Greetings “The Hylia”:
My name is LOZ Historian. For those that know of me, yes, I was the commander of the Linearist coalition known as the United Wise Men (UWM) that I used to try and sway Nintendo’s favor off the Split Timeline (which I harshly accused Game FAQ's for being the main antagonists of upon the Zelda communities). Fortunately for all of us, those rugged times of Linearism vs. Splittism are done away with. I have come here in peace and do not wish to carry on any of the drama baggage that the battlegrounds of Zelda Universe haunt me with. Since it was hard enough to build up a revolution there, and come to the points I have made in this article below, I would graciously ask that we stay on this topic alone and nothing more. It is important not only to me but every Zelda fan that is concerned about the timeline or just tired of hearing about it over and over again. My coming here will only be temporary most assured (for a week) because I am on a journey to deliver my last messages in regards to the “World of Zelda” Theorizing. I assure you this is not some angry rant, and with that in mind, I hope to accomplish intriguing you all here on a mature and sensible basis where we can discuss over whatever concerns or inquiries you may have after reading. So please continue until your heart is content.
The Zelda Timeline. The most controversial ongoing headache people have been hacking away at for more than a decade now. What is it about the timeline that has caused such fans to delve their minds within the games' storylines? Is it just a simply hobby? Or is it something much more to the fans, something that is at the root of their interest; The ultimate quest in hunting down the clues, obtaining the keys, unlocking the chambers, and thus obtaining the ultimate truth that they ever so desire. For so long Nintendo has kept the fans in the dark, only to shed the dimmest light ever so slightly, then violently shut it off when they blindly contradict what they have seemingly made absolute. An official timeline for the fans is what a man swears to us that he is sincere in his concerns for storyline. Mr. Aonuma, who has appealed to the fans concerns more so than anyone else has from Nintendo on the timeline matter, is a hero to the hard core Zelda fans that call themselves Zelda Theorists. And their hero brought the light upon the theorist’s world when he put an end to the misery that inflicted the fans in debating whether the timeline format was Linear (one timeline) or Split (double timeline). Sure enough as the day most knew would come, the biggest controversy since the development of OoT was settled in December of 2006. The Split Timeline had won. An outburst of joy, anger, and resentment hit across the Zelda web ring; Linearists (Zelda Theorists that supported the single timeline) and Splittists (Zelda Theorists that supported the double timeline) butted heads one last major time in the longest drawn out dilemma ever. And then all eventually went quiet for a long time period…
Being the Zelda theorist I was for seven years, I theorized on the premises of principle rather than just strict theory like most others did. Unlike some, I theorized for absolute "Truth", looking into the pros and cons of the two timeline formats, determining what was logically healthier for the series. When the Split Timeline was confirmed, I went through a drastic-idiotic-drama-madness that I couldn't shake off for the longest time. Though after the "Confirmation of the Split Timeline" (also referred to as "Blue Swamp" Day) and the heated debates cooled off, I started visiting other community boards to gain my sane perspective back. I was looking at the changes in opinions, trying to understand why Nintendo picked the Split over the Linear format. I was trying to find reasons to how this would help work out the official timeline easier in the long run, but what I kept coming to was the same uneasy answers I had always came to no matter how much positive reassuring evidence I uncovered. And this doubt was that the Split Timeline, in theory (not principle), would seemingly fix storyline inconsistencies for a time being, but never definitely in full. The Zelda series' storyline progression in the making of an overall timeline is always a long term problem as fans have come to realize by now. And with that said, producer’s word should not be taken absolute ever.
There might be bad news for the timeline still. We know Nintendo has never really cared to elaborate in full on the development of a complete set timeline and here is the initial reason why:
Back in the mid-late 1990’s Miyamoto had an interview where the matter of the overall Zelda Timeline order was questioned. Mr. Miyamoto dismissed the question and said something like this along the lines”
“I will not have the series restricted to a timeline.”
It’s absolutely evident these very words have carried on to those that have ever worked with the Zelda games. To prove this attitude has stayed unchanged and is prevalent to this day, a Twilight Princess Review interview took place where Miyamoto openly admitted that storyline is the last thing they look at when developing a game. Don’t be fooled though. This does not mean Nintendo thinks any less on storyline development, its just they don’t restrict things. A timeline is the definition of restricting storyline. However, this attitude has lagged upon timeline development nonetheless, indirectly making complications in overall series relation that they claim there is.
I was reassured more behind these points above when I uncovered an article that a person under the user name: LexLionHart made over at Zelda Informer: The Creators: The Evolution of a Timeline
I highly suggest people read this if you are ignorant to the many interviews Nintendo has had in suggesting timeline orders. You will begin to see that the producers contradict themselves time and time again, overlooking facts they have had put in the games. The title in itself mocks that the timeline has never really evolved, just stayed in an utter confusing mess because of the conflicting views and principles Miyamoto has in contrast to Aonuma's. The question is, who do "WE" listen to??? For the Zelda fan that tries to follow up on how the series games relate to one another, trying to find consistent validity behind their work ... should they have to be restrictive when clearly their is never really any set “TRUTH" behind the thing we call the Zelda Timeline?
There has been one major pro behind the following of the Split Timeline; the format provided another line for the games to escape onto. I can see why Splittists would think Nintendo would become so attracted to utilizing their format because it provided more room to work with. However, one thing that many Zelda Theorists have failed to realize in the big picture scheme of their “World of Zelda” is that the Split Timeline is, ironically, a double edged sword. We have one major pro and one major con in regards to Nintendo using this format. Stout Splittist had always said that their theory format catered an easier way for the games to lay out on, with minor plot hole draw backs (thus also made theorizing easier). Yes, so be it if all else fails on the restrictive Linear Timeline format, this is an ideal way to solve problems. But what Splittists have failed to admit out loud to the Zelda fan base is the most horrid drawback possibility, which would be Nintendo over looking the use of the Split format, carrying on in their careless unrestrictive ways with storyline. And because of this very gamble of principles relying on a flip of a coin that Splittists have so arrogantly carried on in ignoring when brought to their attention, I personally have always come to resent the theory and those that followed the belief. The format just might hinder timeline progression like Nintendo has continued to neglect in the past, only in double the trouble. And I doubt that is what any fan wants, correct? We want to know what the timeline is, or why would fans theorize, why would I make this article, and why would anyone else have concerns on it in the first place... unless we all wanted to have the matter finally resolved.
Theorists have been abiding to the law of canon (all evidence that Nintendo has provided them through the games and producer interviews) ever since the first major LoZ introduced a back-story to the series, A Link to the Past. But what we have failed to realize is that our interpretations of what we have defined as canon, are no more than personal interpretations. And as such, these interpretations among themselves, in regards to the points covered in Lex’s article at Zelda Informer, are biased. But are the producer’s words absolute? Are they biased in the same way we interpret canon – what we want to see and hear the producers say? Absolutely 100% YES. I say yes, because why in the hell should fans be restricted to the producers’ word when they themselves have proven to not be restrictive time and time again when dealing with storyline. Now I am not saying we should ignore their word totally, rather we should try to understand and predict where they are going to lead the series. That’s the best a person can do and quite true fully the only thing he or she can do without falling back into the petty debate arguments which Lex's article defined into “The Three Extremes”. Granted, I personally have fallen into all three of those extremes and then some in the past, thinking that I could put an end to the confusion through force of facts and whit’s… but that just caused my ultimate destruction like many others had faced in seeking the truth and hoping for the best from Nintendo. The only way to escape this tragedy is to simply abide by the messages that Lex offered so fans can continue to debate and not grow weary in exploring new ideas. A perfect example of this is presented at a new Zelda website called Zelda Informer. A group of writers, which go under the name of “The Bombers”, type up articles weekly, their ideas unrestricted in the fashion I have just covered. If they can improve under these circumstances that Nintendo has put us under, then surely other people that have and/or had given up can return to what they enjoyed most. When I was a full fledged Zelda Theorist, I use to say something like this, “To have a more plausible theory than the latter, your facts must always outweigh your assumptions.” I denounce that saying for I do not believe there are any facts that hold any weight to the extent the producers care to abide by unless they consistently chose to state otherwise. Everything is open for interpretation and there are no limits to possibilities.
Why is the Timeline important to fans that care more about the game play aspects rather than storyline/timeline progression? "Many" complain that Nintendo focuses so much on game plot and graphics that game play development lags in the great scheme of things. This is evidently universal for any game under production regarding the three main areas of focus: Game Plot, Game Play, and Graphics. When game plot and graphics are in the main focus of things, game play development lags. When game play and graphics are in main focus, game plot lags. And when game play and game plot are in main focus, graphical development will usually lag. With that all said, what is going to make everyone happy if Nintendo can’t find the healthy balance within their series in full? Well for one, Nintendo needs to just make a set timeline evident to everyone. Once that is in play and they have to be restricted by a timeline in full, they can work less in keeping storyline indirectly complex, and thus focus more on game play and graphics like the norm of most gamers want. This is a crucial importance for ALL fans to consider in wanting the timeline resolved. The producers could get back on track of producing more difficult games and intermediate the balances f focus that made the Zelda franchise so epic in the past.
Let’s touch back on Mr. Aonuma, someone who presently has great influence on the series in all gaming aspects, and seems to be appeasing the fans that he cares about the timeline. Perhaps this is good news for the Zelda fans, but where his focus and goals set on how he intends to resolve it under Miyamoto's influence of not restricting the series storyline, our uncertain. Granted, we know the Split was confirmed from his own mouth, but regrettably he used out of in-game evidence to prove his point. As aggravating as that may seem to those that see where the carelessness of leaving such obvious indications out of Twilight Princess, this shows us that Aonuma still cares today. But I want to touch back on two very controversial interviews that Linearists and Splittists abided by before the major confirmation that represent why the timeline has been shaky since Ocarina of Time’s development to Wind Waker:
Nintendo Interview Article Issue 2002 ( Q4 Dec. 6th ) [Originally at GameSpot]http://www.angelfire.com/games5/makzelda/interviews/tww_conference.html
Nintendo Interview Article Issue 2002 December ( Q4 Dec. 15th ) [Nintendo Power]http://www.nintendo.com/gamedev?gameid=m-Game-0000-823
I would like to note out that the Split never had 100% absolute certainty that it was ethically correct in theory before Twilight Princess AND that this was officially confirmed so over at The Hylia. The Split Timeline was just an idea. “Period” Now with that said and understood by those that understand canon is a personal interpretation made by the fans, the earlier interview taken by Game Spot (now mysteriously removed) and then Nintendo Power did not shed much light either on which view was correct. “Period” The Game Spot Interview clearly showed that Miyamoto somewhat had the idea that there were two definitive timelines, yes, but Aonuma stopped him and explained it broadly in his own interpretations like he felt he was on the wrong track. This caused confusion amongst the fans and many only cared to elaborate off Miyamoto’s confusion in contrast to what Aonuma said. Though the later interview taken by Nintendo Power, Miyamoto did not say anything in regards to this when the question arose again. It was none other than Aonuma that went more into a complicated description this time around, making the timeline seem linear by taking into consideration that he said Majora’s Mask and Wind Waker took place in different time periods (earlier and later) in the timeline. This had lead many Linearists to conclude that Aonuma favored a linear timeline in his mind rather than a split like Miyamoto was thinking then in the Game Spot interview. It is also ethical to conclude this is why the Split Timeline format won favor towards the series in the end because Miyamoto directed the later part of the production on Twilight Princess - which dealt with storyline development. Yes, Aonuma did confirm the Split out of his mouth, but does that mean he always agreed with it? NO. It was not until Twilight Princess that he officially took on the format and every fan should know this. The linear timeline had been naturally set way before then. So you former Linearists out their have something to be proud about now. Splittists, you were lucky… but you defiantly had better insight on Myamoto’s attitude towards storyline, and for that I give you a grim salute.
Regardless of what was uncovered at E3 2007 about an official timeline document actually existing, we the fans can’t be sure that that document has always been the same in a "restrictive" unchanging fashion. And apparently we all can conclude by now that it hasn't. Question is, “Will it change again?” You’re probably saying to yourself, “WTF?! I can’t assume anything valid now because they keep changing their minds?!” Well… let’s take a broad look at what Zelda theorists have come to know all facts that have seemingly been generalized as canon today. For a long time period throughout the Zelda Communities, discussion had gone way down hill since Blue Swamp Day because fans thought they had defined all the alternatives and possibilities regarding the misc. mysteries of the series. As a result, many great theorists I knew stopped theorizing and caring altogether. In theory, the timeline was looking like it was obviously taking an overall official form but… "Oops!" Look what they had done though. YOU, the theorist, had restricted yourself in the fashion that Nintendo would never want you to do by limiting your discussion to only timelines! Yes, the timeline IS important because it is the basis for which all other theories are regulated by and cultivated from. Regrettably many have forgotten this in the hypnotic search for the canonically correct timeline. There is always room for speculation and certainty in all matters regarding lore and legend within the series where everything does not necessarily have to pertain towards timeline debate! If the Official Timeline were ever released, it’s not going to hinder you from discussing more than you already did, or currently do now if you are a fan. The formula of Zelda is about exploring and expanding the minds creativity. Learn from this, apply it, and thus you'll find your way to becoming more creative in other topics you'll want to start!
So be it that the Zelda fan base remains in Gannon Ban forever more or not, it’s up to the fans in provoking this matter to be resolved within the series. If the fans want the timeline for a better future in Zelda they should act now. If the fans say nothing, then they run the dangerous risk behind that ever so popular opinionated double edged sword. Fortunately for the fans, I believe there is still time to voice protests in spite of Nintendo’s repetitive goal to screw themselves in the face of popular opinion (which is not always the best and right thing). Let there not be another decade of groundless progression or things may only get worse.
In regards towards the controversy we call the Zelda Timeline, I'm not listening to Nintendo anymore. Instead, I'm Gannon Banning them because of their fickle minds and careless unrestrictive attitudes that damn timeline progression a bit more game by game. We may really want to see the series connect through in-game quotes and other misc. things from the game manuals, geography, ect… but we can never be certain if such things can be considered evidence unless we look at the overall game elements that we know we can work with. I personally am finally free from the darkness and closed off mindset that has restricted me in the past. If there is no defined consistent truth, then why restrict your ideas? Splittism may have healed the series in the sake of exploring ideas more freely within storyline development, but for those that wish to see change of focuses between game play, graphics, and game plot, there is no 100% certainty. Perhaps the timeline mystery is one of the many formulas of Zelda in what makes it so grand and mystic, but perhaps that mystery has a grip on other aspects of Zelda that we need in the series now. To lose this would only open another path of grandness in Zelda. This message to fans may seem irritating or reassuring, but hear this: The truth is not always so satisfying when revealed. Yet when revealed and done, the knowledge grows stale and so does the inspiration to continue on exploring. However, the journey is never done, it only ends if you let the truth restrict YOU to carry on!
“May the Way of the Fans Lead Towards the Timeline!”