GTX0 AnnouncementsFeedbackHelp | SandboxNewest Posts | Replies | Hottest
NIFE UpdatesRoadmapRequests | HelpDiscuss Game Worlds

Lon Lon Ranch before/after
Posted: Posted March 15th, 2017 by Vandy

Lon Lon Ranch before/after

There are 21 Replies

I'm still trying to figure out where BotW falls on the timeline. I figured it would be after WW?

Posted March 15th, 2017 by Axem Metal
Axem Metal
Need someone to tuck you in?

Nintendo’s new Legend of Zelda game has a name: Breath of the Wild, and we even played some at E3 2016! Jordan has a detailed look at the game’s mechanics and structure, but we still know almost nothing about the game’s story.

After playing the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild demo, I’m pretty sure I now know where the game fits into the insane, multi-forked, seemingly fudged Zelda timeline. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is “Zelda 3.” Or rather, it takes place after Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link. Breath of the Wild should take place after Link’s first adventure on the NES and after his return to Hyrule to prevent Ganon’s return.

To understand how this is the case, you need to understand the Legend of Zelda timeline. Nintendo released an official history and art book called Hyrule Historia alongside the launch of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. It set Skyward Sword as the chronological first chapter in the series — which was apparent at the end of Skyward Sword — and established that Link and Zelda are reincarnated figures that constantly return to Hyrule throughout time in new lives. More importantly, it confirmed some fan theories about Ocarina of Time.

The Zelda timeline splits into three paths with Ocarina of Time. There’s the Young Link Timeline, the Adult Link Timeline, and the Fallen Hero Timeline. Young Link traces the path of Hyrule after Link returns from the future, exposes Ganon, and has him imprisoned and executed by the kingdom rather than seeing his evil plan succeed, and leads to Majora’s Mask and Twilight Princess. Adult Link traces the path of Hyrule after he beats Ganondorf and seals him away, and leads to Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass. Fallen Hero traces what happens to Hyrule if Link simply fails to beat Ganon at all.

The Fallen Hero Timeline leads to A Link to the Past, Link’s Awakening, the original Legend of Zelda, and Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link. With Link’s failure, the seven sages of Hyrule sealed Ganon away themselves until a later Link could fight him with the Master Sword to truly defeat him (A Link to the Past). The kingdom of Hyrule fell into disarray in the ages after that and Ganon returned, and another Link had to defeat him with the shattered Triforce of Courage (the original The Legend of Zelda). Hyrule fell further, and Link had to prevent Ganon from being resurrected while saving an earlier Zelda from a cursed sleep (The Adventure of Link). Breath of the Wild takes place after that.

The demo I played showed the first few minutes of the game, where Link naturally awakens from a hundred-year sleep. He doesn’t know who he is or what’s going on. He leaves some ruins to find a land that was once Hyrule, but has returned to the wild. No sign of towns or any humans besides a single old man and the disembodied female voice guiding Link. However, nearby, there’s the unmistakeable ruins of the Temple of Time from Ocarina of Time (as also seen in Twilight Princess, in similar disarray), and in the background is a nightmarish Hyrule Castle, plagued by the fantastically named Calamity Ganon.

Those details are all we need to know about where and when exactly Breath of the Wild takes place in the timeline.

Hyrule Kingdom used to be here, but it’s gone now. The old man laments that it fell into ruin long ago. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Hyrule fall, but this is the first time we’ve seen it fall dry. The gods of Hyrule sank the land under the ocean before Wind Waker when Ganondorf returned and broke free of the seal that held him. It didn’t dry out until generations later in Spirit Tracks, and even that was after a pilgrimage where Link led the human survivors of Hyrule to a new, dry land.

Breath of the Wild shows Hyrule as a long-gone kingdom. There are no towns, few (if any) humans, and the land is overrun by wilderness, wildlife, ruins, and goblins. It’s like how the original Legend of Zelda depicted Hyrule, but the dying kingdom still had some presence in that game, at least in the supporting text and premise. Zelda is a living princess, and Link simply doesn’t see Hyrule castle in the game. In Breath of the Wild, there is no question: Hyrule fell long ago.

The Temple of Time exists and is in ruins. That means it takes place after Ocarina of Time. This could indicate that Breath of the Wild takes place before or after Twilight Princess, which shows the Temple of Time in a similar state, but that doesn’t fit because Hyrule is clearly and decisively gone. It isn’t simply a castle in the distance with a forgotten old temple. Both the temple and the kingdom are completely in ruins.

Ganondorf has become not just the pig wizard Ganon, but a powerful shadow Ganon. That means he already transformed into Ganon and was defeated or sealed after that. Calamity Ganon is exactly the threat The Adventure of Link tried to stop, but only delayed. When you died in The Adventure of Link, the game over screen said “Return of Ganon,” with the image of a shadowy pig. The last boss was Dark Link, a shadow version of Link. Shadows loom with Ganon’s return (a concept we saw play out differently in Twilight Princess, in the Young Link Timeline). The dark force held in place by Hyrule Castle in Breath of the Wild is a shadowy pig demon.

Then there’s the old man, who’s simply called “Old Man.” That’s this timeline’s King of Hyrule. Under his ragged hood you can see a big Santa beard that makes him look very similar to Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, or the human form of the King of Red Lions in Wind Waker. The King of Red Lions gave up his human form to look after the sunken Hyrule in case Ganon returned. This king of Hyrule still has his health, but he has no kingdom to rule. He does have his blood, however, and that’s the only thing keeping Calamity Ganon in check in Hyrule Castle. The Hyrule bloodline is the medium through which Zelda’s reincarnations flow, and the Hyrule royal family is part of the force that keeps the land safe from catastrophe, or at least helps it recover after catastrophe.

Finally, there’s the distinct lack of the Triforce, or any Hyrule imagery anywhere in the game. The Triforce isn’t mentioned in the demo, and the Triforce-and-bird crest of Hyrule is nowhere to be found. Instead, ruins are covered with the Sheikah crest, which Ocarina of Time fans will recognize as the Lens of Truth. In fact, one of the most important items Link gets at the start of the game is the Sheikah Slab, a Wii U Gamepad-like artifact with the Sheikah crest on it, which serves as a compass and scanner.

Impa, Zelda’s handmaiden, had played a major part throughout the Zelda series, and her first big role was in Zelda 2. She guided Link to find the sleeping, ancient princess. Impa is a Sheikah, possibly the last of the Sheikah depending on the timeline. The Sheikah were guardians of both Hyrule and the royal family for generations, stretching back to Skyward Sword. The power of the Goddess of Hyrule flows through Zelda and the royal family, but it’s the Sheikah who knew what to do about it. Skyward Sword’s Impa protected Zelda by hiding her in time. Ocarina of Time’s Impa protected Zelda by training her to move in disguise as a Sheikah warrior. Zelda 2’s Impa looked after the sleeping princess until Link appeared. The Impa in the Oracle games looked after Link himself as he tried to save distant lands.

Here’s the big detail about Impa and the Sheikah: They’re only prominent in the Fallen Hero timeline. Impa is in Skyward Sword and Ocarina of Time, but after that she and the Sheikah only play major roles in A Link to the Past, Link Between Worlds, the Oracle games, the original Legend of Zelda, and The Adventure of Link. The fact that the Sheikah crest dominates the landscape — that the big connecting factor is the crest of the Sheikah and not of the Hyrule royal family and that it’s the Lens of Truth and not the Triforce — is a big hint that this is the Fallen Hero timeline.

To be fair, the Sheikah slab and the ruins we see in the game could hint at Breath of the Wild taking place much, much earlier in the timeline. They’re reminiscent of the ancient proto-Hyrule civilization of Skyward Sword. That civilization created Fi, the Goddess Sword, which became the Master Sword. However, both Hyrule Castle and the Temple of Time have been built and the latter is in ruins, so it has to take place after Ocarina of Time at the very least.

There are still plenty of unanswered questions. Who is Link? Why was he sleeping for 100 years (like Zelda in The Adventure of Link)? Who is the voice that guides Link? Why is Calamity Ganon sealed enough to be held at Hyrule Castle but not enough to keep the kingdom from falling? Regardless, I think we can conclusively say the The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild takes place in the Fallen Hero timeline, after Zelda 2.

Okay, one more theory. The Old Man is the true Link, and the Link that woke up from a coma is a brainwashed imposter sent to act in his name. A grizzled man in rags leads a long-gone hero who has just woken up to safety, to direct him on a mission across an open wilderness to fight a looming threat that happens to tie directly into who he is? Let the Legend of Zelda come back to life.

L has come to.

Edited March 15th, 2017 by Q

I actually thought it came before WW solely because I feel like BOTW Hyrule looks similar to Hyrule in WW (under the ocean).

As in, if there were an actual full-blown Hyrule to explore in WW, BOTW would have been it. *shrugs*

Posted March 15th, 2017 by Chain Chomp

I thought it took place after WW because it made mention of "the ancient sea" under Rock Salt's description. This could be out of context, though. I was just speculating. The game has to at least be close to WW in the timeline. Koroks, Rito, etc.

(Sorry for the double post; not sure why it happens so frequently.)

Anyways, a little bit of reference (and apparently, the Great Sea in mentioned on a few armor pieces as well):

Edited March 15th, 2017 by Axem Metal
Axem Metal
Need someone to tuck you in?

Ah I hadn't noticed that. That makes sense though. I'm guessing it might even come after Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks then, seeing how ST is regarded as the "Era of Hyrule's Rebirth." But then that'd mean that it doesn't take place in the "Hero's Downfall" timeline...


The game has to at least be close to WW in the timeline. Koroks, Rito, etc.

That makes sense as well.

Edited March 15th, 2017 by Chain Chomp

There are rumors that BotW was intended to break apart the timeline as well. :P
A good bit is referenced that questions the legitimacy of the unofficial timeline. I don't know enough about it/have the examples, but just something I've heard.

Posted March 15th, 2017 by Axem Metal
Axem Metal
Need someone to tuck you in?

Well, that picture I posted is taken from Hyrule Historia, with some of the weird side-games added, so I'd think that's about as official as it gets. Your speculation is probably right.

I guess we won't know for sometime, but I just can't see it in the downfall timeline at all.

Posted March 15th, 2017 by Chain Chomp

Breath of the wild is for sure set in a future setting. This is talked about within the game itself and the fact that the Shiekah Slate is basically a tablet computer with more abilities.

Its really a question of which timeline is this in the future of?

yes you may call me Captain Obvious.

Edited March 15th, 2017 by Q

I'm pretty convinced that it's in the New World timeline. I don't think it makes any sense in any other.

Axem brought up a good point about the Koroks and the Ritos; were they in any game that takes place before WW? I haven't played Skyward Sword nor The Minish Cap...yet... but if they aren't then when else could BOTW take place but after Spirit Tracks?


Posted March 15th, 2017 by Chain Chomp

lon lon ranch is in this game? god damn could have posted spoiler warning .

Posted March 15th, 2017 by ShadowFox08

It was the top post on Reddit this morning - besides, you clicked this link! XD

Posted March 15th, 2017 by Chain Chomp

There are several things in the game that confirm without a doubt that it happens after Ocarina of Time, and there is one line in particular that I felt confirmed it takes place after Twilight Princess. But that would kind of go against the suggestion that it takes place after Zelda II since they are in different branches of the split timeline, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Edited March 16th, 2017 by Johan-Sensei

If it took place after TP, how would it make sense for BOTW to reference The Great Sea?

What is that line and when do you hear it? Spoiler? I'm genuinely curious. :)

So many questions - I've never actually been this invested in finding out where a Zelda game takes place in the timeline. It's kinda neat.

Posted March 16th, 2017 by Chain Chomp

Pretty minor spoiler: there is a scene where Zelda is making some speech and she acknowledges heroes past who have traveled across the skies, the twilight and even through time. It reeeeeaaaaally seems like she was making reference to Skyward Sword, Twilight Princess and Ocarina of Time all in one sentence, which makes me even more confident that I'm not merely reading too much into or misinterpreting some one-off comment.

Posted March 16th, 2017 by Johan-Sensei

I am also open to the possibility that Nintendo inserted references to all three timelines just to troll us all.

Posted March 16th, 2017 by Johan-Sensei

I'm so lost XD

Maybe the next Zelda will be a prequel to BOTW and explain, if it was possible, how the the three timelines came together to create BOTW's story... cause that's what I'm getting here. I mean, they did split the timeline so maybe they're trying to "reconnect" it?

Thanks, Miyamoto.

Posted March 16th, 2017 by Chain Chomp

It's easy to explain. Picard took all 3 Enterprises from all of the 3 time lines to the spacial anomaly. He then had each enterprise create a static warp shell that caused the anomaly to collapse and merge all the timelines back into one.

Posted March 17th, 2017 by Q


Posted March 18th, 2017 by Chain Chomp

Neoliberalism has hit Lon Lon Ranch pretty hard.

Posted May 9th, 2017 by Skamp2

What a random irl political thing to say about a fantasy-based game under a random name in a months old post!

Edited May 9th, 2017 by KnokkelMillennium
Site Rules | Complaints Process | Register Complaint Facebook Page
GTX0 © 2009-2017 Xhin GameTalk © 1999-2008 lives on