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My Thoughts on the Official Timeline

Joined
Jun 1, 2010
Location
Idaho
We all know about the official Zelda timeline. For most of us, figuring out the official timeline is what we seek to achieve when theorizing.
I think too often people tend to speculate too much when creating their timeline theories, by trying to cram them all into a single split timeline. Here I will attempt to create the most accurate official timeline possible, based on developer quotes and obvious connections between the games.

Note: If you don't want to read it all, skip to the bottom.

1. LoZ/AoL - Where it all began. Adventure of Link is confirmed to be a direct sequel to Legend of Zelda, based upon developer quotes and a plot directly based on the events of LoZ. This creates our first timeline.

LoZ/AoL

2. ALttP/LA - A Link to the Past brought Zelda into the 16 bit era, while Link's Awakening brought it to the handheld market. ALttP isn't connected too much to the plot of the previous 8-bit games, but it shows the origins of the Ganon we know in those games, and is confirmed to be a prequel to LoZ. Link's Awakening never had a confirmed place in the timeline, but with the references to ALttP, there is not much reason to place it anywhere else. This leaves the timeline at:

ALttP/LA-LoZ/AoL

3. OoT-MM - Ocarina of Time brought Zelda into 3D. Majora's Mask improved on certain elements of the game, but angered many fans for some of the controversial elements it introduced. The events of OoT were nearly identical to the backstory described in aLttP. It is appropriate to place it before ALttP. MM was a direct sequel to OoT, but only takes place after the child ending, so it creates a separate timeline:

OoT-ALttP/LA-LoZ/AoL
OoT/MM


After this it starts getting difficult.
4. OoS/OoA -Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages were the first original Game Boy Color Zelda titles, but they so not seem to have many connections to any other game in the series, so we will set these in a separate timeline.

OoS/OoA
OoT-ALttP/LA-LoZ/AoL
OoT/MM

5. WW - Wind Waker was Zelda's first outing on the GameCube. It is made completely obvious in game that it is a distant sequel to Ocarina of Time, and it is confirmed by developers. This could very well be an alternate future than established in ALttP, one in which Ganon escaped his seal. This creates another timeline.

OoT-WW
OoT-ALttP/LA-LoZ/AoL
OoT/MM
OoS/OoA

6. FS/FSA/MC - Four Swords was a relatively small mini-game released on the Game Boy Advance with the GBA port of ALttP. Four Swords Adventures was
its direct sequel on the GameCube. Minish Cap was the prequel of these two games, and was truer to the traditional Zelda formula than its predecessors. These games (debateably) have little connection to the rest of the series, and should (debateably) stand alone in a separate timeline. This leaves us with:

MC-FS/FSA
OoT-WW

OoT-ALttP/LA-LoZ/AoL
OoT/MM
OoS/OoA

7. TP - Twilight Princess was the second GameCube Zelda title. It went back to the gameplay style of OoT, while upgrading or changing certain elements for the GameCube. It was also ported to the Wii as a launch title. This game is confirmed to take place after the child ending of OoT, following MM. This changes the OoT child timeline.

OoT/MM-TP
MC-FS/FSA
OoT-WW

OoT-ALttP/LA-LoZ/AoL

OoS/OoA

8. PH/ST - Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks were Zelda's outings on the Nintendo DS. They were completely touch-controlled and introduced new technologies, such as a steamboat and a train. PH is a direct sequel to WW and ST takes place a generation or two after PH. This leaves us nearly finished with this seet of timelines:

OoT-WW/PH-ST
OoT/MM-TP
MC-FS/FSA
OoT-ALttP/LA-LoZ/AoL

OoS/OoA

9. SS - Skyward Sword is the first true Wii Zelda title. It will take advantage of Wii MotionPlus controls and tell the origin story of the Master Sword, along with introducing a new impressionist art style. It is confirmed to be a prequel to OoT, so this would add it to every timeline that contains OoT:

SS-OoT-WW/PH-ST
SS-OoT/MM-TP
SS-OoT-ALttP/LA-LoZ/AoL
MC-FS/FSA
OoS/OoA

This finishes the timeline(s), but we can still link them together using a common denominator, SS-OoT. This would leave the final groundwork for an official timeline looking like this:

------------__/WW/PH-ST
----------/-- -\ALttP/LA-LoZ/AoL
SS-OoT
----------\MM-TP

This still leaves the Four Swords and Oracle games to add. One could consider them official parts of the timeline, or separate games. If I were to add them to the timeline, I would do it like this:

-----------__/WW/PH-ST
----------/--\ALttP/
OoS/OoA/LA-LoZ/AoL
MC-SS-OoT|
----------\----/FS/FSA

-----------
\MM|
---------------\TP


What does everybody think of this timeline? As far as I can tell, no developer quotes or in-game evidence are contradicted. Any comments, questions, or constructive criticisms are welcome.
 
Last edited:

Hylian Knight

Green Armored Menace
Joined
Sep 28, 2010
Location
Florida
Kudo's U've broguht a whole new sight to the timeline thoery I've been trying to piece my own personal timeline since I started to find out that Alttp, OoT, and MM had certain story elements in common but I still haven;t pieced it together. Again thanks for new insight on helping me and other understands the whole timeline
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2010
Location
Idaho
Kudo's U've broguht a whole new sight to the timeline thoery I've been trying to piece my own personal timeline since I started to find out that Alttp, OoT, and MM had certain story elements in common but I still haven;t pieced it together. Again thanks for new insight on helping me and other understands the whole timeline
No problem. It's probably not the exact official timeline but its my best guess. I was actually expecting to get flamed for something like this. If you have any questions or need clarification on something, don't hesitate to ask me.
 

Michael Heide

The 8th Wise Man
Joined
Oct 15, 2010
Location
Cologne, Germany
[/FONT]This still leaves the Four Swords and Oracle games to add. One could consider them official parts of the timeline, or separate games. If I were to add them to the timeline, I would do it like this:

-----------__/WW/PH-ST
----------/--\ALttP/
OoS/OoA/LA-LoZ/AoL
MC-SS-OoT|
----------\----/FS/FSA

-----------
\MM|
---------------\TP

Based on the barely changing topography of Hyrule and the erosion of the temple of time throughout the series, I'd place LttP and the following games on the MM timeline, after Twilight Princess.

And I noticed that you didn't mention Minish Cap at all, yet you placed it at the beginning of the timeline, before SWS. I wonder why you did that. If anything, I'd place it before Four Swords (due to Vaati's involvement), even though I'm not sure if MC-FS/FSA is a string of its own or if it fits somewhere on the other timelines, either before the split or after.
 

Locke

Hegemon
Site Staff
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Location
Redmond, Washington
That's very well done, and is very similar to what I would have constructed. The main difference is that I would have left the FSS out of the main timeline. At one point, FSA was meant to replace OoT as LttP's BS, creating:

......- WW/etc
OoT
...../MM

FS/FSA - LttP/etc

But since that teatable was upended, LttP probably defaulted back to being OoT's sequel, exactly where you have it, and FSA was left out of the loop.

I'm curious as to why you use neither Aonuma's FS "oldest tale" quote nor his more recent "OoT was oldest until now" to determine which one's first. If you're going by dev quotes, I don't see any reason to put MC by itself before SS.
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2010
Location
Idaho
Based on the barely changing topography of Hyrule and the erosion of the temple of time throughout the series, I'd place LttP and the following games on the MM timeline, after Twilight Princess.

And I noticed that you didn't mention Minish Cap at all, yet you placed it at the beginning of the timeline, before SWS. I wonder why you did that. If anything, I'd place it before Four Swords (due to Vaati's involvement), even though I'm not sure if MC-FS/FSA is a string of its own or if it fits somewhere on the other timelines, either before the split or after.
OoT still makes the most sense as the backstory of ALttP. Putting it after TP would involve too much speculation, due to no seal war taking place. Minish Cap was confirmed to be Link's first game. I think the only thing that places it anywhere is the fact that Keatons are not endangered in the game.

That's very well done, and is very similar to what I would have constructed. The main difference is that I would have left the FSS out of the main timeline. At one point, FSA was meant to replace OoT as LttP's BS, creating:

......- WW/etc
OoT
...../MM

FS/FSA - LttP/etc

But since that teatable was upended, LttP probably defaulted back to being OoT's sequel, exactly where you have it, and FSA was left out of the loop.

I'm curious as to why you use neither Aonuma's FS "oldest tale" quote nor his more recent "OoT was oldest until now" to determine which one's first. If you're going by dev quotes, I don't see any reason to put MC by itself before SS.
Yeah, they changed the story of FSA too much for it to make sense as the backstory of ALttP. Besides, OoT is an almost prefect copy of the BS of ALttP.
I put MC before OoT because it seems to make more sense there. I don't think there will be anything to say whether it will be before SS or after, even when SS comes out. I think FS could have been the oldest tale, until FSA came out, featuring Ganondorf. I also agree Four Swords could be a separate series, but this is how I would place it if it were on the main timeline.
 

Locke

Hegemon
Site Staff
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Location
Redmond, Washington
I think FS could have been the oldest tale, until FSA came out, featuring Ganondorf.
The quote went somthing like "We see FS as the oldest tale, with the one for the Gamecube [FSA] coming after that." So he had both games in mind when he said that. I don't remember if this was before or after the tea table incident though.
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2010
Location
Idaho
The quote went somthing like "We see FS as the oldest tale, with the one for the Gamecube [FSA] coming after that." So he had both games in mind when he said that. I don't remember if this was before or after the tea table incident though.
I believe he mentioned FSA being sometime after FS, but I don't think FSA fits before OoT at all, though it fits quite nicely as a direct sequel to FS. I also think his oldest tale statements could just apply to the Four Swords timeline.
 

DuckNoises

Gone (Wind) Fishin'
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Location
Montreal, QC, Canada
Minish Cap was confirmed to be Link's first game.
This is not confirmed. The only place this has been implied is in the ending of the Japanese version of the game; this is not really implied in the English text. Besides, if we are correct in assuming the stories in the game are intended to be identical despite regional differences, the meaning of the Japanese text is likely referring to it being the first adventure of that specific Link, rather than the first adventure of any Link. Besides, wouldn't it feel horrendously out of place if the game had actually meant it for it to clearly state that it was the first adventure of any Link? It wouldn't be relevant to the story, and it would disrupt the flow and narrative of the game by making such a non sequitur. Aonuma has already stated that he doesn't want any game to be overtly stated as the "first" game in the timeline; if TMC were so early on in the timeline, why wouldn't he have mentioned it any of his interviews about Skyward Sword?

I think the only thing that places it anywhere is the fact that Keatons are not endangered in the game.
I don't think this argument has much weight. The only other place Keatons have existed is in Termina, which is not located in Hyrule, and not the same reality/dimension/etc. as Hyrule. Secondly, Keatons aren't "endangered" in MM; they are spirits who appear rarely in Termina, particularly to children; this notion is very similar to many folk tales told to children to encourage good behaviour.
Here are a few things that MM text says about Keaton:
Keaton said:
But you're a good child...
Let me put you to a test.
Keaton Mask Description said:
Keaton Mask
The mask of the ghost fox,
Keaton. Wear it with (C).
Child from Clock Town said:
What? Oh, a mask?
I've seen a real Keaton near the
slide!

At any rate, Keatons have little weight as an argument for TMC, because they had absolutely nothing to do with the story of TMC. They were just present as enemies, with no background story for them. I don't see much of a connection.

Do you have any other explanations to why TMC is placed first?

Also, in just a general comment on the original post as a whole, you tend not to mention the plot of each respective game, and instead mention what console it was on or what it did for the franchise's recognition; why have you put them where you have, in regards to in-game evidence?
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2010
Location
Idaho
This is not confirmed. The only place this has been implied is in the ending of the Japanese version of the game; this is not really implied in the English text. Besides, if we are correct in assuming the stories in the game are intended to be identical despite regional differences, the meaning of the Japanese text is likely referring to it being the first adventure of that specific Link, rather than the first adventure of any Link. Besides, wouldn't it feel horrendously out of place if the game had actually meant it for it to clearly state that it was the first adventure of any Link? It wouldn't be relevant to the story, and it would disrupt the flow and narrative of the game by making such a non sequitur. Aonuma has already stated that he doesn't want any game to be overtly stated as the "first" game in the timeline; if TMC were so early on in the timeline, why wouldn't he have mentioned it any of his interviews about Skyward Sword?


I don't think this argument has much weight. The only other place Keatons have existed is in Termina, which is not located in Hyrule, and not the same reality/dimension/etc. as Hyrule. Secondly, Keatons aren't "endangered" in MM; they are spirits who appear rarely in Termina, particularly to children; this notion is very similar to many folk tales told to children to encourage good behaviour.
Here are a few things that MM text says about Keaton:


At any rate, Keatons have little weight as an argument for TMC, because they had absolutely nothing to do with the story of TMC. They were just present as enemies, with no background story for them. I don't see much of a connection.

Do you have any other explanations to why TMC is placed first?

Also, in just a general comment on the original post as a whole, you tend not to mention the plot of each respective game, and instead mention what console it was on or what it did for the franchise's recognition; why have you put them where you have, in regards to in-game evidence?
There is not much evidence to place the Minish Cap anywhere on the timeline. The only solid evidence places it at least a couple generations before Four Swords. For me, Minish Cap just seems to fit better before OoT. I am not going to debate whether Termina is is in an alternate dimension or not, but MC is the only game that takes place in Hyrule where Keatons appear at all, while they are just referenced in OoT. I believe they became endangered, like rabbits.
I think at least the core timeline should be self-explanatory. ALttP-LoZ takes place if Ganon doesn't escape his seal while WW takes place if he does.
To explain my placement of FS/A, it takes place if Vaati escapes his seal from the Four Sword, eventually leading to Ganon being imprisoned in the Four Sword, which would prevent the events of TP, but I don't remember much about FSA. This would probably also depend on whether Ganondorf invades Hyrule or steals the Trident.
I put OoX between ALttP and LA since there is no evidence to place it anywhere else. Links Awakening explains that Link was coming back from his travels when he crash-landed on Koholint. At the linked ending of OoX, he is leaving on a boat to travel back to Hyrule, I think. I think the timeline I made makes sense, but if you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask.
 
Joined
Oct 17, 2009
Location
manhattan
it is very good, the only thing i wonder is, where did you get the two extra splits. the original split only happened because of Zelda messing with time. but there isn't any time messing up between OoT and WW/ALttP. what I think would work better would be putting ALttP/OoS/OoA/LA-LoZ/AoL in the child timeline after TP. also, FS/FSA might be able to fit on the same timeline as TP. because i really have no idea wher those extra splits came from.
 

Locke

Hegemon
Site Staff
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Location
Redmond, Washington
it is very good, the only thing i wonder is, where did you get the two extra splits. the original split only happened because of Zelda messing with time. but there isn't any time messing up between OoT and WW/ALttP. what I think would work better would be putting ALttP/OoS/OoA/LA-LoZ/AoL in the child timeline after TP. also, FS/FSA might be able to fit on the same timeline as TP. because i really have no idea wher those extra splits came from.
He wasn't trying to create the timeline that works the best. He was trying to guess at the developers' intent of the timeline. Those splits aren't actual splits in the timeline. They're two alternate timelines, one of which was retconned/replaced by the other. For example, LttP-...-AoL originally followed OoT, but then WW came in and took their place without offering an alternate placement for them. Therefore they now both follow OoT. It's sort of like two objects occupying the same space at the same time. It doesn't make any sense, but that's probably the sort of thing they have right now. They're trying to fix it up though.
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2010
Location
Idaho
it is very good, the only thing i wonder is, where did you get the two extra splits. the original split only happened because of Zelda messing with time. but there isn't any time messing up between OoT and WW/ALttP. what I think would work better would be putting ALttP/OoS/OoA/LA-LoZ/AoL in the child timeline after TP. also, FS/FSA might be able to fit on the same timeline as TP. because i really have no idea wher those extra splits came from.
ALttP and WW are alternate futures. WW takes place if Ganon escapes his seal from the Sacred Realm, and ALttP takes place if he doesn't, since he is still sealed in ALttP. I think it makes much more sense than the FSA-ALttP timeline, as that requires placing a whole separate event that doesn't take place in any of the games, in the timeline.
He wasn't trying to create the timeline that works the best. He was trying to guess at the developers' intent of the timeline. Those splits aren't actual splits in the timeline. They're two alternate timelines, one of which was retconned/replaced by the other. For example, LttP-...-AoL originally followed OoT, but then WW came in and took their place without offering an alternate placement for them. Therefore they now both follow OoT. It's sort of like two objects occupying the same space at the same time. It doesn't make any sense, but that's probably the sort of thing they have right now. They're trying to fix it up though.
I think it makes much more sense than any other placement I've seen. See my reply above.
 

Michael Heide

The 8th Wise Man
Joined
Oct 15, 2010
Location
Cologne, Germany
ALttP and WW are alternate futures. WW takes place if Ganon escapes his seal from the Sacred Realm, and ALttP takes place if he doesn't, since he is still sealed in ALttP.
That sounds reasonable, but what do you think triggered this particular split? I mean, we know how how the MM/TP timeline branched off from the WW/PH/ST timeline. Zelda sent Link back to the past to prevent Ganondorf's rise to power. If LttP is yet another timeline, it must have branched off at some time. But when and why?
 

PhantomTriforce

I am a Person of Interest
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Location
Ganon's Tower
Hey! So you gave up on the linear timeline? This is a pretty good timeline. Like you, I believe that ALttP/LA go on the AT. But what is your explanation for FS/FSA being on a different place than TP? How did that split occur?
 

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