The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - timeline placement (spoilers all)

Discussion in 'Video Games' started by Toni Codrea, Oct 26, 2017.

  1. Toni Codrea

    Toni Codrea Member Original Poster

    Gotta bring everything back.


    The Zelda timeline is a pretty controversial topic but that doesn't mean BotW can't be placed somewhere, and my theory is that BotW sits at the end of the Downfall timeline. I've split this post into three sections, with arguments for and against each timeline.


    There are several clues in Breath of the Wild that could suggest an adult timeline placement, however all but one of them have counterpoints.

    1. Rito

    The Rito are a species that have only appeared in The Wind Waker and Breath of the Wild so far. However, the WW Rito are evolved from the Zora and BotW features Zora heavily.

    BotW Rito:




    (new symbol for the Rito)

    WW Rito:


    From Zelda Wiki: “In The Wind Waker, the Zoras had evolved into the Rito sometime after the events of the Great Flood. They live in Dragon Roost Island, specifically within the Rito Aerie, a small cavern to the side of the island mountain. Due to their wings enabling them to fly over the Great Sea with ease, they mainly work as post carriers, and as such their Aerie is mainly used as a Post Office. Their location is significantly important to their way of life; it is where Valoo the Sky Spirit roosts atop the Dragon Roost Cavern peak. When a Rito reaches adulthood, they must receive their wings by traveling to Valoo to receive a scale. A Rito is appointed among the tribe to serve as Valoo's attendant. As Valoo can only speak in ancient Hylian, his attendant is tasked with translating his words. Performing music for Valoo is also an expected duty of the attendant. The tribe is led by the Rito Chieftain.”
    The only Zora in The Wind Waker is Laruto, a Sage killed by Ganondorf:


    However, BotW features a full Zora race:


    2. Koroks

    Koroks appear in both BotW and WW, and they are the single piece of evidence for the Adult Timeline without a counterpoint. According to the Great Deku Tree, the Korok evolved from the Kokiri following the great flood.

    From Zelda Wiki: “The Koroks in The Wind Waker are watched over by the Great Deku Tree in the Forest Haven. According to him, the Koroks originally took on human forms as Kokiri before changing their shape following the Great Flood. The Koroks are very shy, and do not normally appear to humans.”

    Koroks in BotW:


    Korok in WW:


    Hyrule Historia:


    3. Vah Medoh & other Easter Eggs

    The Rito Divine Beast, Vah Medoh, is nicknamed after Medli, the Rito Sage from WW, Beedle also makes an appearance but he also shows up in Skyward Sword which is millennia before WW or BotW. There are also other Easter Eggs from Phantom Hourglass:

    Beedle in BotW:


    Beedle in Skyward Sword:


    Vah Medoh:


    (Medli in Japanese = Medori)

    Other Easter Eggs:


    These are characters and islands from Phantom Hourglass.

    4. New Hyrule

    At the end of The Wind Waker, Link and Tetra set out to find a new land, which they dub New Hyrule. However, BotW is still set in old Hyrule.

    From Zelda Wiki: “Spirit Tracks is unique in that it features a distinct Hyrule. New Hyrule, as the land is named, features a unique and complex railroad system that was born out of the war with the Demon King Malladus. Its most notable features are the titular Spirit Tracks that span four directions all across the land and the Tower of Spirits at the center of the kingdom. These special tracks, the tower, and the four temples connected to the tower by the tracks, serve as the means as a lock, by which Malladus is kept bound in his prison deep beneath Hyrule.

    The re-established land of Hyrule features five realms: Forest, Snow, Ocean, Fire, and Sand. Each realm is different in climate, landforms, inhabitants, and culture.”

    There is a possibility that New Hyrule was forgotten and they reverted back to Hyrule and its crest, however that would imply the Master Sword would have had to be removed from Ganondorf's head, which would be impossible.

    Hyrule Historia:



    1. Memory #1

    The biggest piece of evidence supporting this placement is Zelda's speech during Link's knighting ceremony.


    However, the full transcript mentions "The seas of time and distance" which could be a reference to WW, and the German script references ALTTP.

    As Zelda says in Breath of the Wild’s script:

    “Hero of Hyrule... Chosen by The Sword That Seals the Darkness. You have shown unflinching bravery and skill in the face of darkness and adversity. And have proven yourself worthy of the Blessings of The Goddess Hylia. Whether Skyward bound, adrift in time, or steeped in the glowing embers of twilight, The sacred blade is forever bound to the soul of the hero. We pray for your protection, and we hope that.. we hope that the two of you will grow stronger together as one. Forged in the long distant past, The Sword That Seals the Darkness. Guardian of Hyrule, ancient steel, forever bound to the hero. In the name of The Goddess Hylia, I bless you, and your Chosen Hero. Over the seas of time and distance, when we need the golden power of the Goddess, our hope rests in you, to be forever by the Hero's side. Again, we pray, that the two of you will be stronger, together, as one.”

    Here's the Japanese script, translated by dani_dc's friend on NeoGAF. This debunks the Child timeline evidence by referencing WW and ALTTP (this is inaudible in-game but I extracted the audio files from the update, which has each line in a separate file):

    First Verse

    退魔の剣に選ばれし ハイラルの勇者よ

    O Hero of Hyrule, chosen by the Blade of Evil’s Bane

    そのたゆまぬ努力と 結実せし剣技を認め

    I acknowledge your unrelenting efforts and mastery of the blade


    And grant you blessings in the name of the Goddess Hylia

    空を舞い 時を廻り 黄昏に染まろうとも

    Whether he dances through the skies, journeys through time, or is steeped in twilight


    The chosen blade is always be with the Hero’s spirit

    さらなる力が そなたと そして退魔の剣に宿らんことを

    May further power dwell in you, and in the Blade of Evil’s Bane

    Second Verse


    O Blade of Evil’s Bane, born in the distant past


    You who bear the burden of protecting Hyrule together with the Hero


    I grant you blessings in the name of the Goddess Hylia

    海を越え 神の作りし黄金を求めんとき

    When you cross the ocean waves and when you seek the gold created by the gods

    そなたの姿 常に勇者と共にあり

    Your form is always by the Hero’s side


    May further power dwell in the Blade of Evil’s Bane and the Hero of Hyrule

    The fourth line of each verse is meant to be a reference to previous games
    First verse has "dances through the skies" (SS), "journeys through time" (OOT) and "steeped in twilight" (TP)
    Second verse has "cross the ocean" (WW) and "seek the gold created by the gods" (LttP, since its Japanese name is "Triforce of the Gods").

    2. Arbiter's Grounds

    Arbiter's Grounds from Twilight Princess make an appearance in BotW, and this can be considered more than a simple Easter Egg thanks to it being an actual place that resembles the original.



    1. A timeline which Ganon has attacked multiple times

    According to Aonuma, the BotW timeline has been attacked by Ganon a multitude of times: “the world you are in has suffered many battles against Ganon. You can imagine roughly what period it is.”

    Ganon has attacked the Child Timeline twice, the Adult Timeline once and the Downfall Timeline 5 times. (However, this could only refer to the events described in BotW)

    2. Smaller details and tidbits

    If you consider the amiibo information viable, it refers to the Zelda 1 equipment as one "of an ancient hero" while the Sword of the Six Sages is from a world where the Hero fought the Twilight beasts. This could refer to the Twilight Realm or to the Child timeline:



    The only games that let you throw a beam from the Master Sword are Skyward Sword, BotW and all the Downfall games. Also, the signature green tunic from BotW looks suspiciously similar to the NES Tunic:



    Another small detail is that Lynels only appear in the Downfall games and BotW.


    The Hylian language used in BotW is also the same as the one used in ALBW:


    Another cool detail is that the BotW map resembles the ALTTP one heavily:


    The theme of BotW is also the general theme of the Downfall Timeline, a devastated world in need of a Hero, a world full of ruins with patches of civilization but constant destruction.

    3. Awakened Sages

    The Child Timeline implies that Link was sent back in time before Ganondorf entered the Sacred Realm and before the six sages (Ruto, Nabooru, Darunia, Impa, Saria and Rauru) awakened, thus it would be impossible for BotW to take place in the Child Timeline because the Zora Tablets directly reference Ruto helping a Hero a long time before the events of the game, leaving only the Adult Timeline and Downfall as possibilities, however, the Adult timeline was debunked earlier.



    Vah Ruta was also named after her, the same way Rudania and Naboris have been named after Darunia and Nabooru.




    Hyrule Historia:


    4. Races

    Goron, Zora, Rito and Gerudo do not exist in Hyrule during the Downfall timeline at the same time, however Holodrum and Labrynna have Gerudo, Goron and Zora (non-river version!) These races could have migrated back to Hyrule after Ganon was defeated for the last time for 10k+ years in Zelda 1.




    And what about the Rito? Well, I have no idea. I guess they just appeared. Or they could be Fokka that established their own culture, since the new Rito and Fokka resemble each other.


    In conclusion, there's evidence for all three timelines, with contradictory points for each, however I feel that Downfall makes the most sense.

    With all that said, here's the complete The Legend of Zelda timeline, starting with Skyward Sword and ending with Breath of the Wild:


    Hylian Alphabet
    Ganon attacks
  2. brandonh83

    brandonh83 Member

    This is good stuff.

    BTW is the Sword of the Six Sages upcoming DLC or something, I don't remember it in the game.
  3. Aaronrules380

    Aaronrules380 Member

    amiibo I believe
  4. #4
    The sword of the six sages was an amiibo exclusive item from TPHD or something.

    I think BotW is totally in the Downfall timeline. There are so many deliberate callbacks to Zelda 1 and 2, from the mountain skyline resembling the manual art, having to cross bodies of water with conveniently placed rafts, the presence of Lynels, down to there being a shrine hidden behind a bombable wall on the other side of a stream.

    It almost feels like a remake of the first game. If it had kept the Sages’ town names from Zelda 2, it’d be absolutely certain.
  5. Mazzle

    Mazzle Member

    Great stuff.
    Before the launch of Skyward we (friends and I) speculated about the timeline and the placement of Skyward.
    Remember: The official timeline wasn't revealed yet.

    But based on the evidences and how far in the future BOTW is it really makes sense to
    place it at the end of the Downfall TL
  6. OrbitalBeard

    OrbitalBeard Member

    Toni Codrea ,this is great and I'm glad to see it here on ResetERA now. :) I'll probably re-read through it all over again lol

    Also, a wild brandonh83 appears! Missed your presence at that other place.
  7. brandonh83

    brandonh83 Member

    Ah thanks for the answers.

    You the same OB :)
  8. Jotakori

    Jotakori Member

    I personally feel BotW follows the downfall timeline, too. I think the bit about Ganon having attacked so much plus him being in the mindless form he is, coupled with the lynels, the races, the map (which I had not seen before, very cool!), as well as the sages stuff - just, if I had to pick one timeline, it'd be that one.
    However I also really like the theory of BotW taking place sometime after the timelines somehow merged.

    Also, great break down!
  9. Antony

    Antony Member

    This is a cool remaster but the over abundance of bloom let’s it down a little.
  10. #10
    I don’t think the Rito evolving from the Zora is a contradiction for the AT. They did so by magical means (Valoo) and there’s nothing to contradict the notion that it was only a splinter group or remnant of the Zora who underwent the transition.

    Besides, you get to fight River Zora in Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks. The Zora were never gone.

    Apropos of nothing, but I would love to see a remake of Zelda 2 done in the BotW engine. Heck, combine the original with it so that the first half of the game is defeating Ganon and the second half is the story of killing off Dark Link and Thunderbird.
  11. ChaosSaga

    ChaosSaga Member

    I would go with Child time line as an parallel to the original LoZ.

    Or a whole new continuity, the fourth time line/soft reboot.
  12. Blues1990

    Blues1990 Member

    You have to keep in mind that the amiibo stuff is non-cannon, so we have to take that out as being credible sources for where BOTW takes place.

    However, the tunic you unlock in-game is definitely similar to design to the tunics that the heroes of the fallen timeline, and a lot of people speculated that BOTW is a direct sequel to The Adventure of Link. It's only fair to say that BOTW fits squarely in The Fallen Hero Timeline like a glove.
  13. Jaysc

    Jaysc Member

    Oh wow I haven't seen anyone mention this before.
  14. Ms.Galaxy

    Ms.Galaxy Member

    I fully believe it takes place thousands of years after Zelda II in the downfall timeline. Another thing to mention is that the King's Diary mentioned that he named his daughter Zelda because of an old royal tradition. Said tradition was established when a Zelda sometime during the Golden Era of Hyrule (I think after A Link Between World) was cursed into a deep sleep for a long long time by her brother's greed. This tradition was only mentioned in Zelda II until it was brought up recently in BotW.
  15. Spyder_Monkey

    Spyder_Monkey Member

    It's a soft reboot that doesn't connect to other games in the timeline but references them in broad strokes.
  16. #16
    I really do like the idea of Breath of the Wild taking place so far into the future that the timeline split has become largely irrelevant. It's far enough into the future that A) a prior civilization that existed during the Link-Zelda-Demise cycle had enough time and resources to become a science fiction utopia, B) all of that information and technology was lost until C) they had to find out about any of that information from archaeological digs with a still murky understanding of what the prophecy actually meant. That amount of time, at least on a Zelda scale (where things seem to happen incredibly close together, all things considered), would certainly be enough for the child and downfall timelines to become meaningless in their differences. Hyrule becoming a straight-up ocean is harder to reconcile, but surely someone has thought of an excuse for that.

    Collapsing all of the timelines into one would certainly make future game continuity easier to build around, and with the release of the Hyrule Historia (and the update of the timeline in the Japanese Hyrule Encyclopedia), it certainly seems like they're wanting to leave that door open.
  17. linkboy

    linkboy Member

    Is that in one of the diaries in the castle. I must have missed it.

    I think the game takes place on the downfall timeline as well. Everything just seems to fit that timeline.
  18. Ms.Galaxy

    Ms.Galaxy Member


    Yeah, it's in the King's Secret Study in the library area in Hyrule Castle.
  19. BGBW

    BGBW Member

    I just want to know why rubber ceased to exist.
  20. Ms.Galaxy

    Ms.Galaxy Member

    It's mentioned in BotW that they basically banned all Sheikah tech sometime 10,000 years ago for some stupid reason, that includes the knowledge to make rubber as apparently they invented the stuff.
  21. Antony

    Antony Member

    No. Fucking. Way.
    I missed that room!
  22. Serrato

    Serrato Member

    It being part of the Downfall timeline (which I think is also the Main timeline, I mean most of the games are in it!) is what sticks more.

    But I wouldn't be suprised if it was outside the 3 usual timelines and be it's own thing.
  23. DLH

    DLH Member

    I think Nintendo is just trolling us by making all three timelines equally probable/improbable.
  24. Aaronrules380

    Aaronrules380 Member

    I mean we're supposedly getting more timeline info in hyrule encyclopedia, so I suspect we'll get a real answer there. But it's totally downfall
  25. Toni Codrea

    Toni Codrea Member Original Poster

    Thanks so much!
  26. Lizardus

    Lizardus Member

    I'm gonna have to go with a convergence timeline. Who says it has to only be in one timeline?
  27. #27
    If not mentioned before ,another piece of evidence that points towards the Downfall Timeline is the appearance of Lynels which ONLY appear in the downfall timeline

    Edit: oops ,i missed the sentence of you mentioning them ,my bad XD
  28. Toni Codrea

    Toni Codrea Member Original Poster

    I do. Anyway, Aonuma confirmed that even they don't know BotW timeline placement...
  29. WestEgg

    WestEgg Member

    I think it's worth mentioning the Great Bridge of Hylia and Castle Town Plaza along with the Arbiter's Grounds, since they are present in BotW and greatly resemble their Twilight Princess counterparts.
  30. Toni Codrea

    Toni Codrea Member Original Poster

    Hyrule Castle was destroyed at the end of Twilight Princess so that's debatable, but I did include Arbiter's Grounds.
  31. #31
    I hope kinda that Aonuma just comes out and says that it's so far after the original 3 timelines that they have merged. Or that the royal family line found out about the split timeline in someway.

    There are so many references in the game that point to all of them and the Hyrule Family knows about the events of Twilight Princess, as Zelda mentions multiple games from different timelines in the very first memory.

    Altho if it fits in a single one then the royal family must have found out about the timeline stuff in a way. Because how are those references possible otherwise?

    I dunno if we can count the first dlc pack but if yes that one even mentions the Twilight Princess herself, and that the royal family collects important items from the past.

    But this is just a example there are many hints to the Child and Downfall and creation (for sure not this one lol) timeline aswell. So it's really hard to place it 100% somewhere.
  32. WestEgg

    WestEgg Member

    There was an explosion after Midna and Ganondorf fought, but I don't think the castle and surrounding city were completely leveled, and the credits have a shot focusing on the statue of the Goddesses around the Triforce, so that to me implies it either survived in some form or the castle was restored.
  33. Branduil

    Branduil Member

    Downfall is the only one that makes sense to me.
  34. Ikaruga

    Ikaruga Member

    Great OP, I too think BotW is the very last Zelda in the time line with Ganon finally being purged from the land. I think Nintendo just didn't care much about it though, they just wanted to toss the most references to other games in as they could, would be great if the upcoming DLC would clear some stuff up. I'd love to play a prequel to Breath of the Wild though, replaying the events that took place roughly a hundred years ago or perhaps even the events that took place 10.000 years ago, there is a huge gap between The Adventure of Link and Breath of the Wild, because I am positive I haven't seen the likes of guardians and divine beasts in any other Zelda game before.
  35. Aigis

    Aigis Member

  36. Toni Codrea

    Toni Codrea Member Original Poster

    That video pisses me off. Also my thread is from June, so it predates it despite the similarities.
  37. Onilink

    Onilink Member

    Yep, the most logical placement is after the fallen hero timeline.

    Or, but this is fanfiction almost as the fallen theory before it was ufficialized, the splitted timeline eventually collapsed again, and all the ancient battle became legend.
  38. Pirate Bae

    Pirate Bae Community Resettler Member

    Good stuff man.

    I really liked how in depth with the lore they went with BotW. They expanded the universe a fuck ton with this one and it's awesome.

    I also agree that Downfall timeline makes the most sense.
  39. LordGorchnik

    LordGorchnik Member

    Have they actually commented on when the DLC is being released? I feel like I need to go back and give this game another good shake.
  40. Enduin

    Enduin Member

    Awesome OP. I was calling post AoL since the beginning. It's the only one that really made sense and the evidence just kept mounting more and more as we saw more of the game. There's certainly elements from all over the series and thus all timelines, but when it comes down to the really major important stuff Downfall and Post AoL is the only one that really fits the bill.
  41. Toni Codrea

    Toni Codrea Member Original Poster

    They've stated a few times that it'll come before the end of the year, so my best bet is either November 10th or November 17th.
  42. LordGorchnik

    LordGorchnik Member

    17th would be amazing as thats when my holiday PTO starts.
  43. jph139

    jph139 Member

    I've always been on the border between Downfall and Child. The world definitely seems more in-line with the depiction in Downfall but I think it's at least plausible to fit things into Child as well.

    The ALTTP map comparison doesn't do much for me - all of the Zelda games line up like that, in broad strokes. Death Mountain up north, woods in the southeast, desert to the southwest, castle in the middle. The only things that really move around are the Lost Woods and Kakariko. It gets the Woods right but moves Kakariko.
  44. SolVanderlyn

    SolVanderlyn Member

  45. gblues

    gblues Member

    If they actually try to put it in the official timeline, they’ll probably pull a Bethesda and just say “all the timelines happened at once.” A Dragon Break for the Zelda universe, if you will.
  46. Aigis

    Aigis Member

    not saying you copied or anything, just thought it was relevant and interesting
  47. Forkball

    Forkball Member

    There are strong points for every timeline, which may be the intention. Perhaps Nintendo isn't going to say and wants players to draw their own conclusion. This is somewhat similar to the "convergence" theory some people had where all three timelines eventually end up at BotW. Or they're just making junk up as usual and don't care about where it fits anymore. I still think a FOURTH TIMELINE is very possible. "What if Link DIDN'T get that heart piece from the frogs in OoT?"
  48. UmbriaPauly

    UmbriaPauly Member

    Great post OP !
  49. Fanuilos

    Fanuilos Member

    I wouldn't be surprised if Nintendo eventually decides that BotW is a reboot for the series. After SS they seem to have just shrugged their shoulders at the timeline, which isn't actually that irregular.
  50. Watershed

    Watershed Member

    I love that Skyward Sword is the start of the timeline and BOTW is the end of the timeline and the two games are nearly polar opposites.