Now that The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is out, I feel it’s time to re-examine the Zelda timeline now that we know where it fits in the story.
Keep in mind that this is only my theory of how the Zelda story goes, and should be taken with a grain of salt.
Link #1: SS
This explains how the Master Sword came to be
Link #2 (Child Link half): OoT->MM
Many years later, OoT occurs and time splits.
Link #3 (Adult Link half): OoT->WW->PH
Wind Waker hints that the hero of legend refers to OoT Link, and the world flooded when he returned to his own time.
Link #4 (Child Link): TP
Twilight Princess is said to take place 100 years after OoT.
Link #5(Adult Link): ST
Likewise, Spirit Tracks takes place 100 years after PH.
After Twilight Princess and Spirit Tracks conclude in their respective timelines, I believe the two timelines somehow become one again.
Link #6: TMC->FS->FSA
While this storyline is more of a sidestory, it does hint at some developments that show up later in ALttP.
Link #7: ALttP->OoA/OoS->LA->TLoZ->AoL
This is the longest lived Link of the bunch, IMO. After ALttP ends, we are told that Link left on a “journey of discovery” (according to the LA manual). While we don’t yet know just how many adventures he went on on this journey, I assume that the Oracle games were two such adventures on this journey, because in the endings for both games, we see Link leaving on a boat very similar to the one he is on in the beginning of Link’s Awakening. The original game then occurs when he returns to Hyrule. AoL then happens a few years later.
Of course, I acknowledge there are gaps in my knowledge due to games I haven’t played–so if you have a better theory or a counterpoint, let me know in the comments!
Enjoy the game,