Where Breath of the Wild fits into the Zelda Timeline

Find out where Breath of the Wild falls into The Legend of Zelda timeline.

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When The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild originally released in March of 2017, many players speculated on where the game fell into the timeline that Nintendo had created for the series. While Nintendo has made several comments on this matter, several people out there might still be wondering where the game falls into the Zelda timeline.

Where Does Breath of the Wild Fit into the Timeline?

While Nintendo Japan has shed some light on where The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild falls into the official Zelda timeline, there is still a bit of confusion around the matter. According to the timeline, Breath of the Wild is placed at the bottom of everything, leading many to believe that the game is the Zelda series’ equivalent of Ragnarök, the final ending.

Breath of the Wild Hyrule Ruins
Ruined buildings found throughout Breath of the Wild paint a dark picture of the future for Hyrule.

This is a theory that has become fairly widespread due to the placement of the game on the timeline as well as the overall look and feel of the setting in the game. As you explore Breath of the Wild the world really feels like the end of days. The kingdom is in shambles, many of the old fortresses and iconic locations lay in ruins, devastated in a war fought long ago. It’s a dark look at the world of the Zelda universe and it provides an excellent setting for the story told in Breath of the Wild.

On the other hand, though, many fans out there believe that Breath of the Wild isn’t connected to any of the previous titles in the series, instead standing alone as its own story. This fits into a much larger theory that The Legend of Zelda series is a collection of folktales, all of which revolve around the Hero of Time. Despite the official timeline of events, this theory has quite a bit of backing due to the different settings that the series has featured over time, and while there are a few titles that act as direct sequels—Majora’s Mask and Zelda II—for the most part each title in the series can stand on its own without any kind of connection to the other stories that have been told.

Breath of the Wild ruined guardians
The husks of long dead Guardians are speckled across the land.

This theory that Breath of the Wild isn’t connected to any of the other stories has also been pushed by some of the members of the team. In fact, Eiji Aonuma, the series producer for The Legend of Zelda, commented on the matter in Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Creating a Champion. In the book, Aonuma touches on why Nintendo has yet to define a clear timeline restriction on Breath of the Wild, stating that, “We realized that people were enjoying imagining the story that emerged from the fragmental imagery we were providing. If we defined a restricted timeline, then there would be a definitive story, and it would eliminate the room for imagination, which wouldn’t be as fun.”

So, while the speculation continues about where the game falls, Nintendo isn’t ready to make a full decision on that just yet. Instead, they feel that leaving that interpretation up to the players is the best way to go, and honestly, I can agree with that. While timelines can be interesting and fun to dive into, they also lead to a lot of unnecessary restrictions that can often leave developers in a tough spot as they need to color within the lines. Instead, by leaving things open ended to the player’s interpretation, each player can make their own decision about where Breath of the Wild falls into the timeline. For me, personally, I like to think it is its own story, standing alone from everything else. Sure, there are some small continuity things that bring the stories all together, but ultimately Breath of the Wild is its own tale and that’s what makes it such a strong story.

Looking for help in Breath of the Wild? Head over to our Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild walkthrough for help tackling the most difficult puzzles and dungeons.

Guides Editor

Joshua holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and has been exploring the world of video games for as long as he can remember. He enjoys everything from large-scale RPGs to small, bite-size indie gems and everything in between.

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