Nintendo has once again updated its Legend of Zelda timeline, finally given 2017’s masterful Breath of the Wild an official place in the series’ chronology.
Last year, director Hidemaro Fujibayashi told Gamerant that Breath of the Wild (which itself chronicles more than 10,000 years of Hyrule history) occurred “long, long after any of the titles released to date” – so it should come as no surprise that Nintendo has placed the game at the very end of the Zelda timeline.
What’s perhaps more unexpected, however – particularly for Zelda lore fans – is that Breath of the Wild appears to sit completely disconnected from all other series entries, linking with none of the previously established, divergent (and hilariously convoluted) timelines.
Fielding an enquiry from Famitsu following Nintendo’s chronology update (as translated by Siliconera), director Fujibayashi remained coy about the precise timeline that begat Breath of the Wild, merely offering, “That’s… up to the player’s imagination, isn’t it?”
Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma did, however, share some thoughts on the perpetual flux of Zelda’s chronology, noting that, “Hyrule’s history changes with time. When we think of the next game and what we want to do with it, we might think, ‘Oh, this’ll fit well’, and place it neatly into the timeline, but sometimes we think, ‘Oh crap’, and have to change the placement.”
In response, Fujibayashi joked that Nintendo doesn’t like to think of these tweaks as retconning, but rather a kind of academic reappraisal: “Lately within the company, a term called ‘New Translation’ has cropped up. Strictly speaking, we don’t change [the timeline], but rather new information and truths come to light.”
It looks like the latest game to have had its placement re-evaluated in the light of a New Translation is Link’s Awakening. Although the beloved GB adventure still belongs in the Fallen Hero timeline (in which Link fails to defeat Ganon at the end of Ocarina of Time), it now precedes, rather than follows, the Oracles games. Let the lore theorising commence.