Figure it out later?
So did you just assume this whole time that Zelda: Breath of the Wild was perhaps the most recent game in the Zelda timeline? Well, not even Nintendo knows where it fits.
According to famed series producer Eiji Aonuma, the team isn’t even sure on where, lore-wise, the latest entry slots in. Speaking to Jeuxvideo, he states: Actually, those timeline-related questions are difficult because we’ve never designed any Zelda games by saying ‘hey, we’re going to put that game here, we need to have it fit into this period or that one, etc.’ That’s not what comes first for us. But indeed, once the game is released and we’ve been able to develop our story, we can tell each other “’oh yes, we can make it fit here,’ but that’s not important to us. Especially since there could be contradictions in every new game if we tried to follow the timeline. If we can put a game in the timeline, that’s great, but as for Breath of the Wild, we haven’t really decided where it belongs for now.”
This isn’t just an official statement on the lore of an individual game, but a fascinating insight into the minds of producer who is shaping one of the most iconic franchises at the moment. You could argue that Wind Waker, at some point before release, was definitively placed on the timeline (same with Skyward Sword), but many others, including the infamous “split timeline” from Ocarina, could have easily been linked (ha) after.
Or, you can take a different stance and believe that Aonuma is playing coy so Nintendo can sell us another Hyrule Historia in a few years.