June 15, 2013

Where is A Link Between Worlds (ALBW) Going?

God I wish I had speech to text for this- this is going to be a long, long ass series. About a year ago I touched on some of the history of the Legend of Zelda series, and then stopped all of a sudden. I want to get back on that train and continue, especially with A Link Between Worlds announced. I ordered Hyrule Historia about an hour ago and I will use it to make some references and quotations- but ultimately we need to understand one- well- two things about both that book and the timeline.

#1 is that Hyrule Historia is a published work and it will need to be documented properly. I will not be a conduit for transmitting the book on this blog because I respect Nintendo and my wallet's safety from lawsuit. That doesn't mean I cannot quote it for explanation or review- but it does mean I won't be copying huge paragraphs from it unless absolutely necessary to explain my point. The book was $20 US plus shipping. Please buy it and enjoy it for yourself. It also serves as an art book. I am a HUGE Zelda nerd and couldn't resist. I HAD to have it.

#2 In my opinion, there is an order of credibility to the sources of the Hyrulian Timeline. We have to face facts here. Things were said by Miyamoto or Aonuma that weren't accurate and that were on the spot. The manga is not canon. The english manuals for older games were sometimes wrong. The story was woven together not from the beginning but after many, many games were produced. This was due to the focus on gameplay- the mess of detangling the timeline was left to the fans, until now. The order of credibility, in my opinion, should be as follows:

     A) Hyrule Historia
     B) Games Themselves
     C) Manuals not from english Zelda I, Zelda II or ALTTP
     D) What Aonuma or Miyamoto said
     E) Conjecture

Even some of the knowledge I know of has no source. You should follow Occam's Razor as close as you can with this stuff and not base facts off of fan thoroughfare. You should also have a source with each fact gleaned. Anything not sourced is either conjecture or came straight from a Zelda game. A large part of the Zelda mythos is for you yourself to explain- and Nintendo did this on purpose because they honestly don't know themselves.

A Link Between Worlds.... A Link to My?
It's like this with all brand new Zelda titles- we know jack crap about the game before it comes out. In the case of placing ALBW on the timeline, many people are currently asking the wrong question. The game isn't out yet, Hyrule Historia was written 1-2 years ago, we don't have access to japanese manuals, so we have to rely on what Aonuma or Miyamoto said. In an interview with Kotaku (1) , Aonuma stated:

"The new 3DS game is set at least a generation ahead of 1991's A Link to the Past, Nintendo's Zelda franchise boss Eiji Aonuma told me this past week as we chatted about the game at E3. (We talked about the upcoming Wind Waker re-make, too.) "It’s not a direct sequel in the sense that it’s the same Link and Zelda. The world is the same and it might be a different generation of Link and Zelda."

If we want to argue semantics, a generation can last whatever amount of time you want it to. Typically, a generation lasts 20-30 years in layman's terms. People were asking "when does A Link to the Past 2 take place after the first game?" and they are asking the wrong question. In fact the alternative question of where it fits has already been answered, and has yet, at the time of this writing to be overridden by credibility options B or C. This means, whether you like Nintendo messing around with prequels or not- the sequel is the original game's prequel (2). Go figure.

Conjecture Warning
If you want to speculate, this could be ALTTP's Link's father. This Link would have a brother who would watch after ALTTP's Link, which means something happens to the Link in ALBW. One could argue that they are different Links that have nothing to do with each other- which is possible- but why are they seen near the same house? Time will tell when we get to "credibility option B".

To better understand the very little we know about this game, we need to understand the timeline that it is placed in, and accept the fact that ALBW is placed in front of ALTTP until specified otherwise by a higher up source. Ocarina of Time messed up everything. Literally. There are three different ways the Legend takes place (3), and possibly room for a derivative of one of the three or a fourth, "separate" one.

"Adult timeline". After Link sticks Ganon and the sages seal him in the Sacred Realm, Zelda sends Link back to his own time. We need to stop right at the point when Link leaves. This world he leaves behind is the adult timeline where Wind Waker happens. This is not the focus of our analysis at the moment.

"Child timeline" After Link sticks Ganon and the sages seal him in the Sacred Realm, Zelda sends Link back to his own time. The world he returns to, the world he left before sleeping in the chamber of sages is the child timeline. This timeline hosts games such as Majora's Mask and Twilight Princess. This is not the focus of our analysis at the moment.

"Failed timeline" During the events of Ocarina of Time, Link faces Gannondorf/Ganon in a fight, and ends up getting killed (3). He (Gannondorf/Ganon) acquires the Triforce of Courage, easily takes the Triforce of Wisdom from Zelda, then wishes upon the Triforce, beginning the failed timeline and the events leading to the Imprisoning War.

After getting the Triforce pieces (without a hero in that timeline), it is unclear whether Ganon enters the Sacred Realm (to touch the Triforce) or touches the Triforce at the scene of the battle.  Gannondorf defeats Link and acquires the Regardless, he does become Ganon (4) and he bides his time in the Sacred Realm afterwards (3). The Sacred Realm, once a peaceful place of golden skies became dark, corrupt and twisted because of Ganon's wish (5). After obtaining the entire Triforce, Zelda and the seven sages seal Gannondorf inside the Sacred Realm (3). After Link's demise (no pun intended) it is unclear what happens immediately to the Master Sword, but it is eventually returned to its pedestal in some way. It is insinuated that Ganon waited some time in the Sacred Realm; having no choice but to  build up his forces by luring evil hearts into the realm to join his army by slowly weakening it (6).

The actual war began some years after Link was killed (3). Hyrule Historia claims that Zelda, along with the seven sages sealed Ganon in the sacred realm as a last resort (3). I do not have a copy of the book at the moment, so I cannot glance into the context of the statement. This could be prior to the Imprisoning War, or it could be the Imprisoning War. I am inclined to believe it is prior to the Imprisoning War for reasons that will follow. Later, greed begins luring swaskbucklers and adventurers to the Sacred Realm in search of the Triforce- but they had no idea that Ganon got there first (3). Because of the increase in traffic to the Sacred Realm, the King orders the leak to be be plugged shut (3). As they are about to finish the ceremony to close the Sacred Realm again, Ganon began his attack and slayed the majority of the Knights of Hyrule (3;7). This could be known as the Imprisoning War.

Hyrule Historia implies that this set of Sages is different from the seven sages of Ocarina of Time (3). Only after most of the Knights of Hyrule were killed off did they successfully seal the entrance to the Sacred Realm; Ganon with it (who was still in posession of the Triforce) (3). The story will then eventually lead to the Great Cataclysm, which is part of the main storyline in A Link to the Past.

We don't know where ALBW will sit, but we do know that it sits at the (now) beginning of the failure timeline.  It is now fact that ALBW sits in front of ALTTP. Although conjecture at this point, ALBW could deal with the Imprisoning War. It could be, that, this Link encounters Ganon in the dark world and attempts to stave off the dark army of Ganon during the Imprisoning War. Aonuma confirmed that in ALBW that the dark world would return; and this plot line would be consistent with that statement (8).

Time will tell.


(1) http://kotaku.com/the-world-of-a-link-to-the-past-has-changed-in-the-new-513424187. Totilo, Stephen. 2013 Jun. "The new 3DS game is set at least a generation ahead of 1991's A Link to the Past, Nintendo's Zelda franchise boss Eiji Aonuma told me this past week"

(2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHIP9UtkQDQ. Rolfe, James. 2006 Nov. A hillarious video featuring the angry video game nerd being PO'd about Nintendo playing hokey-pokey with the timeline and sequels/prequels.

(3) See Hyrule Historia. Miyamoto/Dark Horse. 2013. 

(4) See A Link to the Past. ""This world was once the Golden Land where the Triforce was hidden. But because Ganon, the leader of the thieves, wished it, this world was transformed."

(5) See A Link to the Past. "This world was once the Golden Land where the Triforce was hidden. But because Ganon, the leader of the thieves, wished it, this world was transformed..."

(6) See A Link to the Past; GBA Manual. "After many years, an opening was found that led from our fair Hyrule to the Golden Land, where the mystical Triforce was still hidden. Many sought treasure in this place, but none returned--Only beings of great evil emerged from the Golden Land."

(7) See A Link to the Past; Introduction Cutscene. 

(8) http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/05/02/zelda-link-to-the-past-2-will-feature-dark-world. Macdonald, Keza. IGN report: " In an interview with Cnet, Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma has said that like the 1992 original, this year's sequel to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past will feature a Dark World."

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