You may think that the concept of a coherent timeline for the Legend of Zelda games is either a sick joke or a...joke, but Nintendo maintains there is one. And that the upcoming Skyward Sword fits neatly into it.
In an interview with Official Nintendo Magazine, series overseer Eiji Aonuma says, "Yes there is a master timeline but its confidential document! The only people to have access to that document are myself, Mr. Miyamoto and the director of the title. We cant share it with anyone else!"
Oh go on. Share just a little. "I have already talked to Mr. Miyamoto about this so I am comfortable in releasing this information – this title [Skyward Sword] takes place before Ocarina of Time. If I said that a certain title was ‘the first Zelda game', then that means that we cant ever make a title that takes place before that! So for us to add titles to the series, we have to have a way of putting the titles before or after each other."
What this means, exactly, we won't know until the game's out, but it'd be nice if the timeline was referenced as directly as it was in, say, Wind Waker, which is almost a post-apocalyptic Zelda following the events of Ocarina of Time.
[ONM, via Go Nintendo]