For years, fans have been trying to figure out a way to put all of the Legend of Zelda games into a coherent timeline. Well, now Nintendo has made it official, with the release of Hyrule Historia from Dark Horse Comics. This deluxe hardcover volume contains a history of the franchise, a detailed timeline linking the games in chronological order, and more artwork and development materials than you can shake a stick at! But is it worth your money?
If you’re a big Zelda fan, no doubt you’re already intending to purchase Hyrule Historia for yourself (or perhaps you already did at the special preview event held at the Nintendo World Store). And if you’re that big of a fan, you may find that you have major issues with the timeline as laid out in these pages. Personally, I never really considered linking all the games together, so I found it kind of fascinating to read how one affected the other. (Who knew Minish Cap was so crucial?!) I also appreciated the inclusion of some definitions for people places and things in the right hand column as the timeline went along.
There is a good amount of developmental material for the various games, and it’s fun to compare the sketches and how the appearances of Link and the other characters not only developed throughout the series, but also during the development of each game. My only complaint is that the biggest chunk is for Skyward Sword. And later, when they do offer art from the earlier games, it also felt like Twilight Princess had a bigger showing than many of the others. This could likely be because they simply had more materials on hand to include from the later games in the series, but I would have appreciated a more in-depth look at the creation of the earlier games.
The back pages of the book are actually read in reverse, as they contain an exclusive 23-page manga story from Akira Himekawa. It’s a beautifully-illustrated tale chronicling the events that led up to Skyward Sword. The timeline in the book mentions them, but it’s a treat to see them so vividly brought to life.
All in all, Hyrule Historia is a tremendous package. Yes, I wish it focused more on the older games, but every one is at least mentioned (even Link’s Crossbow Training!), and there is some great never-before-printed artwork included in its pages. But you can always find flaws with everything, and so while it’s not exactly what I wanted, it’s still a great book that belongs on the shelf of every Zelda fan.