Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Legend of Zelda official timeline

Yes, Nintendo finally bowed to pressure and released the Zelda timeline.

(Spoilers for Ocarina of Time below)

While the debate over the Zelda timeline most likely had existed before Ocarina of Time, but not to the extent that it does/did now.  At the end of "Ocarina of Time"  Zelda (and Nintendo) splits the timeline into two.  In one, Link lives as an adult in the land he freed.  In the other, he returns to being a kid and stops Ganondorf by warning the king of Ganondorf's treachery.

The timeline was thrown into utter confusion.  It did not help that the subsequent games (Majora's Mask, Wind Waker, and Twilight Princess) offered confusing takes on the timeline, and then what about A Link to the Past and the Oracle series? Where did they fit in now?

Nintendo explained they had a timeline already set, and games were added as they were made.  Arguments were made, confusion was rampant, then Nintendo relented and released the official timeline.  One part threw the fandom for a loop.

In one scenario, Link fails.  A Link to the Past, Oracles, even the first game!  They all fit into this timeline.  While we still don't know what will happen in future games, we now have a baseline. The fandom needs to work out HOW exactly Link fails, we know that he does.  He is human.

 But, we still have issues.  We don't know what happened before Windwaker.  All we know is for some reason Link didn't rescue the country and Hyrule was buried under water.  The Zora (a water species) evolved into a bird species for some unknown reason and the Deku tree is trying to bring land back to Hyrule.  While it has been hundreds of years between Ocarina and Windwaker, it does leave questions.  We know Link failed before, did he fail then?  (It would be an interesting game, to play as Link fails in his quest).  Majora's mask was previously considered as the reason why Link didn't save Hyrule, but Marjora's Mask is in a different timeline so that can't be the reasons.  And with the separate timelines, what about Termina?  Does it differ because of the different timelines? Is it destroyed in the Adult and failure timelines, or does it exist somehow?   We also don't know where the Twili from Twilight Princess enter into the story.  We just know they revolted at some point before Twilight Princess and were punished. 

And, we must ask, was the Timeline even necessary?  Couldn't Twilight Princess fit between Ocarina and Wind Waker?  And maybe Ocarina be a bit of a remake of A Link to the Past?   But, when dealing with a game with a Time Travel mechanic, there must be repercussions.  All magic has a price, Time Travel even more so.  By splitting the games into separate timelines, they not only explain the absence of Ganon in some games, but allow themselves some room to grow.  While it gets rid of speculation, it is nice to have a base to work with when figuring out continuity for a series. 

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