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Zelda timeline may contain contradictions - Aonuma

Zelda producer encourages fans to be broad-minded about the timeline.

Nintendo caused quite a stir in the Zelda community when they revealed the Zelda timeline late last year. However, series producer Eiji Aonuma has explained that the History Of Hyrule may contain some contradictions.

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As Aonuma explains in the Hyrule Historia book, Nintendo's priority when creating the games is the gameplay rather than the story. In other words, they focus on the the game mechanics rather than worrying about how the games will fit together in a Zelda timeline. Does that mean they're making it up as they go along? This is what Aonuma had to say in the pages of Hyrule Historia, as translated by Glitterberri.

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"Chapter 2, "The Full History of Hyrule," arranges the series in chronological order so it's easier to understand, but from the very beginning, Zelda games have been developed with the top priority of focusing on the game mechanics rather than the story.

"For example, in Ocarina of Time, the first installment of the series I was involved in, the main theme was how to create a game with pleasant controls in a 3D world. Or in the DS game, Phantom Hourglass, the focus was having comfortable stylus controls. Finally, in the most recent game, Skyward Sword, we focused on an easy way to swing the sword using the Wii MotionPlus.

"Thinking of that way of developing the games, it may be correct to say that the story is an appendix to that. I even think that setting Skyward Sword as the "first story," was merely a coincidence.

"While reading over "The Full History of Hyrule," it's possible that some parts may look contradictory. For instance, the Mogma race or the beetle item that appear on the very first story do not appear on any other game that takes place in the future. I'd like to ask everyone just to enjoy the book and to be broad-minded, and to think that those parts are the way they are because of the way Zelda games are developed."

Perhaps the bit he's asking fans to be broad-minded about is the bit where Zelda fails in Ocarina Of Time and it branches into The Link To The Past section of the timeline!

What do you think of Aonuma's statement?

[ Source: Kotaku ]

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  1. Slinkington Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 10:19

    I agree with Aonuma completely. After all, they said Minish Cap was the first game a while back and that game told you how Link/The Hero gets his hat - So why would he already have his hat in Skyward Sword, which is set before Minish Cap? I'm sure there will be plenty of contradictions throughout the various games in the series, but I don't feel like the need to fit like a perfect jigsaw puzzle. :)

  2. mattym727 Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 10:22

    Fair enough :P
    If its the same Link in all the games,that also forces us to be broad minded,since he's been alive for a couple hundred years. :D

  3. Nintendo Man Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 10:36

    Heard this a million times; gameplay before story. Yawn. Items appearing in one game but not in another is just not important, heck, I never notice it. Whenever I play a Zelda game, the items always seem to relate to the environment I'm playing in. Not once have I thought, "Gee, the beetle from Skyward Sword would really come in handy in Ocarina of Time. (it probably would). Yet it's obvious that kind of Beetle 'technology' simply wouldn't exist, most likely would have broke and been discarded.

    The only item that has any credence to return is the Bow and Arrow (Hero's Bow) and it does. It is simple and timeless. The question is, is the Hero's Bow 'THE' Hero's Bow? Most would say yes, (so would I) but acquiring it does imply that it's actually Link's Bow and Arrow from OoT, as well as being some randomers one. ("This Bow is said to be..." bla bla bla)

    Personally, I don't know what Aonuma is talking about. Frankly, the 'story' in all Zelda games are compelling, highly enjoyable and deep. If all games up to present are Nintendo not giving two hoots about story, then what's going to be produced when they do start to care? o_o

  4. ktt Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 10:39

    Totally agree with being open minded about it. After so many spread out over many years the timeline was never going to simple!

  5. shy guy 64 Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 10:43

    well you couldn't expect it to make perfect sense

  6. reeesy Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 10:48

    I don't think Nintendo even started thinking about an 'official master timeline' until after Ocarina came along and made the franchise more epic. Sounds like they had to somehow crowbar LTTP in somewhere to make it fit. After all, wasn't the OoT story a more developed version of the story in LTTP...?

    I don't think it really matters though. It's a nice topic to speculate on, but i'm not going to lose any sleep over it. Also, a bit of mystery serves the series well.

  7. FireHawk Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 11:51

    Also, a bit of mystery serves the series well.


    Amen.

    Unfortunately, judging by all the translations of the rest of the book, it seems Nintendo is now hell-bent on telling us practically everything about the series, leaving little to no room for fan theories and speculation anymore.

    As for the split that involves Link failing in OOT, personally, I find it quite amusing and think that more games should have stories where 'Game Over' is considered canon! :lol:

  8. The_BAAD_Man Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 14:59

    I just take each game as it is! If there are subtle links, then it's all good! Everything doesn't need to make absolutely perfect sense and follow a pattern. I quite like it being open to interpretation.

  9. RaidingRaichu Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 15:05

    I don't care. I love Zelda, but I love the games as different games not an ongoing chronological series.

  10. lrwr14 Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 15:22

    I hope they release a English version. Would love to read the book, I only know bits of Japanese so if I brought the Jap version it would be for the pictures lol.

  11. Dertdood Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 15:23

    I agree with Aonuma completely. After all, they said Minish Cap was the first game a while back and that game told you how Link/The Hero gets his hat - So why would he already have his hat in Skyward Sword, which is set before Minish Cap? I'm sure there will be plenty of contradictions throughout the various games in the series, but I don't feel like the need to fit like a perfect jigsaw puzzle. :)

    It isn't the same link in each game, after all in Spirit tracks link's friend who was the same age as him in Phantom Hourglass is an old man!

  12. AtomAtton Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 15:40

    My friend thinks story is more important than gameplay. But hey, what can you expect from an Xbox fan?

  13. King-X Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 15:41

    I have always seen the Zelda series as "a bunch of games" - not to be taken too seriously or read into too much. So on this point I 100% agree that it's better to just enjoy each game as it is. I just wish he was even more emphatic on this and didn't give in to the timeline nonsense in the first place!

  14. tomutwit Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 16:01

    I TOLD YA! I'VE BEEN SAYING IT FOR YEARS! THERE IS NO TIMELINE! NONE OF YOU LOT LISTENED! #is dragged off by police van#

  15. MedliPrincess Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 17:41

    I would love to read Hyrule Historia for myself, so I hope at some point they translate it fully. I find every zelda game has an amazing storyline and its one of the main reason I always play each game. So if they don't really focus on story at first, they must have some pretty good writers! :wink:

  16. Tobeh Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 17:54

    To be honest I don't see what all the fuss is about. I play Zelda titles for the awesome gameplay, memorable characters, charm and music. The Story always works on it's own regardless of a timeline. Imagine trying to put a timeline on the Mario games.

    I'm wide open Aonuma! Just keep em comin'

    Big T

  17. CraigEmberson Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 18:19

    I agree with Aonuma completely. After all, they said Minish Cap was the first game a while back and that game told you how Link/The Hero gets his hat - So why would he already have his hat in Skyward Sword, which is set before Minish Cap? I'm sure there will be plenty of contradictions throughout the various games in the series, but I don't feel like the need to fit like a perfect jigsaw puzzle. :)


    That's actually incorrect, that's just a popular misconception - The game nowhere states that to be the origin of the cap... It just happens that Ezlo becomes his hat in that specific game because of game mechanics.

  18. CraigEmberson Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 18:21

    Heard this a million times; gameplay before story. Yawn. Items appearing in one game but not in another is just not important, heck, I never notice it. Whenever I play a Zelda game, the items always seem to relate to the environment I'm playing in. Not once have I thought, "Gee, the beetle from Skyward Sword would really come in handy in Ocarina of Time. (it probably would). Yet it's obvious that kind of Beetle 'technology' simply wouldn't exist, most likely would have broke and been discarded.

    The only item that has any credence to return is the Bow and Arrow (Hero's Bow) and it does. It is simple and timeless. The question is, is the Hero's Bow 'THE' Hero's Bow? Most would say yes, (so would I) but acquiring it does imply that it's actually Link's Bow and Arrow from OoT, as well as being some randomers one. ("This Bow is said to be..." bla bla bla)

    Personally, I don't know what Aonuma is talking about. Frankly, the 'story' in all Zelda games are compelling, highly enjoyable and deep. If all games up to present are Nintendo not giving two hoots about story, then what's going to be produced when they do start to care? o_o

    I think in Ocarina of Time, the idea is now that THAT bow and arrow was Skyward Link's... but once Ocarina Link becomes the Hero of Time and becomes well known, it's considered his staple bow.

  19. CraigEmberson Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 18:23

    I don't think Nintendo even started thinking about an 'official master timeline' until after Ocarina came along and made the franchise more epic. Sounds like they had to somehow crowbar LTTP in somewhere to make it fit. After all, wasn't the OoT story a more developed version of the story in LTTP...?

    I don't think it really matters though. It's a nice topic to speculate on, but i'm not going to lose any sleep over it. Also, a bit of mystery serves the series well.


    You're basically saying they forced the third timeline split... I don't think so. Everyone is constantly purely thinking about it as a game and whereas we play the game - In terms of the story, it's totally possible Link could die, so you couldn't discredit that it would have effects within the story of Hyrule. It makes perfect sense to me...

  20. liberal Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 18:57

    Basically he doesn't give a toss about the timeline, and I don't either.

  21. Starman64O Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 20:06

    So basically, he thinks it's just detailed fan work... I belive one of my previous comments may be correct

  22. carnivine chaos Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 20:41

    Lol, who said link got his hat in Minish Cap? It's not definite, it could just be a mere joke based on the hero in SS.

    Minish Cap also opens with Gustaf, the hero of man, who seems to be Link's ancestor, and doesn't have the hat.
    Perhaps he was his own legend who was POSSIBLY descended from the hero of time (SS Link).

    Either way, who says Link is forced to wear the cap? _

  23. Xikelle Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 21:03

    I'm sure there's been some comment at some point where they've said they'd probably prefer it if fans weren't so bothered about a timeline over the whole series.
    I think it's perfectly reasonable to just regard most of the games seperately, if story is ever an issue it is within each individual game, if that's fine I'm not complaining.
    I don't feel that having clear distinct connections between all the games is all that important, if important at all.
    In most cases they really are seperate events, if perhaps with some reference to one another.
    Storyline over a whole series only comes to be a definite issue, if it's a case of every one following directly after another with same characters and setting, well not so much setting.

  24. KyogreDude Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 21:04

    I just think of the Legend of Zelda as the Japanese version of Dr Who.

    Ooooh the Master Sword could be a Tardis.

    *hides from the mob*

  25. ForestCrystal Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 21:19

    As long it is Legend Of Zelda Game i'm always playing them :)
    Except for the first and second games from the 80's i'm rubbish at them :|
    Geez I haven't seen Super Mario timeline 8)
    and i have the 25th Hyrule historia book
    the work is Wonderful and Fantastic!!

  26. zapper01 Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 23:47

    My friend thinks story is more important than gameplay. But hey, what can you expect from an Xbox fan?


    Better.

  27. Medea Saturday 7th Jan 2012 at 01:57

    I'm treating it as if their timeline doesn't exist. I have my own version that makes a lot more sense.

  28. zelda97 Saturday 7th Jan 2012 at 18:44

    He didn't say there was no timeline; he said that they focased on the gameplay more, and the beetle could be in other, future games. If I am correct then there was a post here a while ago saying theres a new adventure for Link on the 3DS, which I am intruiged to know where that is set in the timeline and how the story line goes.

  29. reeesy Sunday 8th Jan 2012 at 01:28

    I don't think Nintendo even started thinking about an 'official master timeline' until after Ocarina came along and made the franchise more epic. Sounds like they had to somehow crowbar LTTP in somewhere to make it fit. After all, wasn't the OoT story a more developed version of the story in LTTP...?

    I don't think it really matters though. It's a nice topic to speculate on, but i'm not going to lose any sleep over it. Also, a bit of mystery serves the series well.


    You're basically saying they forced the third timeline split... I don't think so. Everyone is constantly purely thinking about it as a game and whereas we play the game - In terms of the story, it's totally possible Link could die, so you couldn't discredit that it would have effects within the story of Hyrule. It makes perfect sense to me...

    I get what your saying. It does now make sense with the 3 way split. But if they introduce the possibility that Link dies in OoT, then surely the same should be said about all the other games. After all, they all have a Game Over screen. Seems like an odd way to fit it in, which suggests it was probably the ONLY way they could fit it in.
    So i would say that they forced it. We know Nintendo obviously were never really too bothered about a strict timeline, Aonuma has just admitted it. Unless the games are made and released in chronological order then of course there'll always be an element of squeezing them into them timeline somehow. That's why he's now saying don't read too much into it.
    It's all good though. And I like speculating and debating it. All adds to the beauty of it.

  30. MartinIsAwesome Sunday 8th Jan 2012 at 12:56

    The only item that has any credence to return is the Bow and Arrow (Hero's Bow) and it does. It is simple and timeless. The question is, is the Hero's Bow 'THE' Hero's Bow? Most would say yes, (so would I) but acquiring it does imply that it's actually Link's Bow and Arrow from OoT, as well as being some randomers one. ("This Bow is said to be..." bla bla bla)

    Except that the bow in Ocarina of Time was called the Fairy Bow... The Hero's Bow didn't come into the equation until Majora's Mask.
    I think this is what Aonuma was directly referring to, given his example, that the inconsistancy of the items that Link uses should be viewed with an open mind. Besides, I personally believe that as in each instance of Link using an item named "Hero's Bow" he has already been named "The Hero". In Majora's Mask, he's still the Hero of Time, in Wind Waker he revealed to be the Hero of Winds, and in Twilight Princess he is dubbed the Hero Chosen by the Gods early on. Therefore, that would suggest that when it say's "Hero's" bow, its referring to it being intended for the Link who will be using it, rather than a previous hero.

  31. BlueLink3411 Sunday 8th Jan 2012 at 16:17

    Basically he doesn't give a toss about the timeline


    This.

  32. AwesomeAddict Saturday 31st Mar 2012 at 18:17

    There's one problem with this whole "timeline" thing. Twilight Princess and the Wind Waker can't exist at the same time can they? They're completely different futures to Ocarina of Time!! But i guess you all must know that... :wink: :mrgreen: 8)

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