Zelda's Boss Offers A Giant Disclaimer Over 'Official' Series Timeline

When the "official" timeline for The Legend of Zelda series was first published in a Japanese book, I warned you.

"Be warned... Nintendo may later own up and say this isn't the super-secret official timeline they've been guarding with their lives for decades," I said. "This may be just an 'interpretation'. Or something."

Turns out that was a healthy dose of scepticism, because translations of less sexy parts of the same book reveal that Zelda overseer Eiji Aonuma has thrown up some pretty hefty disclaimers over the canon of the timeline.

Chapter 2, "The Full History of Hyrule", arranges the series in chronological order so it's easier to understand, but from the very beginning, Zelda games have been developed with the top priority of focusing on the game mechanics rather than the story. For example, in Ocarina of Time, the first instalment of the series I was involved in, the main theme was how to create a game with pleasant controls in a 3D world. Or in the DS game, Phantom Hourglass, the focus was having comfortable stylus controls. Finally, in the most recent game, Skyward Sword, we focused on an easy way to swing the sword using the Wii Motion Plus.

Thinking of that way of developing the games, it may be correct to say that the story is an appendix to that. I even think that setting Skyward Sword as the "first story", was merely a coincidence.

While reading over "The Full History of Hyrule", it's possible that some parts may look contradictory. For instance, the Mogma race or the beetle item that appear on the very first story do not appear on any other game that takes place in the future. I'd like to ask everyone just to enjoy the book and to be broad-minded, and to think that those parts are the way they are because of the way Zelda games are developed.

In other words, it's a timeline, sort of, but only in so far as it's what they've thrown together and casually arranged after the fact. So those people stressing out over why some parts fit the provided chronology and some parts don't, relax!

The translation was helpfully provided by Glitterberri, who is also diligently working on translating the rest of the book page-by-page as well. You can check it out at the link below.

Pg. 238 & 239 — Eiji Aonuma on Completing the Edition [GlitterBerri]


    It's probably more accurate to say that they re-write the 'official timeline' everytime they go to develop a new entry in the series.

    I think Miyamoto only claimed there was a 'secret timeline document at Nintendo that we won't reveal' years ago just because fans kept badgering him about it. He really couldn't care less :-P

    That all being said, the third 'failure option' branch from OoT is just a load of Trollin' imo...

    Respect for the honesty though. Don't think anyone ever believed they had the whole thing planned out from the beginning haha. Like Lost.

    I dont like Skyward Sword as the "first" Zelda game, purely because of the un-epic-ness of getting the Master Sword. It just could've done a better job of explaining the origins of the legendary blade.

    Seems pretty simple and from memory he's said similar but less blatant things before. Yes there is a timeline, is it of great importance to the series and carefully crafted to avoid all inconsistencies? No Zelda is first and foremost about gameplay. If you're focusing on the timeline as a vital part of Zelda, you're doing it wrong.

    I don't quite see how this supports his argument as being correct. If anything, the developers are saying that the is the timeline, and that the inconsistencies are boiled down to being developed for gameplay over chronology.

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