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Should Nintendo officially retcon Ocarina of Time? [roundtable]
Dictionary.com said:

/ret'kon/ [short for `retroactive continuity', from the Usenet newsgroup rec.arts.comics]
1. n. The common situation in pulp fiction (esp. comics or soap operas) where a new story `reveals' things about events in previous stories, usually leaving the `facts' the same (thus preserving continuity) while completely changing their interpretation. For example, revealing that a whole season of "Dallas" was a dream was a retcon.
2. vt. To write such a story about a character or fictitious object. "Byrne has retconned Superman's cape so that it is no longer unbreakable." "Marvelman's old adventures were retconned into synthetic dreams." "Swamp Thing was retconned from a transformed person into a sentient vegetable." "Darth Vader was retconned into Luke Skywalker's father in "The Empire Strikes Back".

Bear with me on this.

I know that Ocarina of Time has seen many releases. There was its original release, plus its Player's Choice/Million Seller release on the N64 (which, for all intents and purposes, we'll count as one release, since the changes made in its rerelease were superficial). There was also its release on the Master Quest disc on Gamecube, which fans will remember if they pre-ordered Wind Waker. Nintendo also released Ocarina of Time in a Zelda compilation on Gamecube, which also featured Majora's Mask and the two NES Zelda games. The game was THEN released on the Wii's Virtual Console, and less than two years ago, the game saw an enhanced port/remake on the 3DS.

Now, I'm not saying that Nintendo needs to rerelease Ocarina of Time anytime soon. What I'm talking about can happen many years from now. However, since the release of Hyrule Historia, we now know Nintendo's official interpretation of the Zelda timeline.

At the end of Ocarina of Time, the timeline essentially splits into three.

Timeline A.) Link falls in the last battle with Ganon, and Hyrule goes into decline. A war takes place to seal away Ganon (though it is not explained whether or not a new Link is involved)
Timeline B.) Link successfully defeats Ganon, and Hyrule as it exists in Adult Link's timeline continues on without him.
Timeline C.) Link successfully defeats Ganon, and Link returns to being a child, so Ganon never obtained the Triforce in the first place.

If Nintendo wants to explain ANY of that in a game, how should they do this? As I see it, there are a couple ways they could handle it:

Option 1: In a future rerelease of Ocarina of Time or Ocarina of Time 3D, Nintendo offers up different endings to the game:
In this scenario, we deal with a new version of Ocarina of Time. It likely either receives yet another graphical overhaul, or maintains many of the assets of OoT 3D. This game contains a 'bad ending' in which Link loses. Whether or not such an ending is optional would be up to Nintendo. Perhaps it's not unlike some of the Castlevania games, where you have to see a bad ending before you can play to the game's 'true' finale. Perhaps you lose the final battle, but then wake up in the Sacred Realm, where Rauru and Zelda explain that you have fallen. Due to magical interference or other mumbo jumbo, that world is beyond saving, and the only way to defeat Ganon is for them to send Link back to the moment before the battle. Perhaps you have to do a little sidquest to get the light arrow. As an idea, they could simply have you try to fight Ganon before you play through the dungeon remixes in Ganon's Tower. You fight to Ganon and lose to him. You then have to go through that final remixed dungeon and obtain the Light Arrow, and are now fully equipped to defeat him and get the true ending. It wouldn't be unlike in the original Zelda, where you CAN confront Ganon without the prerequisite equipment.

In another ending to the game (where you defeat Ganon), they rewrite Zelda's dialogue. She basically explains that Link will get the chance to relive his life as a child, and regain the seven years that he missed in his slumber earlier in the game. She also explains that even though she can send him back, HER world will continue on, because the powers of the Ocarina of Time are limited when anyone but Link uses it. It really doesn't have to make all that much sense - it would just have to be some time travel babble that explains that the timeline will be split in two. They could even do a split screen of what exactly is happening.

Option 2: Create a new game that explains Nintendo's new Timeline Theory
In a new game, it starts off like a combination of Symphony of the Night and Mega Man X. You start off in the final battle with Ganon, being thrown RIGHT into the thick of things. Things play out similarly to the way they did in Ocarina of Time. However, there's no way you can defeat Ganon (much like Mega Man X' first battle against Vile). Ganon stops Link, and he maintains power of Hyrule for a short time. Zelda goes off into hiding, using her guise as Shiek to stay hidden among the remaining citizens of Hyrule. She goes on her own adventure and rallies the people and armies of Hyrule together, as they work together to seal Ganon away. With Link's absence, this proves to be quite difficult. Where before, only one hero stood in Ganon's way, now Zelda must rely on herself and a new alliance to put Ganon away for good.

That doesn't really HAVE to be the plot of the game. Perhaps you take control of Ganon from the very beginning, and you play an entire game from his perspective. The game could be darker, and have kind of a melancholy ending, as Ganon inevitably gets sealed away by the end of the game. We see how Ganon continues to transform from a cunning thief into more of the pig like beast that we see in a Link to the Past, the Oracle games, and the NES games. However the game plays out, all that matters is that it establishes a new story arc in which Link falls at the hands of Ganon.

Is this something Zelda fans even WANT Nintendo to touch? From a story perspective, there's a TON to mine here. There's also room for a lot of new gameplay opportunities, as Nintendo has given themselves a window where games can exist without Link. New gameplay tropes, new characters, new styles of gameplay, etc. If Nintendo retcons OoT, would you rather see them do that in a future rerelease of Ocarina of Time, or possibly in a new spin-off game? Or possibly both? Maybe this sealing war could be some sort of strategy game where you control the various armies of Hyrule. Maybe it could even be some sort of multiplayer game where the player creates their own character, be it Zora, Gerudo, Hylian, or Goron.

OR, is this something that's better left in the history books? Is it simply time to just move forward and put all this timeline stuff behind us? Would such a retcon only confuse future (and old) players who don't want to concern themselves with any of this?

What direction do you think Nintendo should take? Should they even take a direction?

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Posted: 02/11/13, 19:44:10  - Edited by 
 on: 02/11/13, 19:49:14
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Nobody really gives a shit about the timeline.

Edit: sorry to sound harsh, but that's not why we play Zelda. Not worth it.
Posted: 02/11/13, 19:59:13  - Edited by 
 on: 02/11/13, 19:59:50
Obviously tons of people do care about the timeline though. Tons and tons. It's hotly talked about all over the Internet.

I don't really though. Furthermore I think Nintendo's "new timeline" is pretty bunk, and Nintendo themselves even admit flaws in it. I really don't see any reason for taking it seriously, and I definitely don't see any reason for pulling a retcon just to make it work.
Posted: 02/11/13, 20:05:00
i just assume all zelda games take place in its own self contained universe unless it specifically mentions or references another hero or game in the past.
Posted: 02/11/13, 20:06:34
Oh man, I dunno. If anything, I think Skyward Sword needs a retcon, since Nintendo does a pretty good job of screwing up their own story-telling with this franchise.

I like your ideas, and if Nintendo can make a fun game out of those ideas (which they could, I would think) then sure. Why not. (of course, Nintendo always makes a GAME first, then tacks a story on to it, so this may not work out so well for them)

I await V_s's thoughts on this.
Posted: 02/11/13, 20:06:39
Hot topic on the internet, doesn't mean people actually care in reality. Not one of my friends care about the timeline, and we all like Zelda games. I only started to think about it after I saw some video on gametrailers. I say it's not worth the effort , Nintendo should just keep making games and then let the diehards place them in the timeline somewhere. Also the backlash to a retcon of OoT would be huge among that same crowd.
Posted: 02/11/13, 20:08:21
@anon_mastermind Sure, but anecdotal evidence doesn't mean people don't care either. I've seen many people who definitely care. Pogue may very well be one of them. Hard to claim they don't exist.
Posted: 02/11/13, 20:13:05

I think there's a difference between caring and expecting anything in-game to reflect the output of that effort.

To wit, Nintendo obviously CARES about the timeline. But if there was an idea, concept, or plot point that they thought was compelling but clashed with the story as-told in other games, is there any doubt they'd include it at the expense of overall plot cohesiveness? Because there shouldn't be. Likewise fans obviously care about the timeline, but ultimately it's so far removed from what the series has actually been about, that expecting Nintendo to care about the lore beyond providing a series foundation is unreasonable given a quarter decade's worth of games that show no inclination to do so.

So to the OP... no, they shouldn't. It's high-effort, low reward, and would turn what has been a passing fancy for the series into a main focal point.
Posted: 02/11/13, 20:46:14
I like your ideas. Especially the first one. I would love it if Nintendo did something like this.
Posted: 02/11/13, 20:53:00
No matter what Nintendo did now, it wouldn't actually change Ocarina of Time. Just like the prequels didn't change Star Wars.
Posted: 02/11/13, 21:10:08
If anything needs a retcon, Hyrule Historia does. There is an almost perfect single timeline theory going around, 90% of which is supported with in-game evidence. Therefore a simple marathon play of all Zelda games in the series could fix the Hyrule Historia problem. That said, I do like a game that plays like your second scenario, starting with a previous battle and going from there.

Another missed opportunity for that kind of entrance was in Metroid: Other M's recall of Mother Brain's battle from Super Metroid. If that battle was the first thing you do in Other M in gameplay form instead of CGi form, Other M would have had an excellent opening (to match its excellent ending).
Posted: 02/11/13, 21:11:57  - Edited by 
 on: 02/11/13, 21:12:19
@Jargon I half agree with this. To some degree I think a creator has control over their own property (of course, this gets confusing when they lose legal rights to it, etc. but let's not go there.) However, when they start doing clearly ridiculous / insane stuff like Lucas did, that is when I feel comfortable in mentally rejecting it. Or just taking the pieces I like and rejecting the others.

Zelda makes it even easier since the games are all "legends". So in theory you can say "this is just the legend, the reality might be different..."
Posted: 02/11/13, 21:13:57
Yeah, I think the timeline stuff is pretty much self-explanatory as is. Despite what Mikey and his handful of friends think, the timeline *is* a huge deal to lots of people. But speaking as one of those people, I already pretty much understand the why and how of the triple split. Fellow timeline theorists will be much the same. We don't really need an enhanced version of the game to beat it into our heads.
Posted: 02/11/13, 21:15:41
Well, I was thinking...this isn't exactly a retcon is it? None of these changes would necessarily change what actually happens in Ocarina of Time. It would simply act as a "director's cut" or "extended edition" that makes their out-of-game explanations make sense.

Regardless of what anyone and their friends think...Nintendo has made it official as to what happens when. To me, I just see this as an opportunity for them to come up with some new ideas, especially in regards to gameplay and story. There is now a huge gap in their proposed timeline, and that gap is ripe for new ideas that the franchise has never seen before.

I never thought I'd say this, but I think Nintendo has actually walked ass backwards into a potential gold mine of new mechanics, themes, and story ideas.
Posted: 02/11/13, 21:21:44
Kal-El814 said:

I think there's a difference between caring and expecting anything in-game to reflect the output of that effort.

To wit, Nintendo obviously CARES about the timeline. But if there was an idea, concept, or plot point that they thought was compelling but clashed with the story as-told in other games, is there any doubt they'd include it at the expense of overall plot cohesiveness? Because there shouldn't be. Likewise fans obviously care about the timeline, but ultimately it's so far removed from what the series has actually been about, that expecting Nintendo to care about the lore beyond providing a series foundation is unreasonable given a quarter decade's worth of games that show no inclination to do so.

So to the OP... no, they shouldn't. It's high-effort, low reward, and would turn what has been a passing fancy for the series into a main focal point.
Pretty much what I wanted to say. Thanks Kal.
Posted: 02/11/13, 21:31:44

Well I think that's true to an extent, but it needs to be a bit removed from OoT. It's not much of a gold mine if all it gets you is an extra section of gameplay and some extra dialogue on an already existing game.

The thread concerning when the next Zelda should take place saw the suggestion of the Imprisoning War of the Failure timeline thrown up. A whole new game set at this point would probably utilize the ideas you want to see.
Posted: 02/11/13, 21:34:43
I love the timeline, but I would NEVER want a game where Zelda leads Link into some secret passage in Hyrule Castle and says, "Look Link, this wall has every single great event in Hylian History on it! BUT THE FUTURE IS BLANK AND IT'S OURS!!!!"

The timeline doesn't make the games, the games make the timeline. And if some things don't add up all the time, just throw out the "legends change over time" flag and don't worry about it.
Posted: 02/11/13, 21:49:40
Now that this is an official timeline, they should at least try to follow it... but not too strictly. Each game should remain an independent story that fits into the grand scheme somehow.
Posted: 02/11/13, 22:06:25
I'm sick of Ocarina of Time being the center of the Zelda universe, and the timeline, and all of that. If a retcon means a new version of Ocarina with a different ending, or a game that spins out of the ending, it's something I absolutely do not want. I don't want a new version of Ocarina at all, I want a new Zelda game. Throw the damn timeline out the window for all I care, just do something new. Skyward Sword was a step in the right direction, but overall it still wasn't as fresh as I'd hoped.

As much as I love Wind Waker, I don't want another game with stained-glass windows of the Ocarina sages. I don't want another game like Twilight Princess that has all the same locations and tries to recreate the magic of Ocarina. I don't want a game that tries to explain the history leading up to Ocarina of Time. Just create a new game that feels fresh and stands on its own and I'll be happy.
Posted: 02/11/13, 22:30:23
So, what if they did make a game that went between Ocarina and LttP....but they do it in a subtle way? I think that would really be all they need to do, if they were remotely interested in explaining their 'out of left field' theory that the timeline splits into three. They could do that whole imprisoning war, and it could be somewhere in the middle of a thousand year gap between OoT and LttP. The land would be so ravaged by Ganon, that I think they could get away with keeping it in Hyrule, without making it feel anything like what we've seen before.

I think that they could easily fill in some gaps with a game that rests on its own merits. From the moment Nintendo announced this trio of timelines, I've always been curious if they would ever create a game to make their explanation seem like anything other than just placation on their part. Like...maybe they split it into three because they've thought about making some post apocalyptic Zelda game, where the world has basically become desolate thanks to Ganon's reign of terror? I dunno, just some fun speculation on my part.
Posted: 02/11/13, 22:46:12
I'm a pretty big fan of the Zelda series, regarding trivia and in-game knowledge, but the timeline concerns don't really bother me. The drama around them is dangerously close to the kind of scenario where fanfic writers are angry that Link isn't pregnant or something.
It's nice that they have an official timeline out now.
It's even nice that they managed to rile up the people that painstakingly contrived the 2-branch timeline, by going "Hah! Nope! It's 3 branches!"
Nintendo seems to have a pattern of doing this:
"Pokémon Gray? Nope! It's Black and White 2!"
"Super-Duper-Nintendo? Nope! It's the Nintendo 64!"
"Another light-pistol alley-shooter? Nope! It's a bazooka and it has a tournament fighter told in two acts and a third alternate perspective!"
Now THERE'S a game that could use a revisit. The BattleClash / Metal Combat games.
As far as Zelda's concerned, I think Nintendo should remake the first games before touching Ocarina again.
Actually, as far as video game storyline cohesiveness is concerned I'd rather see Nintendo collaborate with C̶a̶p̶c̶o̶m̶ Inticreates do a Mega Man game between the X and Zero series, detailing the cyber ELF wars.
Posted: 02/11/13, 23:30:22
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