Official Nintendo Magazine

Log in to access exclusive Nintendo content, win prizes and post on our forums. Not a member yet? Join for free

Ocarina writer wanted to put Zelda timeline online

What stopped him?

It's the mystery that Zelda fans have been talking about for years. What is the exact chronology of the Legend Of Zelda games? Well, Nintendo's Dan Owsen has admitted that Nintendo Of America wanted to end the mystery by releasing a draft of the Zelda timeline online.

Owsen, who was the English script writer for games such as Legend Of Zelda: Link To The Past, Link's Awakening and Ocarina Of Time, told Zelda Dungeon that Nintendo Japan vetoed the move to make the timeline public.

<b>Skyward Sword takes place before Ocarina</b>
Skyward Sword takes place before Ocarina
"At one point we had drafted a timeline and wanted to make it available online," said Owsen. "We showed it to the guys in Japan and they basically told us that it would be best if we didn't post it. They do have a timeline that has continuity between the games but they wanted to keep it open for how each player views the chronology of the series."

He added: "There are a lot of connections between the games, but they do have a timeline that has continuity. It's up to the player to place all the pieces together."

Yet despite wanting to make the timeline available for all to see, Owsen understands where the developers of the game are coming from.

"The developers feel that posting a full narrative would take away from the players' imagination. Part of what makes the series so special is the legend that spans across the series and they wanted to preserve that in the players' vision.

"It's also why they have never given Link a voice. The story is told as if the player is Link. Giving him a voice would eliminate that attachment."

However, Nintendo Japan do occasionally drop hints about the Zelda timeline. Last year Zelda mastermind Eiji Aonuma admitted that Skyward Sword takes place before Ocarina Of time.

Want to know how the Legend Of Zelda games fit together? Here's our take on the Zelda timeline.

Do you have any theories of your own?


23 comments so far...
Add a comment

  1. lminett Monday 23rd May 2011 at 11:57

    The zelda series dosent really need a timeline, they all seem to be set in different universes anyway, The orginal zelda and link to the past are one universe where as OOT and majorias mask are another, and wind waker, PH and ST are in another.

  2. shy guy 64 Monday 23rd May 2011 at 12:02

    i do like seeing what theroies pepole come up with

    but i'd love to see the official timeline

    better get a job at nintendo then

  3. emperor ing Monday 23rd May 2011 at 12:35

    Interesting. I can see where Nintendo are coming from, but I compare Zelda to a series of books (since the fantasy elements are very similar story-telling wise); and I think players would benefit in actually seeing how the games fit together, to see the full story.

    Personally I go off the standard dual timeline theory.

  4. MrChewtoy Monday 23rd May 2011 at 12:42

    Not really too bothered about a timeline myself. Obviously I'd be interested in the official one, but I'm not overly fussed about speculating. If Nintendo did release the official one, it wouldn't spoil the magic for me, because for me each game is different and so therefore it makes little difference knowing the order of them.

  5. Zabba 2 Monday 23rd May 2011 at 13:21

    It would certainly be easier on everyone if they release the timeline. However, I've got a weird feeling that we might not like what we see.

    They stated one of the primary reasons for keeping it a secret is for people to put the pieces together themselves, perhaps this is better for us.

    For example my particular favourite theory is the time split created after Ocarina of Time. To me that makes a lot of sense in the context of how Windwaker and Twilight Princess fit together (they're at the same time in alternate universes)

    I also like to think that the true story is told within the 3D games, and the rest of them, like A Link to the Past or the original Zelda, are re-tellings of this adventure, distorted by chinese whispers in their own unique way.

    So obviously, should the real timeline be revealed, perhaps their view on the continuity is a lot different from mine, and won't make sense for me on a personal level.

  6. Joe_Crow Monday 23rd May 2011 at 14:34

    I agree. I can come up with my own.

    I also agree with Link not having a voice. He doesn't need one, it would not benefit the game. Other characters however, it would be nice if they were voiced.

  7. Switzerninmaster Monday 23rd May 2011 at 15:26

    The day Link has a voice is the day i stop buying LOZ games

  8. Lugia Monday 23rd May 2011 at 15:49

    Theres a timeline?!

  9. mog96 Monday 23rd May 2011 at 15:54

    Yet it may be interesting and some people would want to know, i consider the LoZ series as "Games", yeah its interesting to find out about the timeline, but i don't think most game makers want to go into THAT much depth, like saying they can't be brothers and so and so are in a relationship.

  10. Waldy565 Monday 23rd May 2011 at 16:09

    even though they have said about not releaing it so we can still use our imigination, i hope theyr bevel a big hint or the timeline eventually as it would be nice too know where everything fits

  11. dm_1782 Monday 23rd May 2011 at 16:13

    Isnt Skyward Sword the very first Zelda in the timeline im sure thats what either Miyamoto or Iwata said.

  12. RubbishGamer Monday 23rd May 2011 at 16:33

    I'm fed up with making stuff up. I want the real thing!

  13. Riverlution Monday 23rd May 2011 at 16:57

    I like the fact that we don't know what comes first (for the most part). The timeline would not ruin the experience, but I don't think Zelda will ever be the same if we know when we're playing it where in the timeline it fits in. I like the fact that there are many different theories, and I actually hope that this official timeline actually just states that there is no timeline and instead are just different ways that one single legend has been 'remembered' down the line - different variations. Obviously the story would have to have been twisted a lot to fit this so it doesn't really seem viable to me

  14. TaleOfTheToaster Monday 23rd May 2011 at 17:09

    I wouldn't feel like Link when playing a Zelda game. I'm not some tunic-dressed, elf-eared, wierd hat-wearing, sword wielding person who's saved the world from mass destruction numerous times. I just feel like myself, while at the same time playing as Link. So I would just rather him have a voice.

  15. hqmanpoke Monday 23rd May 2011 at 17:17

    Ah, this is easy. It all happens in different/alternate dimensions, so basically everything is happening at the same time..

  16. giantsandles Monday 23rd May 2011 at 18:23

    It'd be pretty cool to see, but I'm not one of these people who gets really worked up about trying to work out the timeline - it doesn't matter that much.

  17. CraigEmberson Monday 23rd May 2011 at 19:27

    The zelda series dosent really need a timeline, they all seem to be set in different universes anyway, The orginal zelda and link to the past are one universe where as OOT and majorias mask are another, and wind waker, PH and ST are in another.

    They're actually not supposed to be divided into universes. The only reason that 2 games, one after the other, look different is because a specific amount of time would have passed between games and locations always change in hundreds of years. So far what's definite is...

    Skyward Sword (Creation of the Master Sword)
    ? (If any between)
    Ocarina of Time (Minus the Adult Sided Timeline)
    Majora's Mask (After Link disappears to find a "friend" after returning to his Child Timeline)
    ? (If any between)
    The WindWaker (The story describes what happened when Link went into Majora's Mask)
    Phantom Hourglass (Direct Sequel to TWW after Link sets off to find a new land for Hyrule)
    Spirit Tracks (The Hyrule there is 100 years later and the Hyrule that PH Link helped find and build)

  18. cheatmaster30 Monday 23rd May 2011 at 22:08

    The most likely answer is that putting one online means Nintendo would be sort of bound to it, if a future game means putting an older game in a different order, they couldn't just quickly change it without annoying the fans, who'd probably take the timeline to be set in stone and unchangeable.

    The other factors are important too, such as those mentioned in the article.

  19. Daz_Dagon Tuesday 24th May 2011 at 01:50

    Question what does nintendo gain from all this zelda timeline secrecy? If nothing why not spill the beans? Its getting a little too far now. Come on nintendo out with it.

  20. Eragon Firesword Tuesday 24th May 2011 at 18:55

    Don't tell people, I say! There's nothing more annoyig than working a chronology out based around small facts and trivia you're seen in the games and then being told it's officially all wrong. I mean, I even disagree with the hypothetical timeline seen in this very magazine - I believe that Oot is chronologically first, and that the WW/PH/ST section all happened a few generations after whatever came last chronologically in the main timeline (it's either LttP or TP).

  21. stealth1497 Tuesday 24th May 2011 at 19:00

    in my opinion, if they did release the timeline it would ruin the mystery behind the whole zelda series. nintendo want their fans to keep on guessing, until the time is right to release it for a specific purpose. until then i like it the way it is, i like to speculate

  22. LBDNytetrayn Wednesday 25th May 2011 at 05:54

    I don't get it. Why have a timeline at all if it doesn't matter?

    And if they don't want us to know, then why tell us the order of some games, but not others? Why can we know that Skyward Sword takes place before Ocarina of Time, but we can't know how Twilight Princess and Wind Waker relate to one-another?

    At the very least, is it really too much to inform us whether or not the split timeline theory is correct? I've grown to like that one, but I would be really irritated if Nintendo did come out with it someday and said "everything you know is wrong."

    Maybe that's the reason why they're reluctant to share it, because it's been so long, and they don't want to wreck it for people.

    But then, the more games they add, the worse it gets. And that goes back to the first point: if they'll never release it, then why have a timeline at all?

    Frankly, while it may differ for some, the knowledge that there is a timeline kills a lot of it for me. I'm not interested in speculation and conjecture; like Wright and Edgeworth, I'm only interested in the truth.

  23. Mmmyeah Wednesday 25th May 2011 at 19:12

    i have always thought of the zelda games as being you playing through a story that someone is telling. each part is being told by a different person, except for games that are in order like the first two or oot and mm. thats why each game has it's own feel.

Register or log in to commment
Add a comment
Nintendo Co., Ltd. is the owner of certain copyright which subsists and trade marks and other intellectual property rights in certain content, characters, artwork, logos, scripts and representations used in this publication. All rights are expressly recognised and they are used by Future Publishing Limited under licence © 2006 Nintendo Co., Ltd. All rights reserved. "Nintendo", "International Nintendo Licensed Product" "Nintendo DS", "Nintendo DS Lite", "Nintendo DSi", "Nintendo 3DS", "Nintendo DSi XL", "Nintendo 3DS XL", "Wii" and "Wii U" and the associated logos are the trademarks of Nintendo Co. Ltd. All rights reserved.