The Zelda series is not really known for its story. But ironically, the timeline of the series became infamous for being complicated due to the split in Ocarina of Time. In a way, the timeline does help in making Hyrule feel more like a kingdom with history.
Hence, with each new game since the timeline was revealed in 2011 (and even before then), fans always have been wondering about where that game would fall in the timeline. Breath of the Wild is no exception to the rule.
As you can see, the split happened in Ocarina of Time
The timeline placement, and the problem
At the point I am writing this post, the only confirmed information about Breath’s placement is that it is after Ocarina of Time, and that in whichever timeline it is, it is the furthest game. But that doesn’t really help, since this means we still don’t know in which branch it takes place.
But see, here’s the problem. Individually, I do like the story of Breath of the Wild. I do like the idea of the Champions, and I do like the way Hyrule has evolved (beyond having been destroyed, mind you, lol). But in the greater scheme of things, the way the game is presented makes it practically impossible to place the game with 100% certainty in a precise spot.
And it’s annoying, considering that I am a timeline lover (because there are also those who don’t care about the timeline). It’s definitely fun to search for clues at first, but it gets so contradictive that one may wonder what the hell happened in Hyrule since the last game.
That is why the 10,000 years gap between Breath and the last Great Calamity doesn’t help (and we don’t know when that happened relative to the closest game before it). Because for any contradiction, we can just say “but look, more than 10,000 years happened! So it is logical that things have changed and that certain events happened, making those contradictions possible!”, which isn’t a satisfactory response when 90% of the clues are answered like so!
While the backstory is really cool, it doesn’t really help that much in determining the timeline placement.
To be fair, it’s not that much better for multiple other Zelda games (especially with any of the Downfall Timeline games, where it’s more of a gamble much like Breath… When you don’t already know the timeline, of course). However, I remember that back when the timeline was not revealed, people already had managed to guess Wind Waker and Twilight Princess fairly accurately in terms of their position, for the reason that there was enough concrete evidence to make us theorize.
Breath does have evidence. But as you might have guessed from my contradictions rant, there is evidence for all 3 branches of the timeline! The Divine Beast Vah Medoh is clearly a reference to Medli from Wind Waker, in the same way that it is confirmed within the game that Vah Ruta and Vah Naboris are named after Ruto and Nabooru from Ocarina of Time, respectively. Hence, it can be inferred that it is also canonically the same for Vah Medoh… But by the time of Wind Waker, Hyrule was no more, and a New Hyrule was formed later, and from the geography of Breath, we can tell it is the old Hyrule, which is impossible in that timeline. Hence, that is already a contradiction, since Medli could never have existed in this Hyrule. I could go on about many, many other contradictions which involve other timelines, but I think that you do start to get the picture in your head.
Sure, I read theories about how Breath of the Wild was actually a timeline merging, where the events of all 3 timelines happened in that world. However… I just don’t buy it. Without going too much into the fact that this is kind of Hyrule Warriors’ plot, it would just mean that there was no point in creating a split in the first place! I mean, why make the timeline that complicated with the split if you’re just going to merge them back anyway, right?
Eh, I wish the developers could just reveal the final placement already.
Does it really matter? Do we need to get angry at the lack of logical continuity in the timeline in regards to Breath of the Wild?
I find it amazing that at this moment, at this place, I actually can afford to spend time on whining about the timeline of a fictional world. Because in the end, as much as I love the Zelda timeline, it doesn’t matter, and I’m not just talking in the perspective of the developers or the theorists or whatnot. Because as previously stated, Hyrule is a fictional world.
I’ve seen people unleash anger on others because of this timeline business. Sure, it’s annoying. Sure, I bet that when the developers will FINALLY come out and say it I’ll be satisfied with the answer. But the more I spend time thinking about the Zelda timeline and where Breath of the Wild is, the more I realize that I really need to find a new way to spend my time, a wiser way you may say.
After all, why is it that we get this angry over that? I could go on and on about other ways one who gets excessively angry about Breath of the Wild and the Zelda timeline could use their time, but I think that I’m going to close off.
Yes, I LOATH the fact that we can’t accurately place the game in the timeline at this point.
But it doesn’t matter.
What do you guys think of the Zelda timeline, and where do you think Breath of the Wild should be? Do you agree on my stance about whether it matters or not? Say your thoughts! 🙂