Since The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild came out in March 2017, fans have been dying to know where it fits on the series’ official timeline. Now, Nintendo has provided an answer—sort of. Breath of the Wild is way at the end, but it’s not connected to the rest of the timeline. In other words: shenanigans!
It was always obvious, based on the setting and story of Breath of the Wild, that Link’s latest adventure took place after all the others. The problem is that the Zelda timeline diverges after Ocarina of Time. One timeline, where Link loses to Ganondorf, takes the series into Link to the Past. In the timeline where Link wins, we diverge again, this time going into Majora’s Mask for child Link and Wind Waker for adult Link. (If you want to really go down the rabbit hole of Zelda lore, click and enjoy.)
So the big question was always: Which timeline does Breath of the Wild conclude? Nintendo’s answer is: all three? Maybe? Instead of connecting the newest Zelda game to one of the timelines, Nintendo has just stuck it on the end:
The Japanese magazine Famitsu asked Nintendo what the deal was, and (as translated by Siliconera) both Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma and Breath of the Wild director Hidemaro Fujibayashi punted:
Eiji Aonuma, series producer: “Well of course it’s at the very end. But, I get what you’re asking, it’s which timeline is it the end of?”
Hidemaro Fujibayashi, director: “That’s… up to the player’s imagination, isn’t it?”
Shenanigans! Shenanigans! Aonuma and Fujibayashi added that the Zelda timeline is constantly changing, and that they see this not as changing the canon but as “new information and truths” being discovered.
Get this: Nintendo has also altered the timeline to place Link’s Awakening before Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons. More shenanigans!