Nathan (vovat) wrote,

High Times in Hyrule

As I'm sure anyone who has investigated the timeline of the Zelda games knows, it's very convoluted. I believe the official explanation is that there are two branches of time following Ocarina of Time, one in which Link lived out his entire childhood, and one where he skipped a few years thanks to the Temple of Time. There are plenty of other issues to deal with as well, like when Vaati was active relative to Ganon, and which Link is the hero of Link's Awakening. There's even been some talk of A Link to the Past taking place AFTER the first two games, despite its title. And I really don't know much of anything about Phantom Hourglasses or Twilight Princesses. But general wisdom seems to be that Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is a direct sequel to the first game (well, duh), and LttP a prequel. OoT is, in turn, a prequel to LttP, showing the Imprisoning War that's mentioned as history in the earlier game. And with that in mind, let's take a look at the development of the Land of Hyrule from one game to another. Here are the relevant maps that I could find:

The Overworld in the original Legend of Zelda
The world of Zelda II: AoL
Map of Hyrule from the Valiant comic series (non-canonical, but pretty accurate as far as I can see)
Hyrule from LttP
Hyrule from OoT

You'll notice that the entire overworld from the first game is crammed into the southwest corner of the second, sort of like what was done in the first two Dragon Quest games. The Valiant comic map does a decent job of showing locations from both of these games in relation to each other. LttP shows essentially the same land as the first LoZ, but it's much more settled (in the Light World, anyway). The OoT map looks confusing at first, with familiar landmarks in totally different locations, but it makes more sense when viewed at an angle, with Lake Hylia in the lower right corner and the Gerudo desert in the lower left. Hyrule Castle does appear to have been moved, but maybe the King wasn't comfortable having his home so close to Death Mountain.

If we look at the maps in chronological order, it seems to show a kingdom in decline. Some of the races from OoT, like the Gorons and the Gerudo, are no longer present in LttP. It's possible they're in hiding (as the Zora seem to be) or have relocated to other lands, but the fact remains that LttP's population is much less diverse. And the first game, when viewed by this lens, looks positively post-apocalyptic. There's a large graveyard where Kakariko Village used to stand, and a lake with two islands in place of the castle. Pretty much all the people are squatting in caves trying to scam money from each other ("door repair charge," my ass). Even without all the monsters, it would be pretty bleak. AoL reveals that there are actual towns outside the limits of the first map, however, and most of them are named after sages from OoT (Rauru, Saria, Darunia, Ruto, and Nabooru). Actually, looking at it from a real-world perspective, I guess it's the sages who were named after the towns, but within the fiction the sages came first.
Tags: video games, zelda

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