This year at E3 Nintendo demonstrated their newest Zelda game, Breath of the Wild.
As soon as I saw the trailer I started theorising on when it takes place on the timeline, and it appears many other people have done the same, even making videos about it.
Never one to not leap on a passing bandwagon, I'm tempted to make a video, but doing so takes a lot of time and effort. I'm definitely lacking in the former at the moment, so instead I'm writing this post.
The Zelda timeline as written in the House Historia spurs into three due to Ocarina of Time:
One where Link is defeated by Ganon/Ganondorf.
One where Link defeats Ganon in the future, then disappears when he travels to the past.
One where Link, now a child again, gets Ganondorf arrested and executed before he manages to actually commit a crime.
As a side note, I find this a bit problematic. Twilight Princess takes place in that last timeline, and Ganondorf gets exiled to the Twilight dimension. However, since he was arrested and executed before Link drew the Master Sword from the pedestal in the Temple of Time, unlocking the seal on the Sacred Realm and allowing Ganondorf to touch the Tricorn, the Triforce should be safely locked away. But it isn't. Unfortunately some mental gymnastics are required, like saying that time operates differently in regards to the Sacred Realm.
The truth is, Nintendo don't care about this as much as the fans do.
In Ocarina of Time, when Link first draws the Master Sword from its pedestal, Rauru the Sage of Light tells him that he wasn't old enough, so his body hash been kept safe for 7 years.
Whilst it could simply be interpreted as him being unconscious for that long, the fact you can go backwards and forwards through time says to me that Link's consciousness was transported through time, but his body wasn't.
This is very important.
The trailer for Breath of the Wild features a Korok. These are plant creatures which the humanoid Kokori from Ocarina of Time eventually changed into by the time of Wind Waker.
These characters so far have only appeared in the Wind Waker timeline, which is the "adult" one where Link defeated Ganon as an adult, then disappeared.
The opening of Wind Waker states that Ganon was resurrected, but the Hero of Time (Link from Ocarina of Time) didn't reappear to fight him, so the Goddesses flooded Hyrule.
The reason Link didn't reappear is because though his body existed, his consciousness was missing.
The trailer features a voice telling Link to wake up, and apparently the beginning of the game involves Link waking up in some kind of cryogenic chamber.
I believe this is adult Link's body that has been preserved since Ocarina of Time.
However I have no explanation as to why it can move without his consciousness. Maybe it's been so long thar young Link is dead, but having someone resurrect into their own body but it an alternate timeline is a very odd and barely coherent concept.
I haven't seen the gameplay footage from the demos yet, as I'm oddly reticent to sit through five hours of other people playing a game. However, from screenshots I've seen, there is an old man who looks like the King from Wind Waker who starts you on your quest, and refers to "Calamity Ganon". Does this mean something, or is it just reusing a similar character design?
Since the environment appears to be the flooded Hyrule, but not flooded at the time, but also very devoid of humanoid life, does this mean that this takes place after Hyrule is no longer flooded? Long after the end of Wind Waker? Or is it before?
If the latter, it would imply a doomed quest, so I doubt it.
Maybe this is another split, on the Wind Waker line? Currently we have no reason to believe so, but Skyward Sword featured time travel, and some sci-fi elements that are similar to what we've seen so far.
To quote Bob from Reboot: "No-one knows for sure, but I intend to find out!"