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Nintendo's Eiji Aonuma has revealed that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will not be placed on the series' sprawling timeline.
Speaking in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Creating a Champion, Aonuma-san revealed that solidifying the critically acclaimed adventure game on the timeline would eliminate the sense of imagination for players, whereby they can make up their own mind about where the game falls in the wider universe.
'We made this game with the intention of returning to our roots, so the response from players about feeling the same as they had when they were young is promising. Since Nintendo Switch is portable, I hope that they will be able to engage deeply with the game in a fresh, new way too,' he said (via Nintendo Insider).
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'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 realised 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.'
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was released on Switch in March 2017, and has sold over 10 million copies worldwide.