Posted on June 22 2022 by George Cortez
One of the most intriguing discussion topics the Zelda series has brought to us is its consistency. Specifically in this case, the lack thereof. While some aspects of the Zelda series are consistent, it doesn’t take a well-seasoned fan to see that the overworld maps among the games don’t really “line up” with each other. Of course, Nintendo wants each Zelda experience to be something unique across each individual title, and reusing an entire main game map isn’t something game developers do to differentiate their games. Naturally, this hasn’t stopped fans from theory and speculation connecting the geography, especially knowing there are official canon connections across the titles.
While the only exceptions to this conundrum are The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and the upcoming sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, fans have attempted to piece together a consistent geography in many creative ways. One common way consists of rotating a game’s map to match up with another to create some sort of alignment among them. This Imgur post here shows a pretty complex but accurate alignment among the locations of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker, and Breath of the Wild by rotation alignment. And to be honest, I believe the best chance of consistent geography among non-direct sequel games is through Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker, as depicted from that first post along with this post on their alignment without any rotation. However, there are many accurate interpretations that contradict these ones, so perhaps there must be another way to explain the mysterious geography.
One possibility many fans, including myself, believe is that shifts in Hyrule’s geography come from magic and the sacred power of the gods. My interpretation is that whenever an evil threat looms, and/or signs of a demonic resurrection are near, the Earth begins to shake, move, and change as the gods’ representative power begins to bring embodiments of their spirits together. The Triforce is no longer dormant, as its virtues will soon be assigned, preparing a hero and princess to be born to fight against evil. This causes earthquakes, floods, intense weather, unknown volcanoes to erupt and form, mountains to crumble, supernatural land shifting, and more. I believe these natural disasters can last for a long time, perhaps even several centuries to millennia until the respective hero and princess are born just in time as evil finally roams the land. Evidence of this theory can be derived from most of the games, especially The Wind Waker and Breath of the Wild.
At the end of the day, video games, especially Zelda, provide us unique experiences. It would be boring from a game design standpoint to have the player explore the same world continuously. So, what do you guys think? Is every Hyrule different? Why doesn’t the geography clearly line up? Let us know in the comments!