Nintendo releases official Zelda timeline, everyone finds out that series director Aonuma is a huge dork.
After years of speculation by fans worldwide, Nintendo has released an official timeline for the entire Legend of Zelda series. The mere existence of an official timeline is surprising, considering the fact that many of the games seem to contradict each other or re-tell the same events in different ways, but not only does an official timeline exist, it’s also batshit crazy.
The timeline is part of a Legend of Zelda encyclopedia recently released in Japan, produced by current series director Eiji Aonuma. Aonuma apparently digs speculating on the same stuff nerds around the world have been trying to piece together for years. You can see the full timeline after the jump, but as a fair warning, it’s about as straight-forward as Inception.
After years of mystery and secrecy, here’s Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda timeline:
Yep, the official timeline splits off into not two, but three alternate realities following the events of Ocarina of Time. Even more surprising is that one of the three branches assumes that Link fumbled the ball on the whole saving Hyrule gig. It sounds stupid at first, since Ocarina clearly depicts Link barbecuing Ganon’s big piggy ass over the smoldering ruins of his castle, but if you set that technicality aside, it makes for some surprisingly powerful drama in Nintendo’s seemingly light-hearted sword and sorcery series. In the “Link screwed the pooch” timeline we have Link to the Past, the two Oracle games, and then finally the two original NES games. Following the games in that order, we see Hyrule go from a beautiful kingdom with towns and villagers to a ruined, desolate place overrun with monsters, where friendly faces are few and far between (though things seem to be on the upswing in Adventure of Link).
I have to give Aonuma credit, that’s a really clever way to work the primitive nature of the original games into the series’ storyline. The other two timelines branch off from Link successfully slaying Ganon in Ocarina: one follows Link’s childhood, which naturally segues into Ocarina’s direct sequel, the deliciously dark and strange Majora’s Mask. The other timeline continues from Link’s adulthood following Ocarina, skipping forward a hundred years or so to Wind Waker.
While it is fascinating to see how these games fit together, and hell, just to get confirmation that they fit together at all, I think I also would have been okay never knowing. I know I’m not the first to posit this theory, but I always liked the idea that the different games were all different re-tellings of the same Legend. The details always seem to change, but that just played further into the idea of an old Legend getting passed down. Different story-tellers put their own spin on an old tale–the oral tradition is notorious for mutating stories. But even though some things change with each re-telling, the same core elements are always there: a young man, perhaps even a child rises from a comfortable, anonymous life to confront the forces of greed and hate. Through his own brains and brawn he restores peace to his homeland and his newfound Courage brings Wisdom (Zelda) back to power.
I guess what I’m getting at is that I want to know where the Philips CD-i games fit in.