A few years after A Link Between Worlds
For a series about an elf in tights saving the world, The Legend of Zelda has one hell of a convoluted timeline. Somewhere around Ocarina of Time, the timeline split into three branches: one with A Link to the Past and A Link Between Worlds, one with Majora’s Mask and Twilight Princess, and a third with Wind Waker.
But that’s leaving out the most recent game in the series, Tri Force Heroes, right? Wrong. Nintendo has recently released an infographic that updates the various games’ cover art to their most recent releases, and it also officially places Tri Force Heroes.
【トワプリHD】…マロだ。これはヒゲのオヤジが持ち込んだ珍品だが…これによると、この物語は時の勇者の勝利の時代とあるな。 時の勇者？…詳しいことはわからんが、みんな緑の服を着てるのは何故だ？…同じブランドだったとしたら凄い商品力だな pic.twitter.com/hmHxA5Lpfc
— ゼルダの伝説 (@ZeldaOfficialJP) January 20, 2016
According to Nintendo, Tri Force Heroes takes place some time after A Link Between Worlds, far away from Hyrule. At least one of the Links in Tri Force is the same Link you played as in A Link Between Worlds. Seeing as A Link Between Worlds is set long after A Link to the Past, this places Tri Force Heroes as the most recent game canonically in that timeline.
Nintendo has unofficially placed Tri Force Heroes’ role in the canon before, but only in interviews for the game’s launch. The interesting thing is that it’s now adding it to the timeline months after the game came out.
It’s thematically very different to previous games, it isn’t set in Hyrule, and most importantly it wasn’t the most popular game in the series, especially in comparison to A Link Between Worlds. Nintendo could’ve conveniently ignored Tri Force Heroes and relegated it to side-game status, but instead, Nintendo has committed it and its events into official canon.
How does this impact on the ‘rules’ of the Zelda series? I’m by no means a Zelda expert, but now that it’s been established that there can be multiple Links ‘active’ in the world at the same time, doesn’t that kind of screw with the whole reborn-chosen-one bit of the lore?
Either way, damn it Nintendo. This timeline is ridiculous, and now I have a headache.