Where will The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild be placed in the Zelda timeline? And more importantaly will it lead to another Timeline Split?
I’d like to make a few quick notes on my interpretation of Zelda history. I follow the official Nintendo timeline and view each Legend of Zelda as just that, a legend. The world is not consistent because the stories are passed down through generations of oral traditions, and details may be lost. This comes into play when referencing the geography of Hyrule. Lake Hylia and Death Mountain remain in mostly the same place though can be seen to move slightly north or south between games. There are other details of the layout of Hyrule, however, that can be seen to change. The Temple of Time is ruined in the forest when we see it in Twilight Princess rather than inside Castle Town as it was in Ocarina of Time. If we know the temple didn’t move then we can assume that Castle Town was laid to ruin at the same time the temple was, and that a new town was built later.
At certain points the games make references to specific amounts of time passing. For example, the “Hero of Men” lived 100 years before Minish Cap, A Link Between Worlds takes place multiple hundreds of years after A Link to the Past, and the Link in Breath of the Wild has been asleep for 100 years. I generally interpret these statements as, “A lot of time passed.” I do this for two reasons. Firstly as I said before these are Legends, and details like these are subject to romanticism and hyperbole on the part of the teller. Secondly these units of time are meaningless as we have no context for them. How long is a Hylian year? How long is the Hylian lifespan? 100 years could in our terms equate to a millennium or two weeks. With that in mind I won’t use these units of time to come to any concrete conclusions.