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Eiji Aonuma confirms Zelda timeline

Zelda chief also reveals Skyward Sword's place in it

In an exclusive interview in this month's ONM, Zelda director Eiji Aonuma has revealed that there is indeed a definitive Zelda timeline.

Aonuma-san told us: "yes, there is a master timeline but it is a 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!"

Aonuma-san also told us where Skyward Sword fits into this timeline. "I have already talked to Mr. Miyamoto about this so I am comfortable in releasing this information," he said. "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."

You can read the full six-page interview in the current issue of ONM, which is in shops now.

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  1. Andy88 Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 09:50

    Aside from obvious sequel/prequel relationships like Ocarina of Time/ Majora's Mask, I honestly think there is no main timeline and that Aonuma and the rest are just making it up as they go along and talking nonsense. How convinient that they have the master timeline, but 'have to keep it secret' :roll: Yeah sure...
    Still love the Zelda games though so whatever, but yeah, the Nintendo honchos are so full of hot air!

  2. TechnoWolf Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 10:34

    So what they are basically saying is that oot is not the first in the timeline, is that what they said? I got confused at the end :?

  3. tquinnathome1 Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 10:34

    ^ They've said all along that there is a timeline. At the end of the day, I'm sure the timeline makes up about 1% of their thoughts when they're being interviewed, because from their perspective, it's something they tend to leave behind inside, rather than out talking in public. The reason why there have been inconsistencies before when one person has said one thing and someone else another is because it's not something they have to be briefed on every second of the day when developing the game. I can read a book, but I couldn't reference every single page without looking. The same applies.

    Zelda does have a very complex timeline, made confusing by the vast amount of back stories, characters, items, time travel, and the retcon of certain games like Link's Awakening. You only have to play Ocarina, Wind Waker and Twilight Princess to see that there's some familiarity and story telling going on.

  4. Lewys Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 10:43

    why is it so farfetched? there's lots of evidence to show how certain zelda games follow each other. there may be inconsistencies between certain games, but it's definitely possible to put the games into a timeline due to references and so on. check out our timeline thread in GNC, or a website like zelda universe, and that'll open your eyes.

    EDIT: I was responding to the first post

  5. metalgario Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 11:54

    Check out Gametrailers.com/Retrospectives. Their theoretical timeline seems to make the most sense and if your that interested in an order to the games the split timeline theory really helps. :)

    Of course it doesn't quite fit in Twilight princess and Spirit Tracks but with the latter we know it happens after Phantom Hourglass

    Remaked of Zelda 2: Links awakening anyone?

  6. KoreeluStromboli Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 11:59

    In Skyward Sword, Link's an adult but in the beginning of Ocarina of Time, he's a kid. Could that mean that the Link that appears in Ocarina of Time be Link Jr, being the direct, identical descendant of the Link from Skyward Sword?

    That's what I think since Skyward Sword takes place before Ocarina of Time, according to Aonuma-san in issue 58 of ONM, read in the preview of Skyward Sword.

  7. shadow.x Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 12:00

    Oh what a load of pish posh ! Haha
    They can still give us the master timeline and add prequels to whichever was first, LOL. They just being silly hill-billy's :)

  8. sgu07dh Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 12:08

    Oh what a load of pish posh ! Haha
    They can still give us the master timeline and add prequels to whichever was first, LOL. They just being silly hill-billy's :)

    Exactly, their timeline will be a 'work in progress' until they stop making zelda games, so that they're free to rearange and insert future titles where ever they fit well.

  9. dm_1782 Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 12:31

    Confidential yeah right. Hes lying he doesnt know himself what the timeline is. The only way it would work properly is if there were alternate dimensions but that just makes things complicated so I wont get into that. Its all just got abit carried away now but I still love the series. :P

  10. olirocksmad Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 13:00

    I hope that when they release the last ever Zelda game, (I know I'm looking very far into the future here but hey) they give everyone who buys it the final Zelda timeline as a little booklet with the game. That would be epic.

  11. Malice of Yoshi Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 13:20

    Perhaps this prequel will sort out the back story of what happened just before Ocarina of Time such as explaining what happened to the Dark Interlopers that became the people of the Twilight Realm ect.

  12. Lewys Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 14:34

    *sigh* seriously, dm_1782, read my previous post. there is LOTS of evidence to show they fit together, it's just lazy to say it doesn't work, and it's alternate dimensions. just try reading a timeline document and maybe you won't be so ignorant.


    @KoreeluStromboli and Malice of Yoshi - we have no idea how long there is between SS and OOT, so either of you could be right, or there could be hundreds of years difference or something. we won't know until it's out.

  13. Waldy565 Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 14:54

    OK they have a master timeline, but I'm sure it's not strictly set as like it says in the article, if they don't have a defenite first game, they can add titles before and after the other games.

  14. Waldy565 Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 14:57

    I hope that when they release the last ever Zelda game, (I know I'm looking very far into the future here but hey) they give everyone who buys it the final Zelda timeline as a little booklet with the game. That would be epic.

    damn straight :D

  15. King-X Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 16:03

    Whatever timeline may exist you can rest assured Nintendo will never release it. There have already been nods from one game to another but an overall picture is unlikely to ever be revealed because Nintendo know full well we'd tear apart any timeline thrown at us and prove the discrepancies within, just like we've done with every submission up until now.

    Personally I think Nintendo never originally had a timeline. Zelda 2 is a straight sequel of Zelda 1. I see Zelda 3 as a possible restyling of the original Zelda idea and well, Zelda 4 continues on from that.

    It is within the latter phases of the above paragraph that we started thinking storylines and tie-ins and Nintendo probably got the idea of a timeline from us. However it was already too late to make anything very sensical so they keep things cryptic. Bottom line is Zelda fans take the games way more seriously than they were originally supposed to.

  16. Lewys Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 16:08

    well to kinda support what King-X said, yeah, the timeline only really started to appear around the time of OOT, and coincidentally, that's when Aonuma first started working on zelda, and it's Aonuma who actually wants there to be a timeline, so basically every game he's something to do with fits into a timeline together, and the first 4 games are fitted into this timeline. anyone who has tried to create a timeline would know that the first 4 games, particularly the first 2, are the hardest to place.

  17. codcam2 Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 17:34

    if set before ocarina, could it be set in the great war?! (credit to my friend, Niall, for coming to this possibility)

  18. J.V Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 18:07

    i personally don't think the time line of the series is as important as the actual game play of it!

    there obviously has to be some structure and up to OOT, there is a clear one, but in OOT the time line splits because of the time travel.
    but i would like to know how certain things in the series happened or came to be :)

  19. superewan Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 19:00

    heres a bigger question...

    why cant they show us it?

    fair enough if it would cause the world to explode, but seriously, is it THT important for only 3 people to have ever seen it?

  20. tomutwit Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 19:00

    Oh come on ONM, pay him to release it exclusively to you, like the Sun. Even just tell us what the 1st and last ones are, if theres a split, if ... if theres any gaps they might fill like that war where the dark world was created, if theyre mainly just retellings of the same story...


    And ask him if you can get a collectors edish of Skyward with a copy of the timeline or just RELEASE IT AS A BOOK? Now THaT IS how you MAKE MoNEy!!!!

  21. King-X Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 19:05

    i personally don't think the time line of the series is as important as the actual game play of it!


    Quite right! When it comes to Mario it's taken for granted that they're all just a bunch of standalone games but for some reason there are all these conspiracy theories going around where it comes to Zelda.

    Zelda has never particularly needed a timeline and things were so much simpler with it back in the day. I just like to play for the adventure's sake rather than scrutinize over possible connecting information. I reckon Nintendo should just stick with what they know and not try to be story tellers of more complexity than their abilities. Either that or actually hire the aid of a good story think tank.

    Take their former president Hiroshi Yamauchi; he was of the persuasion that if you want a movie experience, go see a film, and I imagine he thought story lovers would want to stick with books as well. Now as a gamer I personally appreciate both "movie experiences" and complicated, dramatic stories - but it's not what Nintendo are about really.

    However, I'm suspecting that Nintendo quite like that we think this way as it gets us thinking a lot more about the games, and they can capitalize on that.

    Anyway all that aside, I'm not initially liking the idea that this is set before Ocarina of Time. I thought the idea of Ocarina of Time was to act as a sort of Alpha Zelda set before Ganon got some of his powers, and that's just what it was and I'm wanting the series to move forward again and get back to the whole Ganon thing. I don't think we need to see more Ganondorf guise just now.

  22. tomutwit Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 19:09

    I hope that when they release the last ever Zelda game, (I know I'm looking very far into the future here but hey) they give everyone who buys it the final Zelda timeline as a little booklet with the game. That would be epic.

    damn straight :D


    Arr, this be the one in 2050 where its in the future, Epona is a motorbike and at the end Link sacrifices himself to save Zelda and Hyrule, then goes to heaven (above Skyward, BTW) and you meet all the other Links and between you you work it out, then Anouma appears as a hologram (old of course) and tells you it all.

  23. poke_fighter Thursday 22nd Jul 2010 at 23:09

    Remember when ONM used to give us news that was recent? There's been a Zelda timeline for years.

  24. dm_1782 Friday 23rd Jul 2010 at 12:04

    *sigh* seriously, dm_1782, read my previous post. there is LOTS of evidence to show they fit together, it's just lazy to say it doesn't work, and it's alternate dimensions. just try reading a timeline document and maybe you won't be so ignorant.


    @KoreeluStromboli and Malice of Yoshi - we have no idea how long there is between SS and OOT, so either of you could be right, or there could be hundreds of years difference or something. we won't know until it's out.

    I dont see how im being ignorant there have been plenty of attempts of doing this and none of them really trump it completely. You even say there are inconsistencies. I tell you what you list each and every zelda title including oracle of ages and oracle of seasons, four swords and look at each story and tell me exactly how they fit perfectly together. I say this because if you take certain titles they work, for example lets take Skyward sword as the first then ocarina of time, majoras mask, Wind Waker, phantom hourglass, spirit tracks and I think Twilight Princess would follow on from that. Now I say look at the storys because when they mention the hero of time that would refer to Ocarina of Time so every game that mentions it must follow on from Majoras Mask as Wind Waker and I think Twilight Princess do. Now all the other titles must precede Ocarina of Time to work with Link to the Past being the first. I dont know you tell me.

  25. Legendary Hero Friday 23rd Jul 2010 at 13:08

    I think there is a timeline but it doesn't apply for all the games. The only games it actually applies for is OOT,MM, TWW.TP.PH,ST and Perhaps Skyward Sword.

  26. TheLegendOfGanon Friday 23rd Jul 2010 at 18:38


    Anyway all that aside, I'm not initially liking the idea that this is set before Ocarina of Time. I thought the idea of Ocarina of Time was to act as a sort of Alpha Zelda set before Ganon got some of his powers, and that's just what it was and I'm wanting the series to move forward again and get back to the whole Ganon thing. I don't think we need to see more Ganondorf guise just now.

    This. They're all playable as standalone games but I don't think the Hero of Time concept or Ocarina can/should be topped for an origin story.

    Just my interpretation obviously, but one of things I love about Ocarina is that Ganon(dorf)'s the real link across the titles. Ganondorf the man becomes blinded by power and trades his humanity for life eternal which literally turns him into a monster.

    Zelda and Link reincarnate but Ganon is forever, y'know?

  27. Cheesio Friday 23rd Jul 2010 at 18:54

    But seriously guys, what about the Mario timeline?! I must know if Super Mario Bros. 3 is set after Super Mario 64!

  28. sonicfever Friday 23rd Jul 2010 at 20:13

    Good luck Nintendo, seriously. The timeline seems so out of place that I dont see how it could all fit together.

  29. funmaker11 Friday 23rd Jul 2010 at 22:29

    I'm thinking they were keeping the 'master storyline' secret for ages now. But I think there are some games (like the 'Oracle Of Ages' and '...Seasons') that don't fit the 'master storyline'. But who knows. :P

  30. MrGooseyMoose Saturday 24th Jul 2010 at 10:49

    nom...nom...trifle :D

    Ahem, I think we're better not knowing exactly what the timeline is so we can use our imagination a bit. Though, maybe thats just me...haha :p

    I'm not going to doubt that there IS in fact an overall position for every game. If they say there is, then why doubt them now? They do us the honour of making these fantastic games, so the least we can do is trust them a little, no? :)

  31. King-X Saturday 24th Jul 2010 at 11:06

    Mmm, not really. They make these "fantastic games" because it makes them "fantastic money". There's no doubt they have a strong passion for their work but don't get carried away into thinking Nintendo loves you or something.

  32. deathroom Saturday 24th Jul 2010 at 19:17

    The way I view Zelda is often, other than the clear "sequels" (like Windwaker to PH), the new games are clear reboots and this is why they share a overall story arc. This is JUST the same to comicbooks & there are more than one verson of Spiderman or Batman!

    Why not let there be more than one verson of Zelda or Link... Oh wait there is, the classic Link and the "cel-shaded" Link in the Smash Bros. Just think of what could be if Nintendo DID think like this? A cross over game where you can play as "cel" Link and later to swop to the "classic" Link could be pure awesome and give them the chance to do a "grow-up" story in which one verson of Link could turn bad, be the main baddie and instead of killing him you return him to the "light"....

    Think about it.

  33. Zabba 2 Saturday 24th Jul 2010 at 21:28

    With the existence of many of the games being set centuries apart with different incarnations of this "Link" person being inserted into history, it's safe to say that explaining the timeline is relatively easy. The games that don't seem to fit merely are set too early or too far along in the overall history to contain any sort of references with other titles, other than of course the recurring elements.


    It'd be cool if the nature of events repeating themselves throughout history was acknowledged by characters and explored in one of the games.

    They've got loads of potential with time travel to explain how things fit together. I like the idea that "Dark Link" or multiples of which were accidentally/purposely created in the future and sent back in time 'Terminator' style, e.g one ambushed a Link in the Water Temple during the events of Ocarina of Time to change history, but obviously was defeated etc.

  34. killganon Sunday 25th Jul 2010 at 09:00

    why are nintendo not letting us view the timeline very well i suggest ONM plant a spy trained in the skills needed to infiltraite nintendo bring a copy of this timeline so they can publish it :idea:

  35. Dooby Sunday 25th Jul 2010 at 14:24

    i personally don't think the time line of the series is as important as the actual game play of it!


    Quite right! When it comes to Mario it's taken for granted that they're all just a bunch of standalone games but for some reason there are all these conspiracy theories going around where it comes to Zelda.

    Zelda has never particularly needed a timeline and things were so much simpler with it back in the day. I just like to play for the adventure's sake rather than scrutinize over possible connecting information. I reckon Nintendo should just stick with what they know and not try to be story tellers of more complexity than their abilities. Either that or actually hire the aid of a good story think tank.

    As if. I think the storylines are brilliant, just because we don't know the full story behind them doesn't mean they are bad and shouldn't be included, a storyline adds motive and also atmosphere, which Zelda is very well loved for. The storyline is mysterious and again adds to the Zelda value, it's intriguing not knowing completely how it works, but that somehow it does. I suppose in a way it could be Nintendo's way of making us buy all Zelda games so we know the timeline :P but hey I'm not complaining, I love the games and this looks to be brilliant. Love the idea this is the first 3D game before OoT.

  36. choppaman Sunday 25th Jul 2010 at 20:57

    personally, i doubt that theres a timeline. you can't believe everything someone says. still, it's pretty cool to try

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