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The Grand Progression — How Zelda 1's Hyrule fits into Breath of the Wild
  • Hello. I've been studying Hyrule for many years. The geography of The Legend of Zelda is the 'Holy Grail' of Zelda for me, particularly the evolved representation from the series' inception to a modern fit, in full 3D. For years, I have conceived this land, mystified by its difference from all other incarnations of Hyrule sans its miniature iteration in Zelda 2. And yet, there have always been recalls: Holodrum largely resembles Hyrule Prime wrapped into a compressed rectangle, and diversified with the Seasons. The Great Deku Tree is largely an homage to the Tree-Maw entrance to Eagle Labyrinth in TLoZ, which, amazingly, populated the entirety of the Lost Woods in Breath of the Wild. There was even a lone tree on the island in Lake Saria that mimicked the aforementioned. Breath of the Wild does not perfectly resemble any previous incarnation of Hyrule, and yet it seems to celebrate them all. In time, I would like to discuss the relationships between it and all other Legends of Zelda wherever applicable, but for now, Breath of the Wild and The Legend of Zelda.


    The next few paragraphs are exposition. Thank you for reading thus far; the full theory is explained in a graphic at the bottom of the post if you'd rather skip 2 it.

    I've read many wonderful theories about where Zelda 1's Hyrule may be located in Breath of the Wild's greater realm. There are those who've gone the length of meticulously and topographically flooding BotW's map in an effort to show how the natural rise, with a slight of hand and one large, necessary, and logically-supported cut reveals BotW's map to be an unflooded Zelda 2 lookalike, with a fantastic parallel between Great Palace and Akkala Citadel. Check out pend's theory if you haven't already.

    And then there's the curiosity of an Akkala comparison to the Zelda 1 Region, proposing that Zelda 1's Hyrule did not face north at the top, but West, as it could align with the vertical Akkala as the Eastern Base of Death Mountain and thus, its Spectacle Rock would align with Death Mountain. Via Reddit, Keytee1's theory can be read here.

    And those are just two examples, as there are more and counting. What's happening here is what matters, not whether we find the truth in the information we seek. It's the understanding of this world as it has aged over three decades in the minds of people from around the world. We've grown and lived with these legends. They are part of us. As such, theorizing about this fantasy world must be done in pursuit of what can be accomplished by doing so.

    And Nintendo knows that. Nintendo knows how much The Legend of Zelda means to us, which is why Breath of the Wild just swept the world away last year. It is a masterpiece. For many years I've tried to figure out where Zelda 1's Hyrule existed, or if it was the Hyrule known from defined commonalities, i.e. all future iterations beyond Zelda 2, and it wasn't until this gold puzzle map was revealed years ago that I began to think Nintendo might actually do it. This map seemed too specific, especially after translating the congruent locations like Lon Lon Ranch, Castor Wilds, and Faron Woods. This map looked like a convergent Hyrule, perhaps concept-turned-promo art. Its layout is ultimately very similar to Breath of the Wild. The map teases leading up to the true E3 reveal hinted at this puzzle map being legit as they shared too many similarities as well, namely the large circular desert in the southwest and the storm with an eye in the midwest. So, time passes until March 3, 2017...

    I get the paraglider and head to Lake Hylia, crossing the bridge and going south to the stable in Fural Plain. This is it. This is the beginning.


    —I present my theoretical map diagram, 'Hyrule, The Grand Progression / Age: 31':



    Thank you for taking the time to view this. If you have any thoughts you would like to share, please do so. I'm curious to know what you think. Within the following are thoughts from ongoing analyses...

    Rneofiltec|cetlifoenR
    It is important to understand that within the Hyrule Encyclopedia is stated Zelda 1's Hyrule takes place in the northeast corner of ALttP's Hyrule, but this book does not account for Breath of the Wild's impact on the geography, and considering extraneous lore was loosely outsourced, it should be taken lightly, but considerably. It wouldn't be totally out of the question though, because that area is tucked away by Death Mountain, which features Spectacle Rock in ALttP as well, so it works if that's the case. And IF that's the case, then the lake in Zelda 1 is not Lake Hylia, but the Light World equivalent of the Lake of Ill Omen, which is the Lanayru Wetlands. Could the Zelda 1 Lake be, instead, the Lanayru Wetlands/Lake of Ill Omen [Light World/Dark World]—? Things to discuss.

    Some conclusions based on this diagramic comparison:
    • Fural Plain is Screen 1, the beginning of the entire series; in place of the Old Man-Wooden Sword-Cave is the Highland Stable:

    • Lake of the Horse God is directly south of Fural Plain and thus, Screen 1 in Zelda 1.
    • Faron Sea is south of the Eastern and Western Faron Grasslands, thus south of the starting region in Zelda 1.
    • The river west of Screen 1 is the Menoat River:

    • Moon Labyrinth is most likely found within Mount Taran/beneath the Rabella Wetlands in East Necluda:

    • Manji Labyrinth is somewhere in Western Faron Grasslands, perhaps in Papetto Grove.
    • The 'Lost Hills' north of the Zelda 1 Desert coincide with West Necluda, home to many leveled and slanted hills, crags, and plains.
    • Ya Naga Shrine is Snake Labyrinth; curiously, a Naga is a mythical serpent being, hmm..
    • What is called 'Death Mountain' in Zelda 1 is not Death Mountain proper, or at least not Death Mountain during the era of The Legend of Zelda/Adventure of Link; it is deliberately and distinctively different, it is Spectacle Rock. Ganon might have named his lair 'Death Mountain' because this was the most profound and symbolic geologic formation between his Gerudo homeland and the Hyrule mainland. Probably why the Wasteland Tower was found atop one half of Spectacle Rock, and Vah Naboris later atop the twin mesa.
    • Lynels in the Western Faron Grasslands are mirrored between LoZ and BotW.
    • Clusters of shops in TLoZ represent villages in BotW; namely Hateno Village and Lurelin Village.
    • It is possible the Eagle Labyrinth Island became the centrum of the Great Bridge of Hylia.
    • This map is of the supposition that TLoZ's northwestern geography may or may not support the presence of the Great Plateau, most likely not. As such, when comparing TLoZ to BotW, it is important to consider that the Great Plateau might not always have been in that exact location, as potentially lifted and placed via Skyloftian fate.
    • As Zelda 2's map shows, the Death Mountain range continues north a longer distance than the focused Faron/Necluda highlight, as the land that extends north in BotW reaches Death Mountain proper, and so in its depiction within Zelda 2, the rest of Hyrule makes up the Death Mountain range as so:

    • ...reflecting on this map comparison, the Hyrule we know is dwarfed by the gargantuan lands that lie beyond, further up the supercontinent that Hyrule seems adhered to, and an island continent larger than Hyrule Proper. It's entirely possible the scale of Zelda 2 is off, but there's no betting on this possibility. pend's flood and tectonic analysis is scientifically sound in a world where magic could be used to excuse anything without a proper explanation, and it aligns beautifully with the entirety of BotW. I rue that this theory I have adhered to contradicts that one, unless we skew the scale of Zelda II's world, then things could begin to make sense, because having a northeastern Maze Island among many other alignments is special.
    • HOWEVER! While basing all theory on in-game content first and foremost is ideal, if we legitimize this auxiliary map’s scale of things for a moment then my theory would mesh perfectly well with pend’s Zelda 2 flooded theory, which is displayed on his theory page. Compare these two. It is unmistakable. These are the same:

    • Conclusively, this means that The Legend of Zelda's geographical Hyrule is comprised mainly of Breath of the Wild's Faron and Necluda regions with slivers of Central Hyrule and Gerudo.
    • More to come...

    After the ongoing development of this article and the thinking that came with it, I created a graphic based on my research into Zelda 1's Hyrule as reflected in BotW coupled with pend's research into Zelda 2's Hyrule as reflected in BotW, as permitted by the scaling levity first presented in the unofficial overworld artwork seen in the collapsible. Consider I took some creative liberty in layering convergent area concepts and thus, names from The Legend of Zelda, The Adventure of Link, and Breath of the Wild appear, with further liberties taken with naming. This is conceptual mind-mapping and again, I credit ZU user: pend for devising the base-AoL-BotW map with the flooded overworld concept at play, which again, I have merged with my understanding of Zelda 1's geography as it's represented in Breath of the Wild, and thus, this emerged:



    O(+>
    There's always a rainbow at the end of every rain.

    The post was edited 15 times, last by Spire ().

  • Very interesting! Fural Plains is almost the first place I went after leaving the Great Plateau (technically, the tower at Lake Hylia was first), so that's a poetic place for the first game to have started.

    Anyway, Menoat River makes a lot of sense to me. Fural Plains matches in relation to that, as do Faron Woods and the eastern ocean at large. I can even accept that square of water as a Lake Floria that's seen better days or is being severely undersold by the graphics. The edges of the map kind of lose me, though. There's a pretty substantial climb between Faron Grasslands and South Lomei Labyrinth that isn't acknowledged on the LoZ map... unless that one staircase is supposed to do that? Why not just have it be partway up into the highlands, around where Ishto Soh Shrine is. Then from there, there's a more substantial climb and you can reach Spectacle Rock from the southeast.

    The major thing that doesn't work for me is that on the LoZ map, it looks like mountains all the way from spectacle rock to what you've labeled Maple Point, whereas on the BotW, there are significantly lower areas between those points. That gives a very different picture of the region's geography.

    I'll probably have more to say later, but that's it for now.
    Goddess of the Sands

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    Forest Architects

    If you have Amiibo Tap: Nintendo's Greatest Bits on Wii U, you can reset which games your amiibo unlock by deleting the game and then redownloading it.
  • Evran_Speer wrote:

    The edges of the map kind of lose me, though. There's a pretty substantial climb between Faron Grasslands and South Lomei Labyrinth that isn't acknowledged on the LoZ map... unless that one staircase is supposed to do that? Why not just have it be partway up into the highlands, around where Ishto Soh Shrine is. Then from there, there's a more substantial climb and you can reach Spectacle Rock from the southeast.


    The major thing that doesn't work for me is that on the LoZ map, it looks like mountains all the way from spectacle rock to what you've labeled Maple Point, whereas on the BotW, there are significantly lower areas between those points. That gives a very different picture of the region's geography.

    I'll probably have more to say later, but that's it for now.
    These are also places I grew confused, or had to stretch the imagination to accept, however, there are the Lost Hills of Zelda 1, which occur in what I've labeled West Necluda/Necluda Desert, which we know to be mountain-encircled hills. I think though, we are dealing with some Northwestern and Midnorthern morphing, as evidenced by Spectacle Rock rotating counterclockwise, while retaining its general vicinity and geological certainty between its classical depictions as having orange-brown sediment in Zelda 1, TotG/ALttP, and now BotW. It's an important historical location, for it was the site of the first final dungeon and our introduction to Ganon in canonical human history, and I think in BotW, its presence at the eastern Gerudo ridge, as a divider from the Midsouthern swath of Faronic greenland and the various similarities with the rest of southeastern Hyrule and Zelda 1's geography, that the Spectacle Rock of BotW demands it be worthy of the name Death Mountain ca. The Legend of Zelda/The Adventure of Link for reasons not yet culturally or historically explained.

    The areas comprising Western Zelda 1 Hyrule are most subject to change, I think, because of this morphing. Struggling to explain it, I wanted to open my findings to you folk, so we could discuss the most appropriate appropriation of BotW elements to explain Zelda 1 geography.

    I think it's also worth noting that in order to create a sense of elevation and scale from a perspective and in a game like the original Legend of Zelda, it was logical to put mountains at the top of the screen, to indicate that they were the highest places. This is a recurring motif throughout the series, and games in general. There are ways to overcome it, but it immediately makes sense, and as such, this would often dictate the shape of older game worlds, and has impacted The Legend of Zelda all the same. Now we, the starving theorists who hunger for the opportunity to explain our observations as we hope our woven threads hold the test of weight that the responding community then dumps to gauge our theories' strengths, find ourselves conceiving explanations for why things change between games when really, it's either because the devs at Nintendo forgot to explain, or they most likely didn't think of, or didn't care to explain. And truthfully, the less we know, the better. Now, in a game like Breath of the Wild, we are handed a massive amount of information in the form of collectible items and equipment. And yet, all of that really just sums up into one bag of thought: objects that come and go. In most cases, impermanence...

    We are lucky Nintendo cares enough to even acknowledge our thirst for explanation, through exploration and exposition. Breath of the Wild is a godsend in congruence, convergence, and artistic evolution through cultural appreciation, via the collection and connection of any and every historical element considered worthy of representation within this ultimate emulation of what it means to live in a Legend of Zelda.

    But back to geography! The Soh Ishto Shrine and the ramp leading up to, including the Stalnox (duh) and the rotting piles of filth is totally the Graveyard and the grey basin beneath, for the graveyard is elevated. The South Lomei Labyrinth would be beyond the western edge of Zelda 1's map. You know, I considered this, but the thought passed before I made the change in the map. And, there are Lynels in the valley basin beneath the Soh Ishto plateau in the Oseira Plains. It's the same. I will make this change in the map.

    I look forward to your future words. I'm glad that which stands out as strength and weakness called you to speak.
    There's always a rainbow at the end of every rain.
  • I really hated how they placed Spectacle Rock in the middle of the Gerudo wasteland, but this makes it look like they did that specifically to reference Zelda 1 because of its position. All the landmarks of Zelda 1 are vague, but the various bodies of water match up nicely here.

    It's a shame that Death Mountiain doesn't match with itself, but that would've cramped the map up too tightly if they designed the world that way. I like the idea that this sets Ganon's lair in Gerudo territory, though.
  • Doctor Professorson wrote:

    I really hated how they placed Spectacle Rock in the middle of the Gerudo wasteland, but this makes it look like they did that specifically to reference Zelda 1 because of its position. All the landmarks of Zelda 1 are vague, but the various bodies of water match up nicely here.

    It's a shame that Death Mountiain doesn't match with itself, but that would've cramped the map up too tightly if they designed the world that way. I like the idea that this sets Ganon's lair in Gerudo territory, though.
    Curiously, they also placed the Northern Icehouse (a Turtle Rock reference) in close proximity to Spectacle Rock, as they were on Death Mountain in ALttP, bar the Light/Dark World difference in features:



    Probably a coincidence or a nod, but not a geographic explanation of where ALttP's Hyrule is.

    I'm really happy to know my explanation settles your unease with Spectacle Rock, and that you see it to be justified now because of Zelda 1's Hyrule. I have devoted an insane amount of time over a concentrated decade+ to studying Hyrule, so recognizing this possible geographic explanation of Zelda 1 within BotW has excited me to no end. To hear this sits well with you and even eases a point of personal contention with Nintendo's design warms my heart.

    And isn't it awesome that his original lair in LoZ is on the eastern cusp of his ancient homeland, overlooking the divide between the desert and the greenery of Hyrule? Glad you noticed that. I bet he caught Zelda when she was visiting the Great Plateau which should, according to this LoZ-BotW alignment, be found just N/NE of the LoZ map. She didn't realize Ganon had made his stronghold within Spectacle Rock, and, this also confirms why there aren't many settlements in Zelda 1—there still aren't by the time BotW occurs.

    NOW, as far as timeline discussion goes, just because BotW has profound similarities to LoZ doesn't suggest it's definitely in the same timeline. Geography is universal and exists across all timelines.

    Cheers
    There's always a rainbow at the end of every rain.

    The post was edited 2 times, last by Spire ().

  • Putting the Lost Hills in West Necluda makes a lot of sense. Honestly, I'd kind of forgotten they existed and was visualizing that area as part of a single uphill slope, similarly to how it's portrayed in this ALttP-style map. Being hills surrounded by mountains fits well with Necluda and opens up a slightly different interpretation of the areas near there; specifically, the area between Spectacle Rock and the Dueling Peaks could also be intended as hills rather than mountains, which would conform better to the BotW map. In addition, that's the area where I think OoT's Lost Woods once stood, so them having the same sort of magic applied would be appropriate.

    I'm glad we agree on the graveyard. It does seem like the northwest corner, especially, is morphed a bit. Even in the southwest, the graveyard works a little better if you bend it counterclockwise so the steps leading to it are east instead of straight south. I personally don't mind that too much, because there are pretty obvious reasons for it; the map is being constrained to a rectangle when realistically, it probably wouldn't be exactly that.

    So, it looks like in the absence of pend's deflooding theory, AoL's Death Mountain area has to stretch all the way from Necluda to Death Mountain proper? I'm curious because I generally don't generally accept the deflooding theory (although it is growing on me).

    I like the idea that Hateno and Lurelin villages grew out of the scatterings of shops in LoZ.
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    Map of Thyphlo Ruins

    Forest Architects

    If you have Amiibo Tap: Nintendo's Greatest Bits on Wii U, you can reset which games your amiibo unlock by deleting the game and then redownloading it.
  • Man, how cool would it have been if you could bomb the side of Spectacle Rock and find a shrine that would be somewhat reminiscent of the original Zelda somehow?

    There's a theory that the Lost Woods used to stand where the Great Plateau now stands. They're very similar in size and shape, and both seem almost entirely isolated from the land around it.

    Why would land swap around? No clue, but it would put the Lost Woods closer to where you'd want them to be.
  • gamtos wrote:

    Man, how cool would it have been if you could bomb the side of Spectacle Rock and find a shrine that would be somewhat reminiscent of the original Zelda somehow?

    There's a theory that the Lost Woods used to stand where the Great Plateau now stands. They're very similar in size and shape, and both seem almost entirely isolated from the land around it.

    Why would land swap around? No clue, but it would put the Lost Woods closer to where you'd want them to be.
    Dude, I had hoped for homages like that in the key spots, like the Screen 1 Old Man Cave with the Wooden Sword; while the geography of Fural Plain aligns, alas, there is no cave in the NW rock-ridge as you might hope.

    I latched onto the idea that the Great Plateau was on the island that is the Great Hyrule Forest in BotW upon first playing the game because:
    • They are roughly the same size and shape
    • Temple of Time / Master Sword
    • BotW flavor text suggests the Great Plateau was not always there
    • Great Plateau is the 'beginning of Hyrulean civilization' so placing it in the Great Hyrule Forest's northern position would posit its classical nature and position in relation to the grand Hyrule Castle seen in the game, and with Death mountain, AND with ALttP
    • Skyward Sword already showed us that this very thing has happened before with Skyloft/Sealed Grounds/Temple of Hylia.
    • Great Plateau being placed in the south suggests it cut off the Gerudo Valley—Lake Hylia flow of the counterclockwise river that winds around Hyrule Field in Ocarina of Time, and that does exist in BotW, but pools in the Gerudo Valley equivalent directly NW of the Great Plateau. This suggests the Great Plateau was lifted and placed NW of Lake Hylia some time after Ocarina of Time and ostensibly before ALttP... Curious. Maybe it had something to do with the Imprisoning War? Maybe the battle with Ganon took place on the Great Plateau, when it was in the north, and Zelda and the Sages lifted the landmass into the sky to isolate Ganon from the world below as they fought to seal him in the Sacred Realm before relocating the plateau to the south for some reason — perhaps to just move the conflict away from the sacred grounds of the north? A lot of supposition here, but evidence as well.
    There's always a rainbow at the end of every rain.

    The post was edited 1 time, last by Spire ().

  • @Spire

    I actually deeply love your idea here, and have essentially incorporated it into my headcanon and maps I've drawn of Hyrule! I did recently discover a location in Four Swords Adventures, however, that provides a teeny bit of conflict with this theory.

    At the base of Death Mountain there is a location called "Hebra's Hill", an identical patch of land to Zelda 1's "Lost Hills", even involving the same escape by moving northward 5x!
















    Should this location just be totally ignored? Your proposal is certainly a far cleaner attempt to line up geographies for Zelda 1/BotW. Even the location names lead credence to your ideas (many of the locations and bridges from BotW, in the proposed NES sections, are named after NES Dungeon Boss')