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| July 22, 2014

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Aonuma Admits Flaws in Zelda Timeline

Aonuma Admits Flaws in Zelda Timeline

hyrule historia timeline
As we recently reported, Nintendo revealed theofficial Zelda Timeline when the Hyrule Historia Book was released in Japan.

With the official Zelda Timeline finally putting the debate to rest many fans began to dive into the timeline and noticed a variety of mistakes and things that just did not make sense. The reason for this? The simple answer is that its because the timeline is far from perfect and Zelda developer Aonuma confirms this fact.

A recent statement from Aonuma seems to hint that admission, “from the very beginning, Zelda games have been developed with the top priority of focusing on the game mechanics rather than the story.” He goes on to comment about some of the glaring issues, “While reading over “The Full History of Hyrule,” it’s possible that some parts may look contradictory,” he said. “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.”

So what problems have you seen with the Zelda timeline? Comment and discuss them below.

  • noahglaser

    Im mostly upset about the 3 splits. Makes no sense whatsoever

    • VanitasXII

      The three splits can be explained very easily. We know how CT and AT work. That's over and done with. The third, DT (Defeat Timeline) can occur in pretty much any instance so long as Link has the ToC and fails to win. When does it happen is useless information, all we need to know is THAT it happens, and we do.

      • noahglaser

        my problem is that there was nothing in oot itself to explain or hint at links defeat. it is something that never happened. and as you pointed out that could happen in any of the games so my question is how many more splits will nintendo invent later on to make sense of something that makes no sense

        • Jarkes

          I actually think it makes perfect sense.

        • http://YourWebsite... Toyotaobsession

          What do you mean there’s nothing that hints that link loses? Have you ever died while playing Zelda?

          The Japanese take a much different approach to mythology and lore. Not everything is a happy ending.

          Obviously nobody would buy a game that if you die at all you don’t get to play the game ever again. But the timeline is meant to emulate real life.

          • Psi

            Um…except that this would not only mean, but -require- an extra timeline to be created for each game wherein you -could- die. And yet this isn't the case. Sure, not everything is a happy ending – and if death of the main character is a requisite of the actual canon timeline, then so be it; however, when the character dies in every game at some point because of the nature of gameplay, but this is "undone" w/ each reset of the game to the last savepoint…then effectively either -no- death has occurred, or death has occurred in every game wherein the character dies and therefore a new, alternate timeline tracing this series of events is necessitated.

          • trb10g

            It's perfectly possible that every time Link dies in any game and you choose "continue playing, " you're re-attempting in an alternate, separate reality (which, until the time of death, was exactly the same). Therefore, a "defeat timeline" is present in every single game. However, to this point no Zelda games have been developed on any of those off-shoots and so it would be silly and cluttered to list them.

            If Nintendo ever created a game that was the result of Link failing in, say, Majora's Mask, then they would add it to the timeline – just like they would add a game to the timeline if it was a sequel to Twilight Princess. It just won't show up until the game is produced.

        • Mike

          I haven't seen this timeline yet, but what about the beginning of Wind Waker? In the story. When they say the hero did not appear. I mean I guess that's just for that timeline. Idk. I haven't seen this thing yet

          • noahglaser

            thats actually in a total other split. to me it should have been in the one where link does not appear

        • somecrazyguy

          ive put some thought into this as well, cuz it bugged me too, but i think i got it figured out. so you got the adult timeline, where link has used the master sword to defeat ganon right? but then zelda sends him back to his own time, thus splitting adult and child. but becuase he is sent back to before he has ever met zelda, he also has never touched the master sword. notice when he reapears in the temple of time? he isnt touching it, like the other times, where he jumps off the pedastal. anyways, becuase he hasn't technically touched the master sword now, it creates a paradox within the adult timeline, becuase there, link did use the master sword to defeat ganon. becuase of this paradox, the adult timeline is further split. in one, link defeats ganon with the master sword, and in the other, ganon knocks links sword out of his hand (we see a reference to this in the regular adult timeline. it has to happen here becuase now link does not have the master sword anymore, therefore he is able to be defeated.) ganon defeats link here, simply becuase of a paradox. in the defeated timeline, link was doomed to fail, there was no other way. he was destined to die in this timeline, all becuase zelda sent him back to his childhood.

    • Dinayarare

      In my opinion the 'Three Split Timelines' theory goes way deeper than just the third branch. To understand what I mean by this, look at Majora's Mask. If the laws of time (At least in LoZ 'Hero of Time') terms are true, where Zelda split Hyrule into two parallel worlds when she sent Link back to live out his lost childhood years in OoT, than that would mean that every single time Link plays the Ocarina to go back in time with Tatl in MM, he too is splitting the timeline, creating a multitude of timelines in which Termina is destroyed countless times and saved once.
      This would mean that there are not three, but in fact many parallel universes in the LoZ series made possible with the use of the Ocarina of Time. The third branch could have occurred for a multitude of reasons, but one thing is certain. The term 'Link fails' does not mean that he died.
      While it could mean a number of things, it most likely meant that Link wasn't there to stop Ganon from ruling over Hyrule, similar to how he wasn't there in WW because he simply didn't exist in that timeline anymore. This would account for the Gorons not being present in ALTTP, since he wasn't there to prevent Ganon from feeding them all to Volvagia. The Zora, having been frozen in a bed of ice, could have also evolved into the twisted, more menacing Zora that exist in ALTTP to adapt to the rough climate and eventually free themselves from the ice.
      Perhaps it also explains why all of the descendants of the Seven Sages are Hylian. Remember, in Twilight Princess the Seven Sages still existed, and they were the original ones, not the ones who had been awakened by the Hero of Time in the adult timeline. They all took on ghostlike appearances, and were all masked, so it isn't confirmed if they were Hylian in life or not. With that being said, it's possible that these sages were the sages who sealed Ganon away in the alternative timeline, and that they all had descendants not mentioned in OoT.
      The mixed race of Sages were displayed on the windows of Hyrule castle in WW, as well. While all of this may seem like a total mind fuck, it does, at the very least, bring about some possible theories as to why things happened the way they did in the timeline of 'The Last Hero', and why certain races that were present in OoT aren't present or appear much different in ALTTP. It also opens up the possibility for more than three timelines, since the amount of times Link played the Ocarina to go back in Time in Termina is completely unknown.

      • Dinayarare

        There are also a few things that I don't like about this theory, the main one being mentioned by a previous poster. TFSA taking place after TP makes absolutely no sense. Why does Ganondorf take on his dark alter ego Pig form. The transformation always has an explanation. In OOT, he used the triforce of power in a last desperate attempt at crushing the Hero of Time, and, as such, transformed into Ganon. In ALTTP, the Dark World shapes people into what is reflected in their true nature, which is why Ganondorf transformed into the pig beast Ganon. In the adult WW timeline, he reappears as Ganondorf and doesn't transform back into Ganon in that one, as he has aged and gained wisdom and composure in that game, and while he might still be insane, he was at least calm and collective for the most part. The same is true for TP. The entire time we see him in the game, he's calm and collective, and even displays a sense of sportsmanship as he challenges Link to a final sword fight. Although he transforms into a beast temporarily, it isn't the same beast that we know as Ganon. 'Ganon' is more of a symbol that reflects upon Ganondorf's inner self, and his true reckless lust for power. This is a display of gluttony, a never ending thirst for power, at any cost, and gluttons are frequently referenced as pigs.
        I had to make this point, because there is absolutely NO explanation why we see Ganon in his Pig form in TFSA. In my opinion, TFSA belongs in the third timeline, as Ganon is frequently seen in his Pig Form there. Hell, we might as well call it 'Pig Ganon' timeline, because in EVERY SINGLE GAME of that timeline he appears in his pig form, never as Ganondorf.
        This brings me to my second problem with the timeline. In the adult timeline Ganondorf is pretty much toast. The story of Demise has been told, and Ganondorf is introduced in OoT, so there isn't much room to expand upon in the past, and Ganon has been defeated a multitude of times in 'Last Hero' timeline. In my opinion the perfect place to build upon the storyline in future Zelda games would be in the child timeline, since Ganon is only seen once there. I don't think new final bosses like Demise would work well with any Zelda title taking place after the events of OoT, expect maybe handheld WW sequels, and I really don't want to see a Platform console Zelda title with Vaati as a final boss.
        The timeline's revelation closes the gap for future Zelda titles, and sets limitations on what they can do with the story. The only thing that was clear before the timeline's release was that there were at least two separate timelines spawned by OoT, and MM was the sequel of the Childhood timeline and WW was the sequel of the Adult timeline. Now we're left with a few small gaps to close in the timeline and the future beyong PH, AoL, and TFSA. Anyway, that's just my two cents on the whole thing.

  • VanitasXII

    Please. The Mogma race and the Beetle not appearing later is due to time. That's like saying "How come the Hookshot doesn't appear in TP but it's in OoT?". Time passed, and the devs thought that the Clawshot would be cooler looking and functioning. Simple as that. The only *flaw*, and this is moreso a complaint than anything, is the placement of Minish Cap, Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures. I'm glad we got this timeline at all, or else fans would be bickering over nonsense to this day.

    • AtrumLevis

      Thank you. You basically said what I was going to say. You get a thumb for that.

    • Jarkes

      I'd have to agree with you. FSA happening after Minish Cap and Four Swords makes sense. But taking place after those and several of the other games? That doesn't. But yeah, finally, the Zelda Timeline has been revealed, and the debate has been put to rest. Of course, the next Zelda game (which is supposed to be an all-new game for the 3DS) might ended opening holes again, but we'll worry about that when the time comes.

      What I don't get, is why Skyward Sword, despite being the first in the timeline, not only has robots, but they're explicitly called ANCIENT robots. How does that work?

      • Jarkes

        To clarify, FSA taking place after a lot of the games doesn't make sense because it has a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT BACKSTORY FOR GANON. Not to mention, it's implied that Ganon's theft of the trident had happened recently. And for that matter, if Link to the Past is in the "Link Defeated Timeline Split", then where did the trident come from in that case? Other than that, as I said, I'm glad that the timeline has finally been revealed.

        • pokemega32

          It's a reincarnation of Ganondorf that was born some time after Twilight Princess.

          And why couldn't Ganon just find a trident in another timeline also?

      • maniozelda

        Skyward Sword is the first Zelda in the Timeline for all Zelda games that exist this very second.
        But it's not the very first Zelda ever :P so there can still be games before that.

      • Link5794

        The same way there are ancient, crumbling temples, and the fact that there was a full-scale war long before the events of the game, which had happened so long ago that it had become a fairy tale in a well-developed civilizations, and the fact that a seed planted right after the war was fully grown by the events of the game. I could continue, but I feel like I've made my point.

    • http://teenactivist.wix.com/animaniac Emma Mix

      You're totally right. I mean duh, species go extinct, technologies become old news. Like Noah said I just don't like all the splits. NOAH YOU RULE! Teehee…

  • Twister92

    It is the third split in the timeline that bothers me.

  • ahmlink

    Well we must not forget that the current FSA story isn't the original story. Indeed, the story was confirmed to have been completely changed, from the beginning to the end, at the release. The fist signs of the changes were noticed when many elements of the storyline were different in the PAL release. Later on, the texts of the original plot were released and the changes were confirmed by Nintendo. The original story was intended to be a direct sequel to Minish Cap and FS starring the same Link and Zelda; it was also intended to show us how the FS trilogy were a prequel to OoT. Even before the release Aonuma specified that it was a pre-ocarina story. The story was about the "Great War" and was suppose to treat a bit more about Ganon's pig curse that was told in ALttP. Based on the texts, the "Great War " was in fact the imprisionning war of ALttP which would of placed it before OoT as well (Which would also explain why the different races in ALttP were ennemis due to the fact that the civil war that is told at the beginning of OoT that ended up with a peace treaty didn't happen yet). Anyways, at the last minute, Nintendo realised that the story was too complicated for new zelda gamers and that it would be better if the story was just simple. So they gave the task to Capcom who ended up writing a completely new story of Link, Zelda and Ganon. This was stated by Aonuma after the release of the game when fans were questionning his statements of the pre-release. He was the producer.

  • ahmlink

    So for those who think FSA was not a big deal, think again. The original story would of linked ALttP to Ocarina of Time as it's prequel, which would of never lead to a third split. The changes caused it to become the least successful zelda game ever released by Nintendo.

  • Excalibur5k

    its not a very big deal if the timeline has flaws. nintendo didnt focus on the story very much (though they made pretty good ones anyway XD) and they made the story up as they go along. and the third split is probably and alternate future that link made while going back and forth through time in ocarina fo time and in the alternate future, he wasnt there to stop ganondorf cause he left to the future already, and later made a new one. not sure if what i wrote made sense, but if you can understand it, then you'd see.

    • somecrazyguy

      i actually think the third split happened differently.i will now repost what i said earlier.

      ive put some thought into this as well, cuz it bugged me too, but i think i got it figured out. so you got the adult timeline, where link has used the master sword to defeat ganon right? but then zelda sends him back to his own time, thus splitting adult and child. but becuase he is sent back to before he has ever met zelda, he also has never touched the master sword. notice when he reapears in the temple of time? he isnt touching it, like the other times, where he jumps off the pedastal. anyways, becuase he hasn't technically touched the master sword now, it creates a paradox within the adult timeline, becuase there, link did use the master sword to defeat ganon. becuase of this paradox, the adult timeline is further split. in one, link defeats ganon with the master sword, and in the other, ganon knocks links sword out of his hand (we see a reference to this in the regular adult timeline. it has to happen here becuase now link does not have the master sword anymore, therefore he is able to be defeated.) ganon defeats link here, simply becuase of a paradox. in the defeated timeline, link was doomed to fail, there was no other way. he was destined to die in this timeline, all becuase zelda sent him back to his childhood.

  • Mike

    Want this book. ):

  • http://YourWebsite... Fable

    What part of “be tolerant” you can not understand? want

    extreme detail? Stop being stupid and focus on the facts.

    • somecrazyguy

      … these days tolarence doesn't mean actually being tolerant. it means accepting all views. but in doing so, the veiws that don't accept all views are veiwed as intolerant and must then be eradiated. but in doing this, the "tolerant" view becomes intolerant. its a paradox.

  • shayminfreak

    Meh, I don't think releasing the timeline at all was a good idea. I mean, not only are there major flaws (such as splits which require the player to lose and items randomly being phased out), but I always thought part of the zelda fun was debating which game goes where on the timeline. The only reason there was a debate at all was because of those flaws, which Aonuma was apparently too uncreative to fix by doing anything other than saying, "Oh, there's a split in the timeline there." Seriously, it just causes too much controversy and too many problems, and we were all fine before the timeline. It's not like Nintendo got any new fans of the series, seeing as the timeline was for the more hardcore fan (who would see why there were problems… you get where I'm going with this?). Rant summary in one sentence: Nintendo screwed up.

  • Farore

    Before the timeline was released it was obvious that it had flaws.

  • JHS

    why didn't I get the book

  • Hyoxjnn

    I think that they did pretty well.

    The biggest flaw is the "Link Loses" timeline.

    Uhhhh… What?

    So in LttP, Link is compared to the legendary HERO OF TIME!!!!…. Who LOST. WHAT?

    And I think it's pretty funny that in OoT, they're all like "You're destined to beat him!" and "You can do it!", then: AAAARRRGH, he dies.

    Other than that, it's okay.

    • http://teenactivist.wix.com/animaniac Emma Mix

      True story, bro.

  • karson

    four swords adventures after tp

  • TimesLie

    The third timeline that Nintendo added is what doesn't make sense. Of course people understand Aonuma's points, but his argument has no bearing on the incoherence of the "defeat timeline". I've read some people's rationalizations of this timeline and they just make it even more of a clusterfuck.

    I think the Zelda timeline worked much better when it was individual and group speculation, so think of Nintendo's as being just another theory, one of the weak ones.

  • Neofcon

    This timeline was just fan theories made canon. Nintendo never had a concrete timeline (otherwise, we’d get one after Wind Waker at worst).

    Besides, OoT’s secret “failure” ending pretty much makes this timeline irrelevant. You see, IGA’s castlevania timeline is actually more coherent with what he tries to make. He actually REMOVES certain games from the timeline if they are contradictory in anyway. Nintendo just puts everything into it and says “here you go”. It’s wild that anyone who complains about the split timeline, Zelda fanboys rush to it’s defense saying “it makes perfect sense because of so and so. You just don’t have the mental capacity to understand it.” Give me a break.

    The only reason nintendo is getting away with this crap is because fans are insecure about the series’s plot in relation to other games in the industry that have outdone Zelda in every department at this point. It’s not even a joke anymore. The timeline is flawed. the fanboys will never admit it because the fanboys are the original authors of it.

  • Joforce

    Why not just enjoy it?

  • Tregalia

    I had always tought that Zelda is and should be a legend and a legend should it stay. It's a legend that's being whispered by the people through time. The games were formed from the legends. Maybe there are more of them, maybe there's only one – but that's not the point. But, it's said even here.

    "This is but one of the legends of which the people speak… "
    -Prologue in The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker

    Some stories have much alike (LoZ, ALttP, OoT, WW, TP) because they are from a same legend and different people just have told them differently in a different time so they had changed. And some of the them are linked, because the same storyteller told more stories because one story was not enough (f.e. WW, PH, ST [maybe even FS & MC] etc. would be from the same storyteller). If Nintendo would have noticed this maybe there wouldn't be such timeline mess as now and it would be ok if the timeline was open in some points.

    To me the storyline just doesn't seems right, even if it's an "official timeline". I want to believe in the legend not into a messy timelime that had to be done for the fans. I was 3-4 years old when I first played SNES and my very first Zelda, ALttP.

    This is my own personal truth – or a lie.