The timeline of Zelda games was first revealed in the release of Hyrule Historia back in 2011. It led to controversy in and of itself. It also set a precedent for future games and where they would be positioned on the infamous timeline after inevitable fan debate almost as soon as title is announced.
Before accepting that Aonuma will probably forever keep the knowledge of the timeline position of Breath of the Wild confidential, he discussed the timeline previously back in December 2017 with Fujibayashi. In conclusion, he stated that, “It’s not necessarily that we come up with a game and think, ‘Oh, this is where it fits in the timeline.’ Honestly, lately, we’re kind of scared to say exactly where things are in the timeline for that reason. But we like to leave things to the imagination most of the time.”
Aonuma has previously admitted that Breath of the Wild occurs after Ocarina of Time — a reassuring concept having witnessed all the hallmarks of landmarks such as Lon Lon Ranch in a less lively form within Breath of the Wild. If you are holding out for more information than that though, you are likely to be out of luck.
The explanation for the glaring omission of Breath of the Wild derives from returning to the franchise’s roots – something which was evident from early on, having taken on board the role of the original Legend of Zelda. Aonuma sums up the exclusion simply by saying that he hopes everyone “can find their own answer, in their own way.”
“We realised that people were enjoying imagining the story that emerged from the fragmental imagery we were providing. If we defined a restricted timeline, then there would be a definitive story, and it would eliminate the room for imagination, which wouldn’t be as fun.
“We want players to be able to continue having fun imagining this world even after they are finished with the game, so, this time, we decided that we would avoid making clarifications. I hope that everyone can find their own answer, in their own way.”
It might seem disappointing and irksome to some timeline enthusiasts that Breath of the Wild hasn’t been allocated a specific position on the official timeline when a smaller title such as Triforce Heroes has cemented its place, but with Aonuma adamant that the position of Breath of the Wild will never be revealed, perhaps it is a case of the timeline no longer being relevant for the future of the series.