Yes Virginia, there is a Timeline… Sorta

November 23rd, 2005 at 12:30 am by Jack

Way back when, in an interview with Superplay magazine, Shigeru Miyamoto indicated that there is a master timeline. And, to keep track of this giant meta-story, there is a “master document.”

For every Zelda game we tell a new story, but we actually have an enormous document that explains how the game relates to the others, and bind them together.

Frankly (and no offense to Miyamoto-san), I think this is a load of Keese guano. If I had two Rupees to bet on the matter, my money would be on the idea that up until (say) Ocarina of Time, precisely when Eiji Aonuma began working with the series, the game designers had been making it up as they went along with reckless abandon as to any concept of continuity.

Miyamoto furthermore explained that he really doesn’t care about the storyline, truth be told.

But to be honest, [storylines] are not that important to us. We care more about developing the game system… give the player new challenges for every chapter that is born.

And, concerning the question of whether the story comes second during a game’s development, Miyamoto revealed,

The most important thing for me, is that the player get sucked into the game. I want the games to be easy to understand, and that the people appreciate the games content, its core. I will never deny the importance of a great story, but the plot should never get that important that it becomes unclear.

It is precisely this “reckless abandon” that the theories department of any Zelda site is such a bull market—everything is up in the air! Can you (without a doubt) guarantee the placement of Link’s Awakening In the Zelda timeline? What about the entire Vaati story arc?

Clearly since 1998, however, there is a sense of continuity budding within the confines of the series. Gone are the days when we simply theorized whence a game’s storyline may occur in the vast panorama of Hyrulian history. Now, we are bombarded with on indirect sequel after another, so much so that we can reasonably assume that there is indeed a micro-continuity between Ocarina of Time, through Majora’s Mask, and up to the Wind Waker.

And now, another game is about to be plopped down into that continuum—namely, Twilight Princess. At the 2004 E3, Eiji Aonuma announced that the game would occur between Ocarina of Time and the Wind Waker (the implications of that have already been explored by TML here at the ‘Blog).

So, ultimately, where does this all leave us? Is there a “master timeline” or not? Well, if I had those aforementioned two Rupees, I suppose my next bet would be placed on the following proposition: there is, and there is not. On one hand, there is this “new continuity” between Ocarina of Time and the Wind Waker (encompassing those two and more) and on the other there is the aimless chaos of all that proceeded the fifth game in the series.

Filed under Timeline

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19 Messages from the Gossip Stones about “Yes Virginia, there is a Timeline… Sorta”


    It looks like answering the question without answering the question is popular tonight. Look at the nasty trend that I’ve started. ;)

    I will agree that they’re doing a lot more to try to bind games together these days, especially since Eiji Aonuma came on the scene; he seems to be much more influenced by this need for a timeline than Miyamoto; however, the fact remains that, despite their sincere attempts to create a definitive timeline, most games can’t be uniquely placed between two other games since quite a number of them still end up creating paradoxes or creating hidden ambiguities in the process. I still think the right answer is, “Yes, Virginia, there are timelines.”

    Well, what TML had said, I think they are now working on games to make a complete and stable time line, I mean a lot of websites I explored have different timelines, and all we know is the OoT is the beginning and AoL will be the end, but everyone tried to fill the between.People, family, friends, stop feuding over what the timeline should be…cause thats Nintendo’s department (or it should be) because, this timeline is like those 100 piece puzzles, and as time goes, you get the picture, so for now, all we have is a mess and a few pieces missing(The Four Sword/Vaati series) Yes, Virginia, there are timelines, I say, we just don’t know the order.

    I say Nintendo has a department of magical beavers that are there day and night working on fitting together the timeline theory whilst Eiji cracks the whip. Like Jack said, I think the idea of a coherent timeline and ‘fitting’ the games together is a recent idea. Up until Oot they were just like, ooooh let’s do this, without a second thought about how it all fit. Suddenly, they’ve realised people want to make sense of it all (just like they want to pin labels on the game) and are trying to show people it does make sense. Good luck to them. I had trouble when there was just 5 games in the series. ;)

    Of course there is a Master Timeline its inside Shigeru Miyamoto’s head, lol

    BTW AOL may not be The End, they just havent gotten around to makeing a game set after it.

    Good point, however, until we see the Master Timeline comes together, we won’t know what the end is, and its a habit that AoL becomes the end.

    While there is proof that AoL comes last, it’s not necessarily true. It’s entirely possible that, in the official timeline, AoL comes before OoT. Highly unlikely, but possible. And if they announced that, then it’d really be up to us, as the fans, to figure out how that works. And we would. Speaking of AoL, it’s not entirely true to say that they never thought of a timeline when making games. AoL is quite obviously meant as a direct sequel to TLoZ. So, for the first two games, you have an exact timeline. Same for OoT and MM. The question that haunts us is: where does every other game fit in with those?

    I suspect that if they didn’t have a story bible before Majora’s Mask, they certainly have one now (and may be soon adding to it for the next game beyond Twilight Princess). I’m not sure how hard they will try to tie in the older, satellite games (like Link’s Awakening, etc.), though.

    On a side note, this “Live Preview of Your Comment” feature is really nice! :D

    I think we should stop caring about the timeline, and move on. Theres no reason to keep thinking about this when there is no answer to a timeline… They’re just games people. What difference will it make if there is a timeline? Nothing! It’ll be exactly the same as it always is.

    In fact, I kinda like not having a timeline.

    Meh…Like I said earlier, the Timeline is jumbled, but slightly solved, we have in order:
    OoT, MM, TP, and WW.We are unsure of the rest until Nintendo can work on games that connect, so we can fully understand what went where.

    • 10. Nero says:

    I don’t want to see the timeline completely solved, because it’s more interesting if it’s still a mess. It would be incredible boring if we knew how everything fits into another, we had nothing to think about it anymore.

    And then I think some games don’t need to have a timeline, because Zeldagames are legends, and like we all know, legends tend to be different depending on who tells them :P

    But legends have to be based in some era. Same goes for the Hyrulian legends. It’s for Nintendo to place the eras of Hyrule in to a chronological order. This would give fans an idea of the games’ placement. Every game has something that connects to Ganon even if he doesn’t make an appearance.

    Like what, Vaati is his son, Veran is his wife, General Onox is his uncle, and Majora is the pet alien?Just playing around, but I agree with Konjika.

    Wouldnt it be cool, scary and funny if Ganondorf came back with the full Triforce and wearing Majoras Mask, now THAT would be one hell of a fight

    Hey Jack who is this Virginia?

    ^ Some classic christmas story. I don’t remember which one. There’s a little girl who asks about Santa Claus, and writes to him.

    i like TML’s view on the timeline(the one he is using in his book of madora that you can view on his sight)

    YEAH The Grand Adventures story is VERY, VERY, VERY good and ELOZE is just as good

    I just wanna say I hate the Zelda games. I am a big fan of story telling in games. I love the way the final fantasy games really let you into the depth of the characters as well as the background of the worlds. I never feal that type of element in any of the Zelda games. Not to mention none of the Zelda games seem to follow each other. Every game has the same concept the same characters and non of it really fits in with the next game. What annoys me the most is that Nintendo is still doing it. Twilight Princess looks no different. Wait! Forgot about the wolf feature. Ohhh Boy!!!. I know if anyone reads this I will prolly get verbally abused but I am just stating my opinion. I just think this why Miyamato has been surpassed by other developers like Hideo Kojima. He fails the gamers want.

    If you dont like them then what the *NAVI* are you doing here, and for your inforamation they do fit you just have to really study the games because unlike Final Fantasy you dont get spoon fed every little detail and I for one think that since VII Final Fantasy has lost its way, and how can you say that about Twilight Princess when it hasnt even been released yet. Ok you are welcome to your own opinions but they couldnt be any more wrong.

    BTW Try putting this on a more up to date topic so everyone can rip you apart.