Before Hyrule Historia was published, Zelda fans had long debated the nature of a Zelda timeline. Some correctly posited that the timeline was split between Child Link and Adult Link timelines when Zelda sent Adult Link back in time after he defeated Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time. But the existence of a third timeline branch, wherein Link was defeated by Ganondorf, exasperated many fans, striking some as a cop-out. Yet, Vortexxygaming has concocted a theory that not only satisfactorily explains the Downfall Timeline but also ties together many loose ends, demystifying the overall Zelda narrative as we know it.

Vortexxygaming opens the video by first addressing the most straightforward explanations for the Downfall Timeline, i.e. that the timeline arose from a game over or when Ganondorf and Link first met in front of Hyrule Castle. However, what follows is a fascinating and complex theory, granted heavily based on speculation, that provides a compelling explanation behind the existence of the Downfall Timeline and an original account of how the earlier games of the series are connected to Ocarina of Time.

The gist of the theory is that the Downfall Timeline is the original timeline of the series, and that the sleeping princess in Zelda II awakens many years after Link has failed to defeat Ganon in the Downfall Timeline, only to find Hyrule has undergone a terrible fate after his failure. Therefore, Zelda alters the past to give rise to the events in Ocarina of Time, to help Link succeed in defeating Ganondorf. The prophetic dreams in Ocarina of Time are thus messages from Zelda in Zelda II, and it’s the intervention of these dreams, bestowed upon Princess Zelda and Rauru, that ensures Link is able to obtain the Spiritual Stones and Master Sword, as well as awaken the sages, which Vortexxygaming claims allows him to defeat Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time.

What do you think of this theory? In my view, the attention to detail and all the evidence Vortexxygaming provides are very compelling. The theory is also exciting to me because it manages to weave together so many loose ends and gives the overarching narrative of the games a cohesion I’ve never before seen. Honestly, if it isn’t what the creators at Nintendo intended, I think it should be! On the other hand, maybe you see some flaws in the theory or see it differently. I encourage you to watch the video to see the theory described in full, and let us know what you think in the comments below.

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