The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild doesn't have a place on the official Zelda timeline, and it never will, confirms long-serving producer on the series, Eiji Aonuma.
As you may know, the official timeline of The Legend of Zelda has been a controversy among Nintendo fans for years, and while Nintendo releasing the official Hyrule Historia collector's book in 2011 helped put some of the debate to an end, the release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in 2017 re-opened the can of worms when Nintendo refused to put it on the timeline. And it still refuses to do so.
“[With Breath of the Wild] we got a lot of responses from adult players who said they felt the same way playing this game as they did when they used to be hooked on video games when they were younger," said Aonuma in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild -- Creating a Champion hardcover that released this month. "In books like the recently released The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia, we revealed where each Zelda game fell on a timeline and how their stories related, but we didn’t do that for Breath of the Wild."
"There is a reason for that. With this game, we saw just how many players were playing in their own way and had those reactions I just mentioned. We realized that people were enjoying imagining the story that emerged from the fragmental imagery we were providing. If we defined a restricted timeline, then there would be a definitive story, and it would eliminate the room for imagination, which wouldn’t be as fun.1comments
"We want players to be able to continue having fun imagining this world even after they are finished with the game, so, this time, we decided that we would avoid making clarifications. I hope that everyone can find their own answer, in their own way.”
Interestingly, this seemingly goes against comments made by Aonuma earlier this year that eluded that it goes at the end of the timeline. However, this was never an official declaration. And for now -- to the pain of some Nintendo fans -- Breath of the Wild remains the only game unplaced in the official timeline. Whether this will ever change, who knows. If Aonuma has any say in it, it probably won't.