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Blame Ocarina of Time for Legend of Zelda’s Messy Timeline

The Legend of Zelda has introduced many great ideas as well as a wildly messy timeline.

The Legend of Zelda is a franchise that has helped young fans enter a world of fantasy while older fans find themselves unraveling a timeless story of good vs. evil. However, those of us who know the Zelda franchise well know that the timeline of the franchise is utterly confusing. The answer for why lies squarely on the much-beloved The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

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Ocarina of Time Was Groundbreaking For the Franchise

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The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was one of the earliest 3D games in the franchise and wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries of story and gameplay. Now, you could explore Hyrule from every angle, allowing the physics of the world to be manipulated. The best way this was shown was in the game’s story, which was the first to manipulate time and space on a grand scale. What resulted were two endings: one where Link defeated Ganondorf and he goes on to many more adventures both as a child and adult. However, there’s another timeline where Link fails, and a new series of adventures is born.

With three timelines officially confirmed in the series, it begged the question of why and even led to speculation of their validity until they were confirmed by producer Eiji Aonuma and also in the Hyrule Historia book. Ultimately, the reason for this was neither grand nor alluding to a grander future, but mainly because the creators just wanted to create a branched timeline with its characters.

The Legend of Zelda’s Weird Timeline Has Created Decades of Confusion

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Similar to the timeline of Kingdom Hearts, even when the timeline has been clearly explained, it’s still confusing to understand and even more difficult to explain to others. However, where Kingdom Hearts only has a couple of canon prequels, The Legend of Zelda‘s games could be released without a defined timeline, leaving it to us to figure out where the game stands in the universe.

A prime example of this can be seen in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild universe, where even though time travel plays a large role, there’s no definitive timeline it can claim. Therefore, it’s possible the latest series exists in its own timeline without any nods to what came before. Or, at the very least, it’s the timeline from which all other timelines were born. Ultimately, there’s no telling if The Legend of Zelda‘s timeline will get properly sorted, but it’s clear that all of the blame has to be on Ocarina of Time and the fact that the branches were born out of curiosity and nothing more.

Curious about the weird world of The Legend of Zelda? Read our other Legend of Zelda articles in the meantime.

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Nicholas Brooks
Nick is a Freelance Writer at Gameskinny and brings with him over a decade of writing and editing experience from sites like CBR and Gameskinny. He also runs a small podcast called Popsubclub, where he interviews individuals in the entertainment industry as well as talks with peers. Nick's love of video games is only a small part of his passions as he's also an avid fan of movies, comics, music and theme parks. Make sure to follow his Instagram (@Comicsubclub) for more.