The Legend of Zelda games are, like most good legends, full of complex and convoluted backstory and in-universe mythology, made all the more complicated by the existence of multiple timelines. An explanation of The Legend of Zelda timeline only recently became possible when Nintendo released a definitive guide, but it’s still an incredibly dense thing for a newcomer to get into, so strap in. Things are about to get nerdily Byzantine up in here!
Before the definitive guide came out, Zelda fans theories flooded the Internet about how all the games in the Zelda series fit together. Some believed that Link and Ganondorf were character archetypes being constantly reborn and reinterpreted, which seems to still be the case, while others argued over the minute details of the Zeldaverse, like “How many timelines does Link have?” Nintendo finally gave fans the resource they need to make sense of this complicated fictional world. Read on for a breakdown of all the Zelda games and where they fit in the grand scheme of things.