Same Links from different Zelda series
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an upcoming Zelda game which gained a lot of attention at E3 2016. Our beloved hero Link's new design is somewhat different from the Link from past Zelda games.
This is the new design. You might be thinking: wait, doesn't he usually wear green clothes? Yes, he did -- or to be clear, 'they' did. Not all Links from The Legend of Zelda series are the same person. Some are from different times, and some are from parallel worlds. Today, we'll get things organized.
Before introducing the various Links from each game, you should know who Link basically is.
He is the protagonist of The Legend of Zelda series, an action adventure RPG series developed by Nintendo. Players can choose a name in the game, but he is usually known as Link. Link is the type of hero that would appear in fairytales -- a savior who arrives when the world is in danger. He can adeptly use any items, and is good at swordsmanship, archery, and many other skills.
From The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, it has been told that Links are several incarnations of one soul. So, they have same souls, but they are not the exact same person. With all that established, let's look at the iterations of link throughout the Zelda series.
The Legend of Zelda & The Adventure of Link
Above is Link from The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link, which were the first two Zelda games, where the series started. Ironically, this Link's adventure is located in the latest part of the Zelda timeline. The Legend of Zelda, the first Zelda game is a 2D top-down perspective; however, The Adventure of Link, which was the direct sequel, is a 2D side-scroller. Many features of The Adventure of Link were criticized, and Nintendo hasn't created any other side-scrolling Zelda titles.
A Link to the Past, Link's Awakening, & Oracle of Ages/Seasons
These are pictures of Link from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (GBA remake), The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Seasons, respectively.
When A Link to the Past was first released, it seemed like it wasn't highly connected with the other Zelda timelines. But later when the timeline was settled, Nintendo said that it is based on the world where Link has lost to Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time. Link in these games starts with pink hair and has lot of costumes, which is quite different from other Links.
Ocarina of Time & Majora's Mask
The left is Link the young Link from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Middle is grown-up Link from the same game. Right is the Link from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, which is the same Link as the young Link in Ocarina of Time.
From the Ocarina of Time, timeline starts to deal with parallel worlds and becomes more complicated. The timeline splits into 3: adult timeline where Link defeats Ganon, child timeline where Link prevents Ganon from acquiring the Triforce, and downfall timeline where Link fails to defeat Ganondorf.
The Wind Waker & Phantom Hourglass
This is Link from The Legend of Zelda: the Wind Waker and The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. The Wind Waker was the first game where this style of Link, usually referred as Toon Link, appeared. This Link lives in a world full of oceans. But unfortunately, this Link is bad at swimming. He cannot swim, yet Link from a world where oceans don't exist can!
A Link Between Worlds & Tri Force Heroes
The left is from The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, and the right three are from The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes. It is a bit odd, but producer Eiji Aonuma said that he hasn't decided which one of three is the Link from A Link Between Worlds.
So, who would the new Link from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild be? Is he going to be someone from other series, or is he going to be a 100% new Link? Fans will be looking forward to not only enjoy the game, but also to fit the new game into the timeline and find out who he is.