A few weeks ago Dark Horse Books brought the beautiful Hyrule Historia to the states. Released at the end of 2011 in Japan, this book contained artwork, production notes, design documents, and a manga about the Legend of Zelda series. Most importantly, it contains a timeline showing the order of all the games. If you followed along with all, or even a few of the games, you’d notice there was some story inconsistencies. Aside from obvious things like the world, characters, and art style being different, many of the events referenced didn’t line up. Some fans over the years have asked exactly how it all fit. Others, like myself, didn’t really care. Nintendo said years ago that mostly ever time it was a different Link and Zelda, a different reincarnation from a another time. There was some exceptions to this with games like Link’s Awakening being a direct sequel to Link to the Past, or Majora’s Mask stemming from Ocarina of Time. Regardless, fans now had their answer.
The recently released (and amazing), Skyward Sword for Wii was billed as the beginning of the series. Playing the game it was readily apparent. How Hyrule came to be was explained. It was a nice treat for long time fans. From there though, it was still pretty ambiguous what happened next. Did Twilight Princess happen before or after Wind Waker? Did those horrible CD-i games matter? (They didn’t). Did anyone play Four Swords Hyrule Adventure? (No).
In an interesting turn, after Ocarina of Time, the timeline was split into three. One future timeline from when adult Link defeated Ganon (giving way to Wind Waker), one where child Link returns (leading to Majora’s Mask and Twilight Princess), and strangely one where he’s defeated (giving us Link to the Past). While it’s strange to have a timeline where the hero lost, it was still nice to see some sort of ordering to these games.
Released at the end of January by Dark Horse, the Historia is a beautiful book, meticulously translated. Every word and hand written side note is in English. The book was created for the 25th anniversary of the Zelda series, and really is a celebration of it, clocking it at 274 pages. The first 64 pages show notes and artwork for Skyward Sword. From there we’re given the above mentioned timeline and a history of all the games. Looking carefully we can even see a translation for the Hylian alphabet. The book works backwards chronologically going through the latter games until getting back to the original NES releases. Two of my favorite parts show how Link and Zelda evolved from their original designs in 1986 to the present (sorry of the Japanese images). My only complaint with the book is it seems like newer games were favored over older ones. I assume this is because more goes into modern games, creating more materials, and more than likely material has been lost of the years.
I can’t emphasize how this book is a must own for any Zelda fan. It’s current limited edition run (initial print) is hardcover. I’m assuming later prints will be softcover. The book is listed as $34.99 but can be found on amazon for only $20.
What’s your favorite Zelda game? Does the timeline make sense to you? Comment below!
Added this comment 1.5 years later. Future!