Where does Zelda Tears of the Kingdom sit within the Zelda timeline?

Where does Zelda Tears of the Kingdom sit within the Zelda timeline?
Images via Nintendo

Written by 

Dave McAdam

Published 

31st Mar 2023 21:02

Curious about when Tears of the Kingdom takes place on the Zelda timeline? Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is the follow-up to Breath of the Wild, but it is also the twenty-seventh game in the mainline series.

The timeline, or rather timelines, of the Legend of Zelda franchise, are confusing, to say the least. So here is what we know about where Tears of the Kingdom is in the Zelda timeline.

The Legend of Zelda timeline explained

Tears of the Kingdom timeline: The timeline of the previous Zelda games
Click to enlarge

There was no rhyme or reason to the continuity of the Legend of Zelda games for a long time. At some point, Nintendo began to make some sense of the dozens of games in the franchise, and how they relate to each other. This information became public when the Hyrule Historia, a collection of books detailing the history and timelines of the games.

The word timelines is pluralised intentionally there, as there are multiple timelines across the franchise, with multiple versions of Link, Zelda, and Ganon. The main branches are the Adult timeline, the Child timeline, and the Fallen Hero timeline.

Adult and Child are timelines that split following the end of Ocarina of Time. One timeline continues on from when Link returns to the past and prevents the rise of Ganondorf, the other is the continuation of the timeline of Adult Link from that game.

For example, in the Child timeline, Link goes on to experience the events of Majora's Mask. Conversely, Windwaker takes place in the distant future of the events of the Adult timeline. The Fallen Hero timeline is one where Link is defeated by Ganondorf, which leads to the events of Link to the Past, Link Between Worlds, and even the original Legend of Zelda.

According to Nintendo, Breath of the Wild takes place a long time after all of the previous games. So much so, that the events of previous games have apparently faded into myth. Whether or not it falls in the same timeline as any previous events appear to be irrelevant as far as Nintendo is concerned. Much like most Zelda games, these are contained stories, with their own versions of the characters.

Where is Tears of Kingdom on the timelines?

Tears of the Kingdom timeline: Link in Tears of the Kingdom
Click to enlarge

Tears of the Kingdom is a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild. Exactly how long after Breath of the Wild it takes place is uncertain, but Nintendo has clearly stated that it is indeed a sequel, so it seems safe to say that Tears of the Kingdom takes place sometime later in the same timeline.

There is the possibility that this game takes place before the 100-year time jump that kicks off Breath of the Wild, but the wording of "sequel" rather than prequel would seem to rule that out.

For all we know, Tears of the Kingdom could take months, weeks or even days after the end of Breath of the Wild, but you would hope that after defeating Calamity Ganon, Link and Zelda would at least get a couple of years of peace and rest.

Considering how strange and random the Legend of Zelda timeline can be, it is entirely possible and in fact expected for new games to take place at random and unspecified times. Here, it seems clear that we are getting a straight-up sequel to the events of Breath of the Wild.

That's everything we know about where Tears of the Kingdom lands in the Zelda timeline. For more on the game, check out our rundown of all the fuse recipes in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom that we have seen so far.

Dave is a Senior Guides Writer at GGRecon, after several years of freelancing across the industry. He covers a wide range of games, with particular focus on shooters like Destiny 2, RPGs like Baldur's Gate 3 and Cyberpunk 2077, and fighting games like Street Fighter 6 and Tekken 8.

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