fire and explode

  • bradley

    An official timeline would kick ass! http://s3.amazonaws.com/kym-assets/photos/images/

  • Steven

    It would be funny if it was just a full page image of Miyamoto laughing or just the trollface.jpg

    • Electro

      Or Miyamoto himself making the trollface. Hey, a guy can dream, right?

  • JapaNeeSee

    Keep in mind, there are more Zelda games to come. So until the final Zelda game is released(Hylia forbid), there will be no way for us to know the entire timeline.

    • Casual Vader

      "Goddesses forbid" would have been better.

      • mphouston

        "Hylia" is a goddess >_>

        • Casual Vader

          In what game was this revealed? I've never heard of a fourth goddess. Only Din, Nayru and Farore. Aren't the Hylia supposed to be the race that came before the Hyrulians?

          • mphouston

            Hylia is the goddess from Skyward Sword in Skyward sword Din Farore and Nayru are known as the old gods. Plus in Wind Waker they talk about the two wind gods and Valoo so there are multiple gods in the Zelda series The goddesses you just listed are just the three main ones who created the triforce and the whole land of Hyrule!

          • Casual Vader

            *sigh* I love Zelda but it's history and lore is so muddied.

  • I must see. I must see if this is true. I must know everything. EVERYTHING.

  • i hate Fi

    I must know about this topic….. and i must devote my life to knowing everything that is Zelda!!!!! While still maintaining sanity………..

  • Soeroah

    Hmm. If it is the timeline, then holy crap, 60 pages, I want it. WANT. IT.

    However, it sounds to me more like a historical documentation of the games. Rather than being in any real order, it will just be the events of the different games written in the context of a history book. Like a book of legends that you can't really make a solid timeline from.

    • bastian

      I agree, that's what I personally think it will turn out to be as well.

  • Dante

    If my memory serves right, it wasn't stated it wouldn't ever be released. In fact, I remember such thing as "releasing it when the time is right", and what would be better than 25th year?

    Furthermore, as they already have the Master Timeline, releasing it makes no difference. The need to adhere to the current canon anyways. All this does is make a huge amount of people purchase the book, and after we get a few games for the series, all the discussion can start over again.

    Also, the fact that absolutely no player can certainly tell what the timeline is, (And thus not tell the whole story of the series, technically) is a reason newer players have lately been shying away from the series. I know a few who did that.

    If it truly is the timeline, they just made an genius business trick

    • LunarMew

      True! You took the words right out of my mouth, good sir! <3

      The Zelda timeline is as confusing as the timeline in LOST. I bet that even the makers of Zelda can't completely figure it out, but just bringing it out for the anniversary would be the perfect time to release this "true timeline" to the public. Don't be surprised if some theorists do not agree with it and it becomes another controversial thing, though.

      • MikeBlue18

        LOL at the LOST comparison! I do not agree that the creators don't know. They know the important details, they know the truth, I'm sure. And if this is the Timeline, then… WOW.

  • Craig

    I really don't believe that it's separate timelines or "legends"… I do think it's all part of the same timeline, even with the split… But some games link directly to each other and explain each other which is why they're grouped in the right order, but in different sections… Plus there are different pages too. I think they're showing different phases of the timeline like Skyward and Ocarina… then they'll explain the split and the results of that. Then they'll go on to the next phase in the timeline and explain how it connects to others and then of course, there's the final part of the adult timeline in the Cel-Shaded games which are the latest in the timeline.

  • Lokes

    The Master timeline is kept secret because they want the possibility to change it. They stated in an interview once that they kept it secret because they didn't want to be bound to it, that would limit their options and freedom when making the games.

    • genjgenj

      Exactly.

      And Nintendo makes the games vaguely connected so they can add games in between stories.

      Konami messed up the Castlevania series because it gives too much specific, detailed information about how the games connect–now it has nowhere in the timeline to stick in more games, hence the recent CV reboot game.

  • TheMaverickk

    I think the real issue here is that the Timeline isn't finished… new games are constantly being added to the franchise. So I mean new titles will be wedged in different parts of the timeline.

    I think that this official timeline reveal will not be anything surprising or anything. It will likely be a vague confirmation of facts that we already know…. which are the main points of;

    1. Skyward Sword is currently the first Zelda in the Timeline
    2. Ocarina of Time takes place after Skyward Sword
    3. Majora's Mask is the sequel to Ocarina of Time
    4. Wind Waker takes place after the events of Ocarina of Time, the world is flooded
    5. Phantom Hourglass is the sequel to Wind Waker
    6. Spirit Tracks is the sequel to Phantom Hourglass
    7. Twilight Princess is an alternate sequel to Ocarina of Time, where a split occurs

    I think that's all we will get from this grand reveal. Which are facts that have essentially already been stated by Aonuma and Miyamoto. It won't solve the hard questions that everyone debates about.

    For example where does Minish Cap, Four Swords, Four Swords Adventure fit in…
    Or where the Oracle Titles and Link's Awakening fit in…

    We know that Adventure of Link takes place after The Legend of Zelda, but where do those titles fit, in the overall timeline.

    Link to the Past was supposed to be a prequel to the original Legend of Zelda, is that still the case. Also does it still fall after Ocarina of Time.

    Those are the things that are still debated, and hard to give any sort of finite placement in the timeline.

    • Trace

      I think that they rebooted after a while, so thats why Minish Cap, Four Swords, Four Swords, or the Oracle games make no sence. especially the Oracle games.

  • Big N are the biggest trolls of all time. XD

  • pololmejor

    Metroid has an awsome timeline but due to being one I honestly don't think they can make more game because they don't seem to fit anywhere. I hope Zelda doesn't get an official timeline because this could happen.

  • Gerudude

    Hmmm Twillight realm and the Hero's descendant. Soooo, TP Link is a descendant from OoT Link huh.
    I think all Links are related and inherit the triforce from one another.

  • Richard

    22 March 1845 – The Black Rock captained by Magnus Hanso sets sail from Portsmouth, England on a trading mission to the Kingdom of Siam, and is declared lost at sea.

  • Callin

    I'm excited about possible seeing an official timeline.

    And at the same time, kinda not. It won't be as fun to discuss chronology if Nintendo sets a timeline in stone.

  • Jarkes

    ???

  • Jarkes

    Of course, we all know that this book will NEVER be released in North America, or anywhere other than Japan.

  • Tayo

    If the timeline should be revealed, it should be after the series has finished once and for all. Half the fun of Zelda is theorizing, and that includes the timeline.

  • qawdawdwa

    I don't think the Zelda timeline is that complicated at all. I think the old games and the games after OOT are entirely different. Makes more sense this way.

    >WW>PH>ST
    SS>OOT
    >MM>TP

  • Redmagpie

    cant have Wind Waker first dude as its set 100 years after OOT on an exactly parallel timeline to Twilight Princess

  • Usually I don’t article on blogs, but I want to say that this article really forced me to complete so! Thanks, extremely nice article.