Breath Of The Wild Doesn’t Fit Anywhere On The Zelda Timeline

Breath Of The Wild Doesn’t Fit Anywhere On The Zelda Timeline

The Zelda timeline has long been a matter of dispute among fans, but after the release of Hyrule Historia, they finally have an official ordering of the games in the series. After the release of Breath of the Wild, that’s all in dispute, again.

The only official word from Nintendo on where Breath of the Wild takes place in the timeline is that it’s after Ocarina of Time, as confirmed in a Game Informer interview with series creator Shigeru Miyamoto and producer Eiji Aonuma. That’s not much help to fans, as most games in the official timeline take place after that game.

According to Hyrule Historia, an art book which was penned in part by Aonuma, the time travel in Ocarina of Time, where Link went back in time to warn Zelda about Ganon, caused a split in the timeline. One such split lead to the universe where Ganon comes back and is unopposed, as Link went back in time, and created the universe where Wind Waker exists. The universe where Zelda is warned about Ganon by a time travelling Link accounts for Majora’s Mask, Twilight Princess and Four Swords Adventures. There’s also a third timeline, one where Link falls to Ganon, which eventually leads to the original Legend of Zelda games.

Here, let’s make this a bit less confusing:

TIMELINE 1: Link goes back in time, leaving Hyrule without a hero -> Wind Waker

TIMELINE 2: Link returns to Hyrule as a child -> Majora’s Mask -> Twilight Princess

TIMELINE 3: Link falls to Ganon -> Hyrule is in decline -> Eventually, The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link

Given the plot of Breath of the Wild — Ganon was defeated by the Divine Beasts 10,000 years ago, and then fought again 100 years ago — most fans feel like the game must exist in the far future of one of these three timelines. But which one?

There’s sound evidence for the Wind Waker timeline. Breath of the Wild has Koroks, woodland sprites that had only appeared in Wind Waker previously. The human-bird hybrid race, the Rito, were also only in Wind Waker, although they look very different in Breath of the Wild. Players can also use an item called Rock Salt in their cooking, and the item description says it is, “crystallised rock from the ancient sea.” The world of Wind Waker was covered by an expansive ocean — who’s to say that ocean hasn’t receded in the intervening years?

But some other fans feel like the game presents contradicting evidence for that theory. In particular, you can visit the Temple of Time in the Great Plateau, which is a landmark that appears in older Zelda games. The Wind Waker timeline concludes with the founding of a new Hyrule, in a land distinctly different from the old Hyrule.

Furthermore, when you talk to Impa in Kakariko Village, she tells you that the history of Hyrule is also the history of the Calamity Ganon, who attacked Hyrule multiple times. Aounuma has repeatedly said that this is a hint as to where Breath of the Wild appears on the timeline. As YouTuber HMK points out in his video theorizing where Breath of the Wild fits in the timeline, the Wind Waker universe was only attacked by Ganon twice: once during Ocarina of Time, and again during the events of Wind Waker. Ganon doesn’t make an appearance in the games set in New Hyrule.

Ganon is more closely tied to other two timelines, where he makes repeat appearances. Some fans think a line of dialogue from one of Link’s lost memories, where he is knighted by Princess Zelda as the Hero of Hyrule, is the key to discovering which one. She says, “Whether skyward bound, adrift in time, or steeped in the glowing embers of twilight…” apparently referencing Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time, and Twilight Princess. Skyward Sword is the origin story of Hyrule, and Ocarina of Time is where the timeline splits, but Twilight Princess takes place after that split, in the timeline where Link goes back to childhood to warn Zelda about Ganon.

There’s also the dubious canonity of Wolf Link, which can appear in Breath of the Wild if you have a Twilight Princess amiibo. While this evidence is shaky, if you count this appearance as canon, Breath of the Wild must take place after Twilight Princess. (Of course, buying the expansion pass also allows Link to wear a t-shirt with a Nintendo Switch logo on it. Unless we surmise that Breath of the Wild is also set in the same universe as Nintendo’s newest console, we might want to say that Amiibo and DLC aren’t canon.)

Some fans insist that there’s also enough evidence to place Breath of the Wild in the timeline where Link falls to Ganon, however. Ganon also attacks Hyrule multiple times in the timeline where Link falls to him, but the biggest piece of evidence that fans have for this timeline is the location of the Master Sword.

In the other two timelines, the Master Sword is left in very specific places. In Wind Waker, it’s at the bottom of the ocean, stuck in Ganon’s head, and in Twilight Princess it’s in the ruins of the Temple of Time. The Temple of Time is in the Great Plateau in Breath of the Wild, and the Master Sword is in the Lost Woods. As Calamity Ganon is currently ravaging Hyrule Castle, clearly it’s not in his head.

In Breath of the Wild, the Master Sword is in a grove in the Lost Woods, at the same exact location it’s found in The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link. YouTuber Zeltic points out that the flowers that surround the Master Sword are also in the same location as those games, implying that it’s the same grove.

Each timeline placement theory has strong evidence, but also enough has now been discovered in game that contradicts these theories. Personally, I’d love for this to be the far future of the Wind Waker universe, as that game is my favourite in the series. But Breath of the Wild is a huge game — as time goes on, fans may find new evidence that weighs one timeline over the others. Or maybe they will just be holding out hope until Nintendo drops another hint.


  • I have a theory that it’s set so far in the future that the events of all 3 timelines have essentially synced up so it’s somehow set after all of them at the same time.

    • I agree with this too. Been thinking about all the little throwbacks to the other games and it feels like the best fit.
      Plus, there’s Urbosa’s comments after you free her spirit – Naboris was named for Nabooru, which puts OOT at least 10,000 years before Breath of the Wild. I feel like with that much time in between, it doesn’t really matter which branch of the timeline it’s from.

    • Memory 1. Zelda recalls some of the games from the majoras mask and twilight timeline. Rewatch the memory and listen to what she says.

    • Very unlikely. The article is kind of overblowing it. Sure there’s geographic nods to LoZ, and nods to Wind Waker with the Koroks, but the fact is there’s no direct evidence for the events of any of the other two timelines taking place besides the Twilight Princess timeline (child link, fyi). In fact, it’s entirely possible the Great Flood from Wind Waker was caused by the elephant Divine Beast, which magically generates water – the flood happens about 100 years before WW, which is also how long ago prior to BotW the Divine Beasts were used against Hyrule by Ganon. If that’s so, then you’d have to conclude that the WW timeline cannot have occurred in BotW.

      Plus, it would be crazy for them to merge the timelines on the other side and NOT make that the core plot of a Zelda game. I hold out hope that Nintendo exists long enough to one day play The Legend of Zelda: Unification, or whatever clever title they give it.

      • Read the walls in Zora’s domain. It specifically mentions Ruto sealing Ganon away. This only happens in the wind waker timeline, as link either fails to seal Ganon, or Ganon fails to rise to power otherwise. The twilight realm, being a separate universe, may be removed from the linearity of time in Hyrule. It exists in all three timelines although it has only interacted (to our present knowledge) directly with one. We know from the description of Ruto sealing Ganon that this must be Windwaker’s timeline. The only conflicting evidence I can find is that the gerudo still exist after the flood somehow. Even then there could have been another island in the great sea that we never found. Ganon could have returned to this timeline dozens of time after the hero of wind left and the sea receeded. Future games may tell those stories.

          • You clearly didn’t read the comment you’re replying to. No one said Ruto was in Wind Waker, the comment was about events in Ocarina of Time. They were saying only in the fork that leads to Wind Waker does Ruto seal Ganon.
            However I was under the impression the sages sealed Ganon in the ‘fall’ timeline too, it’s just they do so after Ganon has successfully claimed the triforce parts of courage and wisdom from Link and Zelda (that’s why Ganon is in the Golden Land/Sacred Realm/Dark World in LttP).

        • Except that The Gerudo Divine Beast pilot specifically mentions that Naboris is DIRECTLY named after Nabooru, whom helped defeat Ganon in ages past..So there is also evidence that it takes place in the OOT timeline, because Nabooru ONLY existed in that game.

          • Ocarina of time doesn’t have its own timeline. It is where the timeline splits. We know for certain that the sages awakened in the windwaker adult timeline because logic tells us that in that timeline had the awakened sages in it. Also there are murals of all of the sages in the windwaker. In the downfall timeline, the sages must have also awakened because link was defeated in the final battle with ganondorf (the baseball with magic one). In the child timeline, they could have been awakened after link left to help defeat ganondorf in the war he put up to keep trying for the triforce to seal him away. We see sages in twilight princess sealing away ganondorf. They could not be the ancient sages because one dies sealing ganondorf away. If he was an ancient sage he would be a ghost or something and not be able to die. Nabooru would not have to even be a sage. She could have turned on ganondorf in the war like she did in ocarina of time. She could have been a spy and would have been a war hero. She still is a war hero and she still technically helped defeat ganondorf.

      • The great sea has already been explained in WW, the goddesses (farore, din and nayru) are the ones who created it, they flooded hyrule and told the ones who would carry on the kingdom above the waves to seek shelter on the mountain tops. It says they created a torrential downpour, as in they flooded it with heavy rain. As far as your proof that it doesn’t take place in the WW timeline, you’re saying that since the divine beast were taken over 100 years ago in BotW and since the great flood happened 100 years ago in WW that they can’t take place in the same timeline because OOT and BotW would be happening at the same time, however you’re forgetting the 10,000 year gap in between when the divine beasts were first dug up and when they were defeated by calamity ganon 100 years ago, if you take this into account the timeline actually matches up just fine. There is AT LEAST 10,100 years in between OOT and BotW, 100 years into that is when the world would’ve been flooded due to the sages seal from OOT weakening, ganon escaping and the inhabitants of hyrule pleading to the gods to deal with ganon. That leaves 9,900 years left over, as BotW is 100 years that need to be subtracted from the total of 10,100 years as well, the other 200 are accounted for, we already know what happened in them (OOT and BotW). 9,900 years is plenty of time for ganon to have returned again and again. What’s funny too is that we don’t even know that it has JUST been 10,100 years since OOT, just that 10,000 years ago from BotW the divine beasts were dug up. We can actually tell that it has been even longer than that since it says within BotW that the divine beasts hadn’t even been BUILT yet at the time that Ruto aided the hero of time. 10,000 years ago the divine beasts had already been a relic of the past, buried underground. Since there is no way of knowing how much time is in between OOT and “10,000 years ago” in BotW i’ll just be discussing the 10,100 years. There’re obvious problems with BotW sharing the timeline with WW though:

        1. The king of red lions wished on the triforce to “wash away” the ancient land of hyrule, a wish on a fully completed triforce is supposed to be absolute, there should no longer be a hyrule to go back to in this timeline. If BotW is in this timeline, it’d mean that hyrule would’ve had to survive the power of the triforce AND last 10,000 years for us to see it’s ruins in BotW. 2. Ganondorf appeared to have died in WW, for good. If the hero of winds killed Ganondorf 10,000 years ago then how is Ganon still kicking it in BotW? I suppose one could argue that he only killed ‘ganondorf’, ganon’s mortal shell, but why is the master sword not in ganondorf’s head? I suppose we don’t know where it was before Zelda put it in the pedestal in front of the great deku tree, maybe it had been retrieved from ganondorf’s head?
        3. WW has sequels that would have to go parallel on the timeline with whatever occurred in the 9,900 uncounted for years. I’m not sure how much time is in between WW, PH and ST, but during these years the hero’s soul would be in new hyrule. Since the Zelda in ST is Tetra’s granddaughter it is likely that ST takes place only about 100 years after WW (if Tetra had kids at 30 and Tetra’s kids had kids at 30 resulting in ST zelda, that’d just be 60 years). I don’t believe there could be multiple Links in the same world at once, so since the hero is canonically in new hyrule during these years nothing could have been happening in old hyrule during the 100 years that the sequels take place since (i think) there can only be one link at a time. I suppose old hyrule could still have been buried under the great sea during these years. 4. The ruins of castle town from twilight princess and the ruins of arbiter’s grounds are evident in BotW as well as a mentioning of the hero of twilight (i’ll leave out the mentioning of the skyward hero and the hero of time as they’re from before the timeline split and when the timeline split took place respectively), twilight princess in it’s entirety takes place in another timeline (the child timeline).

        Given all of the evidence against it being in the adult timeline, i just can’t really see it being after WW… I know i’ve been pleading WW’s case up until now, but i personally think it obviously comes after TP. You had been arguing that the timelines don’t match up, i just wanted you to know that they do, it’s actually the EVENTS within the timeline that don’t add up. WW COULD easily fit within the 10,100 years between OOT and BotW. The koroks are in BotW because hyrule has been struck with a calamity, in the same way the great sea was a calamity that the kokiri had to evolve to handle, calamity ganon’s reign has proven too much for the kokiri to handle in their human forms. The Rito are a little harder to pin down, in WW it is explained that the Rito HAVE to have a scale from Valoo to grow their wings. What i think happened is that the zoras evolved into the rito via magical means in WW (valoo’s scales) while as in BotW they evolved naturally in the face of the calamity which would explain why they look different to the rito in WW. The geography looking the same as TLoZ isn’t even something to blink at as it is hyrule. It is all the same hyrule. I don’t consider the wolf link amiibo canon, just fanservice, though if they’re in the same timeline i suppose it could be canon. Only thing that strikes me weird about BotW being in the child timeline after TP is that even though Ruto is expressly mentioned in BotW there is no mention of her death in the time prior to TP, she died in the struggle against ganondorf when the triforce of power appeared on his hand and they then sealed ganondorf in the twilight realm. You could argue that those are different sages, but it’s only been 100 years since OOT (humans can live to be 100 years old, what about kokiri, gorons and zoras? Sheikha and gerudo? Who knows the life span in hyrule?) and the sages have the medallions from OOT apparent on their being. Maybe the zoras just wanted to keep her exploits alive?

        • I didn’t read this whole post as I’m just not interested enough. However, I just want to point out that the Divine Beasts were NOT ancient relics 10,000 years ago, they were CREATED 10,000 years ago. They were ‘ancient relics dug from the ground’ 100 years prior to the events of Breath of the Wild. In the history told to Link in BoTW after he awakens Impa clearly states that the Divine Beasts were made 10,000 years ago, during Hyrule’s technologically advanced period, along with the towers and shrines. The time when they were excavated, when they were buried underground and considered ancient relics, was only 100 years ago in BoTW’s past, not 10,000.

          • Oh, and as a side note, I’d just like to add that I do believe BoTW takes place in the Child timeline. Just because it mentions Ruto as a sage doesn’t mean the Adult timeline. After all, the Child timeline ends with them all as children, their adult lives are still unaccounted for. For all we know Link came back to Hyrule from Termina and reunited with Zelda, Ruto etc to stop another threat from Ganon. Twilight Princess even confirms the Hero’s return to Hyrule as the golden wolf/Hero’s Shade is the OoT Link, lamenting that his deeds in OoT and Majora’s Mask have not been remembered.

        • The true ending of Zelda breath of the Wild Zelda clearly states that link truly is the hero of Hyrule. Not the hero of the Wild not the hero Resurrection he is clearly called the hero of Hyrule

      • Did Yall ever stop and think that the game is talking about 10,000 years AFTER Skyward sword and not 10,000 Years after the ocarina of time events? Merging all the timelines together?? Also there is a Korok in the fallen hero timeline, remember when you get the flute in a link to the past, what the hell did that kokiri turned into? thank you very much….but in all seriousness yall should start thinking its 10,000 years after the events of skyward sword

      • In the true ending of breath of the Wild Zelda clearly calls link you truly are the hero of Hyrule. He’s the hero of Hyrule not the hero of the wild not the hero Resurrection

    • I hate to break the news, but this scenario isn’t even theoretically feasible. You see, what you are proposing is that these 3 different timelines suddenly just tie back into one, however time can only split, it cannot combine again. Doing so would create 3 timelines worth of history that would conflict with each other, basically they killed Ganon, they sealed Ganon, and Ganon still won, all at the same time. Sure, it might sound nice to fit them together in the gaps, but you have to consider that Hyrule should be considered a real place for this and they’d still have other events that happen outside of defeating Ganon every so often.

          • uhhh… It very much so does exist: “The Mandela Effect is a name given to the phenomenon of the collective misremembering of specific facts or events.”

          • That’s just a meta-physics theory about consciousness only remaining in realities where it survives, possibly forever. It has nothing to do with timelines going back together after having split, which is what you’re suggesting. If the Mandela Effect were real, it would only mean that we (sentient consciousnesses) are travelling to different timelines, not bringing the old one’s with us, bringing the memory of them sometimes or just children’s books apparently. Also the whole thing is wack, there’s totally proof that Berenstain has been spelt both ways in this reality. The whole thing likely just comes from the fact that the logo is in cursive so the i or a at the end gets confused for the other.

    • The master sword wasn’t in Legend of Zelda OR Adventure of Link. The sacred grove also was not in the Lost Woods in LOZ and no lost woods was in Zelda 2. That all originated in A Link to the Past. Also if if you play Twilight Princess hd the botw Ritos are on the bas relief in castle town. This is only the wii u version. Furthermore Aonuma said he wanted everyone to play Twilight Princess hd before playing botw. I’m going out on a limb here and saying botw takes place in the TP timeline (child link timeline). Also Zeldas reference to OOT in the memory is likely a reference to Mojoras Mask since OOT never technically happened in that timeline. Cheers!

    • This was my theory as well! I want this. Hoping Nintendo is on the same page. Please. Timeline unification game!

  • That’s because the timeline is dumb and pointless.

    My head cannon is that it’s just a retelling of a similar legend each time.

  • My theory is that its after twilight princess but so far in the future that the the bird people have evolved; also one theory is that the koroks are in this form becuase hyrule has become so dangerous and they are more mobile and better protected in the same way that they needed to change into this form to survive the dangerous seas in the windwaker timeline

    • It’s definitely after Twilight princess.
      People are getting hung up on koroks + Ruto = windwaker.

      Yet, koroks were the previous Kokiri kids that never grew up. They eventually turned into the koroks. Yes. They are in WW, because they evolved over time between OOT and WW.
      Similarly with the Ruto.

      Same thing still happens, just in the TP branch of the timeline. The Kokiri always will evolve into Koroks given enough time. So, 10,000 years between OOT and WW that happened, and 10,000 years between TP and BOTw it happened. Again, similar with the Ruto.

      Zelda explicitly stated in BOTW about the Twilight realm, SS and OOT.

      • I think it’s in the failed hero timeline beacause the enemy the lynel and the tunic of the wild beacause of game theory’s video about it

      • Zelda did explicitly mention the Twilight Realm, but that doesn’t mean you can just chuck the game into the child era. BotW Zelda was simply reciting a ceremony over Link, a ceremony that was likely written by a previous Zelda over the last 10,000+ years. We know that BotW Zelda’s mother had at least the Triforce of Wisdom (possibly the whole triforce), and that most of her ancestors did as well, so the Queen (or princess) that wrote that ceremony likely had the Triforce of Wisdom and very well could have been referencing the hero’s adventures in a different timeline that she saw through the triforce. Also the Twilight Realm exists in all the timelines, the Interloper War happened before Ocarina of Time, which also explains why the arbiter grounds and the Twilight Mirror show up in BotW. It really still could be any timeline, you can’t say that it’s FOR SURE in any one yet. There’s a lot of evidence for the adult era besides the koroks, but I really don’t want to get into it so I’ll just tell you to go re-read the zora history tablets and pay real close attention to what it says about Ruto.

      • No one has brought up the existence of Lynels in BOTW, which are exclusive to the downfall timeline. Also the stripe on Link’s hat in the armor of the wild set; again only in other downfall timeline games.

  • The world of Wind Waker was covered by an expansive ocean — who’s to say that ocean hasn’t receded in the intervening years?

    The fact that Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks are the same universe and have much more landmass didn’t confirm this already?

    Also, the presence of the Great Plateau doesn’t preclude the game being on the Wind Waker timeline, because all three timelines branched off an original timeline. Maybe there’s more than one Temple of Time, or subsequent to Wind Waker they moved it back to its old location?

    Why does it have to be tied into a previous game at all? Maybe it’s intended to be a fresh slate for the franchise?

    • Wasn’t the fresh slate skyward sword?
      Not trying to sound smart ass or anything. I just thought that it was meant to be the fresh slate as everything originated from it and demise being the original evil that is continually reborn throughout time in different manifestations.

      • Sort of but not really – Skyward Sword is the new origin point for the timeline, explaining where the Master Sword comes from.

        I was more meaning that they could do all sorts of things if they wanted, like maybe this is a timeline where Link was defeated as an Adult where the old ‘darkest timeline’ was where he was defeated as a child (I mean, it branches two ways if he beats Ganon as a child or an adult already…). Maybe it’s based off a timeline where he slipped on a deku nut at the start of Ocarina and broke his neck and Tingle became the Hero of Time instead? 😛

        It’s kind of useless to speculate, got to wait for a definitive answer.

  • I personally think it will be in the timeline of the fallen hero. I don’t have any evidence but I personally liked the decline of Hyrule story line and if we look at what Hyrule has become in BoTW it is in complete decline.

    • That episode solidified my love for the series.

      So funny the whole way through before ending on such a dark and heavy note.

      • Oh that season finale absolutely ripped my guts out. Ending on “Hurt” by Trent Reznor was both amazing and harrowing, but their own little touch,

        “I’m Jerry Smith, and I love sucking big, sweaty [bleep] And licking disgusting furry tes ticle sacks”
        “Uh………….ok sir?”


  • There is no timeline. It’s a retelling in the same world using newer and newer technologies. Obviously variations come with new gameplay but the overall is the same. Save Zelda, Fight Gannondorf. Wash rinse repeat….but in a good way

    • “There is no Zelda, or Gannondorf. It’s actually all just a video game being made by a company with access to newer and newer technology, being played by overly observant nerds with nothing better to do. Obviously new theories will come up with the new games but the overall is the same. Press buttons, make new theories. Wash rinse repeat…. but in a fun way.”

      That’s you, and how much sense and not sense you made. Obviously there’s a timeline, that much has literally been confirmed by Nintendo with a literal book. So let us have fun arguing the finer details of Darwinian evolution and get angry at people who misunderstand how 10,000 years doesn’t mean only 10,000 years.

  • I dont see why including the Rito or Korok in the game where they werent in other story lines makes a problem. it’s not like they couldn’t have existed in the other timelines and just not been in an area explored within those games.

    Also I don’t believe where we find the Master Sword in Breath of the Wild has any real baring because this is only the location where the stword is deposited 100 years before. The platform for it never existed in Ocarina of time after the Deku Tree was renewed, in all likelihood it has been housed there previously but we don’t know where Link find’s it 100 years prior.

    The Breath of the wild story line even suggests that they had to excavate large parts of Hyrule to find the master beasts and guardians. which means that the advanced technology could precede both ocarina of time and skyward sword.

    Going on the quote from the memory where Zelda mentions ‘Skyborne’, ‘adrift in time’ and ‘steeped in twilight’ we have to be following the Twilight Princess arc to some degree (and we don’t necessarily know how many times Ganon has appeared in this world as the expanse of time could amount to many cycles of this awakening).

    As for the sword not being in Ganon’s head being some sort of sure sign of this not following that time line, Calamity Ganon seems to take on many forms, the spirit and not the body being the true Ganon (pretty sure the cut scene covers this). There is no reason the sword couldn’t have been found in the skull of the previous iteration of Ganon while his new form wroughts Hyrule.

    Only thing that throws me is the rock salt, and ‘Ancient Sea’ (but does this flavor text actually suggest that the Ancient Sea actually covered all the land? (suggesting Wind Waker)

    • But 10,000 years ago they fought Ganon with the divine beasts, OoT is Ganon’s origin story so it has to be after that right?

      • Only if it was literally Ganondorf. “Ganon” is basically the title given to any being who is possessed by the spirit of Demise after Ocarina (which I think is only relevant info for a single game, where a new Gerudo takes the name Ganon). It’s possible that between Skyward Sword and Ocarina there was a technological boom, and a Gerudo attempted to resurrect Demise (there’s an unused “Chaos Era” where this could fit), causing a Link and Zelda to stop him with the help of their giant magic-powered mechs. Which were then buried and lost until 100 years prior to BotW.

        It might also be something that happened prior to Skyward Sword, since there are ancient robots in the Lanayru desert. But given how long ago Skyward Sword already occurs, to include whatever golden age those robots were from feels like MUCH longer than 10,000 years. But who knows. The canon timeline has no concept of scale to it, so there’s no way to be sure.

  • Are you sure they didn’t just make up the time line?

    I mean we have a timeline but it clearly doesn’t make sense and obviously doesn’t need to.
    Seems more like an extra something for nothing kinda deal that plays in to the returning Gannon angle.

  • Secret pastebin dump from a rival outlet reveals the true story explaining everything!

    We got lead designer Eiji Aonuma heavily drunk in an izakaya one night and broke our promise to stay off-the-record to get the real story, and he had this to say:
    “For fuck’s sake, have you seen these fan-theories? These people are fucking crazy. Seriously, there is no time-line, each game is a stand-alone thing that recycles bits and pieces to seem consistent with the themes we’re going for. God I hate gamers.”

  • Are you guys nuts. It’s clear from the first cut scene memory that it takes place after twilight princess. Who cares if koroks and bird characters appear in wind Waker first. Nintendo re-uses ideas all the time. It doesn’t mean those species just didn’t happen.
    Also wolf Link showing up just confirms twilight princess thing. Case closed

    • The problem isn’t them appearing in Wind Waker. The problem is the Rito being descended from the Zora, and the Koroks being the new form the Kokiri take because of the flood.

    • Nothing in the first scene memory really points BOTW to be pointed after twilight princess. Also the wolf showing up from using the amibo function doesn’t really confirm anything either, its more of a fun Easter egg, like how the other amibos can give you stuff besides gear from that specific game.

      • Here’s a direct quote from the first memory: “Whether skyward bound, adrift in time, or steeped in the glowing embers of twilight, the sacred blade if forever bound to the soul of the Hero”. So my question to you: Did you even watch the first memory? Twilight Princess, along with Skyward Sword and Ocarina of Time are clearly referenced to within that statement. How can you claim nothing points towards BOTW being after TP?

        • That quote seems to reference the Twilight Realm, not necessarily Twilight Princess.

        • While that quote does mention the twilight realm, it could just be mentioning just that and not the events of TP. It could also be mention the events of TP and still not be in that timeline, Zelda is quoting a ceremony in that memory. The words to that ceremony were likely written by a previous Zelda who had awakened her power. That power could very plausibly have given her the ability to peer across the timelines. The only real concrete evidence for any timeline is the Adult Era, as the Zora history tablets mention Princess Rito awakening as a Sage after something terrible befalls Zora’s domain at the hands of “an evil man”. This is pretty clearly talking about the events of OoT in the adult era, and it isn’t coming from someone with the ability to peer across the 4th and 5th dimension.

  • I will throw down for windwaker based entirely off Beedle being in the game as he is only ever seen post Ocarina in the Windwaker time line

      • Yeah he is, i think he might be in another pre-Ocarina game as well. For some reason though once the timeline splits in Ocarina he stays firmly put in the windwaker timeline

        • Huh. I could’ve swore he was in Twilight Princess, but it’s been ages since I last played it..

          • No, Beedle wasnt in TP. The only character that even resembles Beedle in TP was the lady at the top of the river in the shack where you play that canoe game… And im only saying she resembles him because of the afro lol.

  • I would of assumed it might be split from the windwaker timeline where link doesn’t defeat ganon at the end

  • i thought it was in timeline 2 way way in the future. after defeating gannon that gives the world a long time of piece to build up the crazy technology like the gaurdians and prepare for his next appearance

  • In my opinion, it’s easily explained, where Breath of the Wild fits in the timeline. For me, it only makes sense to take place after Wind Waker. Why? Because of the Koroks and the Rito. They only appeared in Wind Waker and that was for a good reason. I don’t see any logical reason, why they should now appes in another timeline as the Wind Waker’s. Yes, it’s said, Ganon attacked multiple times before Breath of the Wild. So what? We don’t exactly know, how much time has passed between Ocarina of time and Breath of the Wild. We only know, that 10.000 years ago, Ganon appeared as Calamity Ganon for the first time. Nobody knows, how many times Ganon attacked Hyrule before he became Calamity Ganon. There’s evidence, that in the past there must have been an ocean because of the Rock Salt.
    I’m sure, it takes place after Wind Waker but it’s still not in the same timeline as Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, because it must be the same Hyrule as in Ocarina of Time because of the Temple of Time. But if not in the same timeline as Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, how can Breath of the Wild take place after Wind Waker?
    At the end of Wind Waker Ganon was able to obtain the three fragments of the Triforce and we know, he wanted to wish for the ocean to disappear in order to finally get the ruler of Hyrule. In the game, the king of Hyrule touched the triforce, before Ganondorf could do that and made a wish himself.
    So what, if Ganon touched the Triforce before the king could? He would have wished for the ocean to disappear, so the Hyrule known from Ocarina of time would reappear. And after that wish, he was defeated by Link and Zelda. The wish was before the final fight in Wind Waker so it’s still possible that Ganondorf was defeated after his wish. The ocean would have disappeared and Ganon was defeated and came back multiple times, then he became Calamity Ganon and the Divine Beasts were created to defeatd him.
    This is my theory.

    • So what you are saying is, that the Link in WW failed to defeat Ganondorf, and he touched the Tri-Force instead of King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule? Makes sense… especially since there are so many WW references in BoTw.

  • *spoilers*

    The game itself states that it is in the timeline where link defeats ganon in ocarina. In zodobon highlands, at the base of the mountain where Vah Ruta goes after you finish that section, there is the wall of Zora history. The wall discusses the sage princess ruto from “long, long ago… in a past more distant than even the great calamity or the creation of the divine beast..” Basically she was the sage and fought with the hero of legend. It says her achievements are remembered and the Divine Beast was named after her (also alluding to the fact that Link was not defeated, so not timeline 3). This world is huge so I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more hints within the game.

    • Radunia is also named after Darunia from OOT, naburoo is who the camel is named after (the gerudo sage in OOT). Medoh is the only odd ball, but you know, the Ruto popped up between OOT and BOTW.

      • I’d assume Medoh is named after Medli from Windwaker. The only Rito of any real historic significance.

    • Princess Ruto would also be one of the Seven Sages to seal Ganon after Link is defeated in the Fallen Hero timeline. So it can point to that too.
      I seriously feel that this could be the timeline unification game. That eventually, all three timelines lead to this. That’s what Nintendo *should* decide and make canon. And then all future sequels and prequels can be based around this game, without splitting and causing confusion.

  • There is a house in one of the villages that has a family tree of chickens on it, my tinfoil is telling me that the chickens are the games and that it explains both the relationship of the games and their timeline.

  • So in the original zelda game and The Adventure of Link you gain the magical sword, not the master sword. It’s acquired by and old man under a graveyard in the first game and you have that same sword at the start of Adventure of Link. The location of the master sword in BoTW is very similar to that of the one in the lost woods in A Link to the Past. So I got pretty confused at that point in your discussion of the timelime.

  • It has to be far in the future of the Wind Waker timeline. The fact that it has been confirmed that the Koroks evolved from the Kokiri because of the flood in Wind Waker and the Rito are the evolved form of the Zora with concrete evidence being the rising sea levels forcing them to the sky is enough evidence to place it in the WW timeline.

    • What is to stop the Kokiri evolving into the koroks regardless of the great flood given enough time?
      Similarly with the Ruto (Although this are much more avian in BOTW than WW).

      • I’ll stick with actual evidence the games themselves provide instead of speculating an entirely different scenario with no evidence to support it.

  • Crazy idea, but what if Breath of the Wild is a series reboot and the only game we know of that is canon to this new reboot timeline is Ocarina of Time.

  • As for the location of the Master Sword, keep in mind during the memory The Great Deku Tree only states that the Princess left it there for him to watch over until Link’s return. It is never said that the Master Sword was actually first retrieved from the Lost Woods 100 years prior to Link needing resurrected.

  • Here’s a thought. And I know I’m gonna catch flak for this, but what if Nintendo changed their minds and decided to make hyrule warriors cannon? If they did that, it would open up a new timeline where parts of each timeline mixed together and created breath of the wild, where there are strong hints of all 3 of them.

  • I’m going with child timeline… Not only are there’s numerous TP references, but the lakes north of Zora’s Domain are named after the members of the Indigo-gos. Link could have passed on the story of the band when he returned from husband adventure in Termina.

    • There are lots of map areas named after the WW timeline, the Fallen Hero timeline, and the TP timeline. Not only after locations in those games, but characters in those games. There is a lot of room for this to essentially be where the three timelines meet back up.

  • Here’s my line of thinking: the Divine Beasts are named after characters from past games. Vah Ruta is named after Ruto, Vah Rudania after Darunia, Vah Naboris after Nabooru, and Vah Medoh after Medli. And it’s not just a fun little nod; Urbosa explicitly says that Vah Naboris is named in honor of Nabooru, so the same must be true for the others. For Vah Medoh to be named after Medli, Medli must have existed before, and therefore this game must be after Wind Waker.

  • I think Calamity Ganon somehow accidentally fused the timelines. There is TP Link’s Outfit from the Child Link timeline, there is OOT Links’s outfit from all of the timelines, there is WW Link’s outfit from the Adult Link timeline, there is (I think) LOZ Link’s outfit from the Fall Timeline, and there is BOTW Link’s newly crafted outfit. So somehow Ganon fused the timelines in such a way that 3 split timelines happened at the same time in 1 timeline, but at the same time didn’t. That made no sense, but it did. Now I’m going to leave, and stop hurting my brain.

    • amiibo shouldn’t be treated as evidence. Though I also believe the timelines unified, but not by Calamity Ganon. My theory is that because enough events were similar after a while in all three timelines, they collapsed back into one 10,100 years before BotW.

  • It follows Wind Waker timeline how I dont know… but flood BoTW map and there you have it…. Gerudos are gone because mountains are not very high near Gerudo’s town. There are lot high mountains in BoTW so yeah, just flood it and there you have it.

  • In Breath of the Wild, the Master Sword is in a grove in the Lost Woods, at the same exact location it’s found in The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link.

    This sentence in the next-to-last paragraph makes no sense, as there is no Master Sword in either the original LoZ, or in AoL. There is the “Magic Sword,” which according to the canon, is explicitly different.

    • He meant to say LTTP and Between Worlds. Why aren’t people realizing that? Why hasn’t the article been edited to correct that yet????

    • you sir/mam. are completely wrong. have you even played a link to the past!? there is a master sword

  • BotW takes place at least 10100 years after it’s predecessor in whatever timeline it’s in, so all of these things that say it’s in one timeline over another are meaningless. The Korok and Rito could have evolved in the fall or child timelines. Wolf link isn’t canon in this game. That salt could be from anything, it doesnt say “great sea” it says “ancient sea”. The Master Sword was placed at the Deku Tree by Zelda when Link fell 100 years ago, that’s not necessarily where they found it. The only real facts that we have are it’s after OoT and Zelda clearly references TP. This is in the child timeline. End of discussion.

    • Zelda references the Twilight Realm, not the game. And she’s only quoting a ceremony likely written by a previous Zelda who had full power over the Triforce of Wisdom and could plausibly have been able to see the events of the different timelines.

  • Or could it possibly be that the entire timeline thing is a giant marketing gimmick to entrap both fans of Ocarina of Time and new fans as well?

  • What if it is a merging of the 3? I think this is possible with the Tri-Force which has no appearance in BoTW outside of symbology and it glowing on Zelda’s hand, which I think is just her goddess powers and not the Tri-Force itself. I think this because, if she had the Tri-Force, calamity Gannon wouldn’t exist. So maybe sometime way before the creation of the divine beasts(10,000 years in BoTWs past) the Tri-Force was used to unite all of Hyrule, unknowingly uniting all of Hyrules times. This would account for all of the references from the other timelines and maybe even account for the rise in technological advancement by the sheikah. This is pure speculation but I believe we need to be looking more into what happened to the Tri-Force and what it’s last use was. It’s obvious that it played a part in BoTWs past, as its symbology is still everywhere. So the answer may lie there.

  • We actually don’t know where the master sword was first obtained. Seeing as the game takes place 100 years after the link you play as goes into a deep sleep. On the first memory, we see that he already has the master sword, so 100 years before the game starts, he could have got it from the temple of time. It seems like the twilight timeline is the best suited one, for that timeline and the ones before it are also mentioned in the first memory.

  • THIS AUTHOR IS WRONG!! it falls in the child timeline because in a cutscene for BOTW Zelda references the events of Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess. While the rest of the clues are more theory based, you may notice that Hyrule Castle, and Castle Town Square, bare a striking resemblance to that of their Twilight Princess counterparts.

  • I love timeline theorizing so much but I really do kind of think Nintendo just thought ah whatever lets just celebrate all the games together with BoTW.
    But if they didn’t…
    Only option is it’s in the MM>TP timeline.
    The Twilight Princess references are the most solid leads of all (not including the Wolf Link Amiibo – why the fuck would you bother mentioning that?).
    There’s like 10,100 years at least of time where we don’t know what happens.
    But Hyrule could easily hit a point like in the WW timeline where the Gods flood the land during that 10,100 (at least) years – maybe because of hero’s absence again who knows? Link might time travel once again in the future? Or maybe he bloody “fails” again? (Hope not the latter).
    The bird folk clearly just evolved. Some other guy in the comments here mentioned the WW bird folk needing Valoo’s scales to transform from Zora but he said these new birdies look different so perhaps they had to naturally evolve themselves over the MANY MANY MANY YEARS. Makes sense to me I dig it.
    Please for the love of god no “timeline unification” game – that’s fucking retarded.
    Nintendo wouldn’t even do that.
    But it’s so bloody stupid. Sounds like some meaningless comic book bullshit or the awful story in Hyrule Warriors.
    Anyway yeah bestest evidence we have points to Twilight Princess’ timeline and there’s so many years of stuff that could happen leading to another flood or who knows what else so there we go.

  • Using Koroks, Rito and the like to link this game to any of the timelines is kinda absurd imo since this game makes references of literally every LoZ before it. Feels almost like they wanted to make a game so far in the future (yet somehow with no technological advancement) that it doesn’t even matter where it fits in the timeline. For all we know the battle with Ganon 10,000 years ago could be a reference to pre-OoT and that’s all we get

  • It’s set long after Zelda II, Ganon & the Lynels prove it. All other “clues” are just Easter Eggs.

  • Pretty easy if you don’t subscribe to the split timeline nonsense, and realize that Hyrule has “dark ages” or yet to be told chapters in its linear history. BotW is the very ass-end, last, most recent tale in the series. I doesn’t need to “fit” into a timeline of assorted tales that Nintendo basically said nothing more than, “Yeah, sure, we’ll go with that for now”. When they allowed Hyrule Historia to be an official publication. Fortunately this game removes all doubt that the Zelda series was ever anything other than linear regarding Hyrule’s history. Personally, I love that it throws out the split timeline theory. I don’t need tloz to make sense chronologically. I appreciate that each game is largely (with the exception of a few direct sequels) a self-contained story that may exhibit a reverence for their predecessors in regards to history and lore, but don’t rely on them at all for their own relevance. People are so hard up to come up with ridiculousness like “oh zelda is psychic in this game and can see through dimensions”, or “there must have been some convergence of the timelines that hasn’t been addressed yet”, than to to bother giving any credence to the simple idea that there never was a split in the timeline. They’d rather cling to convoluted theories and build on them to the point of being out of control than accept “I don’t know” or “we haven’t addressed that yet, and aren’t sure that we’ll ever” as an answer.

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