Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hyrule Historia Artbook Reveals Zelda Timeline

I guess you've all heard about the Hyrule Historia Artbook by now. It seems like the 25th Anniversary celebration never stops. Well, this artbook contains not only tons of nice (concept) art for all the games, it seems it also reveals the timeline! Yes, you've heard me right. For the 25th Anniversary Nintendo actually releases a timeline! Some people wished for that, but no one would have thought that Nintendo actually does that. All they ever did was talking about their super secret document that nobody is supposed to see. I guess they changed their mind (that or this is not the official timeline). The artbook will be released this Friday in Japan. There are currently no plans for this book to appear in the West.

I always wanted to post my own timeline here on Hyrule Blog. But I really hate the discussions and it seems like making your own timeline isn't necessary anymore. I like the idea of having an official timeline. Now if somebody says things like "it's still a linear timeline" or "The Minish Cap takes places after Spirit Tracks", you can say to his face "that's wrong!!" - and I love that.

Well, here it is (courtesy of Glitterberry):

The A Link to the Past split is caused by "Link failing". That's interesting and really weird. If Link failing is an option, it should be available for every game. So, each game should create a split with a hypothetical alternate reality where Link failed. Skyward Sword should create a new timeline, where everything got eradicated by Demise. It feels weird, so far the only game where Link's failure really gets hammered into your head is Zelda II - RETURN OF GANON. But I guess the third branch also was created by all the time travelling and I'm eager to read the full explanation.

However, generally I like the idea of having three splits. Usually you would cram all 2D games right into the child timeline after Twilight Princess creating one long branch. But giving the 2D games their own branch makes it look neater.

It also follows the symbolism of the series, where each branch of the timeline basically represents a piece of the Triforce. The Adult Timeline with The Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, where Zelda has been an important character, represents the Triforce of Wisdom. The Child Timeline on the other hand represents the Triforce of Courage, where Link goes on his own, scary adventure with Majora's Mask, while Twilight Princess and Four Swords Adventures are also quite dark games. And the new branch of the timeline displays Ganon's rise to power, which is perfect for the Triforce of Power.

But I don't like the placement of the Four Swords games. Four Swords Adventures was basically the direct sequel to Four Swords, at least the intro makes you believe that. Well, on the other hand Aonuma once made a statement that Four Swords came before Ocarina of Time, which is probably the reason why the timeline puts the game there, but obviously it's contradicting with the intro of FSA. Also, I'd say that FSA really fits more into the story of the 2D games, especially since it shows how Ganon got the Trident. For me FSA was the Imprisoning War. You get the dark clouds covering Hyrule, Ganon is building an army inside the Dark Realm and the Knights of Hyrule are disappearing. It's all there and it feels much more war-like than Ocarina of Time, the only difference is that the Master Sword wasn't involved here. Instead they used the Four Sword to ban Ganon. However, the GameBoy Advance version of A Link to the Past basically backed this up, there you find the broken Four Sword inside the Pyramid. It's like Ganon broke from the seal and cursed the Four Sword, so that no one could ever use it against him. Also, in the child timeline they protected the Sacred Realm from ever being invaded by Ganondorf. But FSA deals with the Dark World in its entirety. So, if FS and FSA would take place before A Link to the Past, the timeline would be near perfect in my eyes. But I can live with that.

UPDATE: It appears that Aonuma was one of the editors of this book and that the timeline is indeed credible. I also did some "research" about FSA. The game was originally intended to be the Imprisoning War, which is why there are so many similarities, but then they simplified the storyline (see here), which is why the game was placed where it's now. It's sad actually, the game would have been awesome as the Imprisoning War. And yeah, Four Swords is not necessarily the direct prequel. So, well, I'm good with the timeline.

Source: Kotaku & Glitterberri


Sansonnet said...

I'm soo curious to read it! I'll wait for a while to see it the'll release it in the west. But I wouldn't mind getting the Japanese version, either. :)

K2L said...

This is so scary that I wish it still remained in secret.

A theory I had was that the two (TWW-->PH-->ST and MM-->TP) somehow merged or gradually assimilated each other (via the two Oracles and their linking) and then took place the older games.

Seems like the total opposite of that happened. And I have the feeling that this will bring even more contradictions to the table.

martjosam said...

I wonder how will Nintendo explain this.

By the way, what do you think of my own take about the 3-timeline split: