Breath of the Wild is a great game in the Zelda series, but where does it take place in the overall series timeline?
The official answer from series director Eiji Aonuma is: “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?”
Yes. Yes, that is exactly what we’re all still asking.
Things get even more complicated when Aonuma, in an interview with Famitsu Magazine, tries to explain what he means.
“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. Actually, the decided history has been tweaked many times.” (laughs)
Yeah, not laughing. It may seem silly to some, but The Legend of Zelda series timeline has been an important thing to diehard fans for some time now. Hell, the epicness of Ocarina of Time is that it starts the split between all three clearly defined timelines.
And now? Now, Breath of the Wild‘s placement is considered “up for academic debate.” Also, the “Oh crap” from Anouma isn’t helping ease things.
Does Aonuma even know what he’s doing from here on out? In the same interview, he asks that we patiently pay attention to future releases in the series. Why though? The diehard Legend of Zelda fans have followed this series through thick and thin. The least we deserve is a story that follows the timeline very clearly laid out in an entire book dedicated to figuring out Zelda‘s complicated plot (see below).
Of course, I’ll still tune in to future Zelda titles. Unfortunately, the Word of God answers about the series will have to sit on the backburner as I enjoy the beauty of the games without any outside influence.