Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Breath of the Wild: Timeline Theories

Update: Read my follow-up post, Timeline Merge Theory.

Zelda fans right now certainly will go crazy over timeline theories again. It's obvious that Breath of the Wild does take place long after the Zelda series as we know it. We have entered an age of technology and we see the remains of past places, like the Temple of Time. So, the real question is, which of three timelines will make a wild breath into the future!

My personal favorite before the E3 presentations was the Downfall Timeline, because of several reasons. The world of Zelda II - The Adventure of Link has been the largest in Zelda yet and it made sense to expand from there. They also wanted to go back to the roots, so placing the game after the NES Classics would be meaningful. It also fits the idea of a ruined Hyrule very well with a rusty Master Sword back on the pedestal that we knew from A Link to the Past, as well as the idea of resurrecting the Hero, where the Downfall timeline is where Link's death actually has outcomes. Ganon also gets mentioned as the antagonist (it seems like he was imprisoned inside Hyrule Castle) and he has been prominent in the Downfall timeline mostly.

But Ganon appeared in Four Swords Adventures as well and we get to warp in Wolf Link as a companion (this part is probably non-canon, though), so the Child Timeline might be also a candidate. We even see structures that are reminiscent of the Hyrule from Twilight Princess, like the Great Bridge of Hylia. What speaks against this specific timeline is the fact that we still have the Temple of Time in the new game in some shape, while it was completely ruined in Twilight Princess.

The Adult Timeline gets supported by the Koroks, who seem to be very close in appearance to the Wind Waker. Those might even be the same guys, who have planted the trees all over the Great Sea in the hope that more land will grow. And these could be the lands, where the Great Sea was ages ago... But we already got a Hyrule there and Breath of the Wild shows a remarkable lack of rails so far. And again, the Temple of Time shouldn't be here anymore, if those are the new lands after the era of the Great Sea, unless the Temple survived somehow and they simply decided to move the Master Sword elsewhere. But the Temple of Time pretty much points towards the Downfall Timeline and it's possible that the Koroks simply existed there as well.

If it's in the other timelines, due to the Temple of Time the game would have to take place either before Twilight Princess or The Wind Waker, which wouldn't be all that satisfying. Nintendo would have to bother with connecting the games correctly or they would leave a mess behind. And the Sheikah technology would get wiped away afterwards, while it looks like a promising new feature for the future of Zelda. I think, this game would be best at the end of the timeline(s), where it can freely lead into a new era of the Zelda series, instead of being just another note within the timeline. And that's probably best after the NES games. All other games since the classics went either backwards or sideways. And now it's time to move forward.

But I have a bold prediction: why not all three timelines? Already in Skyward Sword the technology to mess with time was displayed by the timeshift stones and the Gate of Time. The latter was even related to the Sheikah and the Goddess Hylia. I suppose the Sheikah or Hylia, who could even turn out to be the (new) Goddess of Time, could take a similar role to Cia in Hyrule Warriors, overseeing all the times. Now, maybe they saw a reason to merge the timelines back together. (I know that theoretically this would be impossible and pure nonsense, but so is time travel into the past.) Maybe a great evil (Ganon or even Demise in some other form) arose in all three timelines and to contain it they fused them all together, which created the new Hyrule in Breath of the Wild, where elements from all the Zelda games are coming together.

The things that existed in all three timelines got fused and now show traits of all their versions: Hyrule, Ganon and the Hero. This would explain, how this "Calamity Ganon" could take so many different forms, because he's essentially Demise's reincarnation from all three timelines. And this would explain, why get to meet Koroks on top of the Temple of Time.

I could already picture, how in the story the timeline gets displayed on one of the Sheikah screens explaining the convergence, displaying Ocarina of Time and Breath of the Wild as the polar opposites in the timeline...

The timeline got split into three, much like the Triforce. And to further this symbolism it would be meaningful to reunite all three universes at some point, much like the Triforce.

That might be a crazy idea, but it would also be an interesting way of "rebooting" the franchise without completely ignoring its previous installments. Instead it would fuse all the different universes back together into one experience. If Breath of the Wild really is supposed to be the next revolutionary installment of the series, it should have a similar influence on the timeline as Ocarina of Time did, instead of being just another entry, where it would be overshadowed by the games around it, because it needs to fit their realities. And I personally like the idea of fixing the "damage".


CourageousTriangle said...

I am a huge Zelda fan, and I have to say, I've studied the trailer dozens of times over the past few days. And while studying, I found many clues as to where the timeline is placed. If you look at the artwork that leaked on Amazon, you can see link climbing a cliff face, several blue, glowing towers, and a castle surrounded in smoke, and red pillars. I believe, this is none other than Ganon's Caslte. The very same in OoT.

Also, if you look at the gameplay footage, the Temple of Time is in ruin, and the remnants of castle town are just outside. Assuming the Amazon painting was taken during the afternoon, the Temple of Time is East of Ganon's Castle. Exactly where it is in OoT.

With this evidence, I conclude that Breath of the Wild will take place 50-100 years after OoT in the Downfall Timeline. (Before aLttP, after OoT) I know what your going to say, "what about the korok, and the rusty master sword? Well, evolution in Hyrule is kind of messed up. (Zoras turning into Rito when the world floods) and the picture of the rusty master sword could be what happens once Link's quest is over, far afterwards, or there is a time travel mechanic. If you look at the aLttP manual, you see the exact same shot of the sword, proving it takes place some time around that era. The Temple of time is absent in aLttP, but present in Breath of the Wild, proving it comes before then.

If you find any evidence opposing this theory, please post it below. I want my theories to be 100% accurate.

Thank you for reading, -CourageousTriangle

TourianTourist said...

It's still possible that the ruins of the Temple of Time exists somewhere in the realms of A Link to the Past. Hyrule is usually a lot larger than what we get to see in the games, as indicated by Zelda II or Four Swords.

Also, after the events of Ocarina of Time in the Downfall Timeline Ganondorf gets sealed into the Sacred Realm by the Sages. Not in Hyrule Castle.

I personally also don't like the idea of putting it between Zelda game x and y. For the necessary creative freedom of this new Science Fantasy Zelda era you want something new at the end of the timeline. Again, I personally like the "timeline merge" idea best, because it opens up many possibilities and explains why there are things from all three timelines, like the Temple of Time, Koroks and Wolf Link.

CourageousTriangle said...

P.S. I also think that BotW Link, is actually the kid of SS Link and Zelda. If you look at their faces, you can see the resemblance, especially in the ears. Also, the BotW Link is right handed, just like SS Link. One of the game directors commented on this, and said that it is because the buttons used to control your weapon, is on the right side, but that didn't stop them from making two HD remakes on the Wii U with left handed Links.

BotW Link is first seen in something called the "Shrine of Resurrection." Maybe BotW link was sealed away until a hero was needed, almost like a backup. When OoT link is defeated, they take BotW link out of stasis.

Another strange thing, the woman's voice you hear sounds exactly what I envisioned an older Zelda to sound like. It says, "Link, you are the light- OUR light-" as if she was talking to her child.

Conclusion: either BotW is the child of SS Link, or the NX has motion controls. -CourageousTriangle

CourageousTriangle said...

Like I said, still a theory. At this point, anything is possible.

Thanks for the feedback.

CourageousTriangle said...

What about the imprisoning War? There was a period of time when Ganon ruled everything with the complete Triforce before he was sealed away by the Sages. BotW could take place during this time, as this is a major event with no game during it. It would make sense if Nintendo tried to fill in the gaps, instead of complicating the timeline further.

Also, in Hyrule Historia, the downfall timeline has a sub heading titled, "The Last Hero." This could refer to the last hero of the bloodline, or something else. And it would be theoretical impossible for three different timelines to have a different series of events, but ultimately lead up to the exact same event, in the same universe.

TourianTourist said...

During the Imprisoning War Ganon was still sealed in the Dark World.

And you should read my original post about the timeline merge. Of course the timelines don't just converge on their own, but some divine being like Hylia would unify the universes. It might seem implausible, but so are travels back in time...

CourageousTriangle said...

I understand, and I have read the post, I just want to voice my opinions, and let people decide for themselves. The Zelda universe is full of crazy things, literally anything could happen. It could take place in the child timeline for all I know. I am just more familiar with OoT, aLttP, LoZ, TP, and WW than the three last games in the timelines. So, I naturally see more things that relate to the titles most familiar to me. I'm not saying you're wrong, and I'm right, I'm just saying the downfall timeline before aLttP is reasonable.

I took time developing my theory, and I chose where I did for a reason. Sheikah technology, as well as the sheikah themselves are present in BotW, but not in any of the last games. Your theory may still be possible however, because the Sheikah seen are nearly mummified, and it is known that they live much longer than Hylians

TourianTourist said...

Sheikah technology isn't present in any of the games, except for potentially Skyward Sword. Which is why I think this has to take place after the timelines as we know them, unless the Sheikah technology stuff will really be a one time thing, which I hope not.

I'm also thinking in a much broader spectrum. I'm very familiar with every Zelda title and the way I view Breath of the Wild is that they wanted implement the best ideas of many different Zelda games. And storywise the best way to get there would unifying the universes.

The story usually supports the gameplay ideas, but we're dealing here with something much, much bigger here than usual.

K2L said...

Funnily enough, I used to believe the timelines would merge when only two of them were confirmed after Hyrule Historia only split the chronology further, I abandoned the idea quietly. XD