'Breath of the Wild'
Source: Nintendo

A Complete Breakdown of the 'Legend of Zelda' Timeline

Sara Belcher - Author

Jun. 14 2021, Published 6:13 p.m. ET

Rumors are swirling that a release date for Breath of the Wild 2 will be announced — something fans have been waiting a long time for.

This new game would build on the story created in the previous title, but the complete story in the Legend of Zelda timeline is a bit complicated to follow. Despite being one of Nintendo's most popular franchises, playing the games in chronological order won't make any sense.

Here's a comprehensive understanding of the timeline for all Zelda games.

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The first game in the official Zelda timeline in 'Skyward Sword.'

After the creation of the Hyrule realm, Skyward Sword is actually the first title in the timeline, despite not being released until 2011 for the Wii (with a remake for the Switch coming in 2021).

This is followed by The Minish Cap, where the evil Vaati comes to the scene. This game was released in 2004 for the Game Boy Advance.

'Ocarina of Time'
Source: Nintendo
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Four Swords takes place immediately after The Minish Cap, despite coming out earlier the same year for the Game Boy Advance.

Ocarina of Time is the last game in the universal timeline and shapes the subsequent games greatly. In this one, Ganondorf becomes Ganon (who appears in subsequent titles) and Link has to save Hyrule from total destruction.

'Ocarina of Time'
Source: Nintendo
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The timeline splits after 'Ocarina of Time.'

Following the events in Ocarina of Time, the Zelda timeline splits depending on the outcome. Of course, the only way to complete the game is to defeat Ganondorf, but the timeline offers a hypothetical scenario for if the "Hero is Defeated" versus if you're "Triumphant."

A Link to the Past is the first title in the Hero-Defeated timeline and the third ever for the Zelda franchise. It was originally released for the SNES in 1991.

Link's Awakening is next, following Link as he finds himself stranded on Koholint Island. This title got a remake for the Nintendo Switch in 2019 (though the original was released for the Game Boy).

Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons come next, both released in 2001 for the Game Boy Color. These two can be played in any order, but to complete the full adventure, a player will need to work through both.

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'Link's Awakening'
Source: Nintendo

A Link Between Worlds (2013 for the Nintendo 3DS) follows, taking Link on an adventure to save Zelda from the evil sorcerer Yufa. The events in Tri-Force Heroes (2015 for the 3DS) is a multiplayer installment with events happening immediately after A Link Between Worlds.

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The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link are the final installments in this timeline and the first two games released. Legend of Zelda was released in 1986 for the NES (though is now playable on the Switch) with The Adventure of Link released in 1987 for the same system.

Source: Nintendo via Twitter
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The Hero-Triumphant timeline also splits into two. In the Child Era, Zelda returns Link to his childhood after defeating Ganondorf to live out his days as though the villain never existed, while the Adult Era explores the reality Link left behind.

The Child Era consists of Majora's Mask (N64), Twilight Princess (GameCube), and Four Swords Adventures (GameCube) while the Adult Era has The Wind Waker (GameCube), Phantom Hourglass (Wii U and DS), and Spirit Tracks (Wii U and DS).

According to the official website, there's no specified place in the timeline that Breath of the Wild fits, leading to some debate as to where it belongs. It's unclear if or where Breath of the Wild 2 will fit in as well.

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