Where is Tears of the Kingdom in the Zelda timeline?

Where is Tears of the Kingdom in the Zelda timeline?
Alex Raisbeck Updated on by

Video Gamer is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices subject to change. Learn more

We don’t blame you for wanting a Tears of the Kingdom timeline, because the Legend of Zelda series is infamous for its confusing chronology. As a result, it can be difficult to wrap one’s head around it.

To prepare yourself for the upcoming Tears of the Kingdom release date, here’s what you need to know about where the Tears of the Kingdom timeline sits in the overall series. It’s worth brushing up on Link’s new Tears of the Kingdom abilities in preparation as well.

Tears of the Kingdom timeline: Zelda holding the Master Sword.

Where does Tears of the Kingdom sit on the Zelda timeline?

The Tears of the Kingdom timeline is set in the far future of the overarching Zelda timeline, and takes place at the very end of the series. Both Tears of the Kingdom and its prequel Breath of the Wild are set more than 10,000 years after the rest of the games in the series, according to the Hyrule Historia, an officially licensed book on the Zelda series.

In BotW, we learn that Calamity Ganon was defeated over 10,000 years ago, and was resurrected 100 years before the events of BotW, causing the Great Calamity. During this event, Link was injured and forced to sleep for 100 years in the Shrine of Resurrection, awakening at the beginning of BotW.

Tears of the Kingdom timeline: Link with his new Zonai arm.

As a direct sequel to BotW, many characters such as Sidon and Yunobo return from the original game, with some characters like Tulin and Riju being noticeably older. Additionally, certain areas like Hyrule Castle have changed, providing an all-new Hyrule to explore.

However, at the start of the game, Link loses his right arm and the Master Sword is damaged, explaining why Link is not as strong as he would have been following the events of BotW.

Tears of the Kingdom timeline: Link carrying a Purah Pad console towards a Skyview Tower.

Given its position in the far future relative to other games in the series, the Hyrule of BotW and TotK is filled with advanced technology that was not present in the more medieval fantasy settings of previous Zelda titles, such as the Sheikah Slate and Guardians present in BotW. We do know that the Ganondorf of this game is actually from the distant past, and is unrelated to the Demon King from other Zelda games, such as Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Wind Waker.

Those of you with a knowledge of the Zelda timeline may be aware that the timeline splits into three following the events of Ocarina of Time – the Child Timeline, the Adult Timeline, and the Fallen Hero Timeline. Subsequently, you may wonder which of these timelines TotK and BotW sit in.

Tears of the Kingdom timeline: Link fighting a Stone Talus.

Unfortunately, as this hasn’t yet been clarified by Nintendo we simply don’t know the answer. One of the most popular theories is that all three of the timelines eventually come together again after 10,000 years, placing TotK at the end of all three timelines.

The game also features multiple call-backs to previous games that fans of the series will be pleased to see. Some are canon events, such as references to Skyward Sword’s story in flashbacks regarding the Master Sword, or King Rauru being a recurring name in the series. Elsewhere, there are cosmetics that can be found referencing these previous titles, too, such as Majora’s Mask.

Tears of the Kingdom timeline: Riju from Tears of the Kingdom.

Many locations named after places and characters from previous games return too, with less popular titles like Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks getting their chance to shine.

We’re excited to return to this far-future version of Hyrule, and explore some of the locations on the new Tears of the Kingdom map. And if you want to know more about how to get around in Hyrule, why not check out our list of the Tears of the Kingdom vehicles we know about so far.

How far ahead of Breath of the Wild does Tears of the Kingdom take place?

It’s not specifically mentioned, but from what we hear in-game, it’s safe to say that Tears of the Kingdom is taking place two or three years after the defeat of Calamity Ganon in Breath of the Wild. 

How many games are there in the Zelda timeline?

Across the entire series, there are 22 canon games in the official Zelda timeline.