Episode 1 – Reconciling the Maps

It has been my opinion that the creators of Breath of the Wild didn’t just throw in certain Easter Eggs to other games on the map, but that they actually tried to reconcile all the previous world building into one comprehensive map. It only makes sense, now that the game developers have said Breath of the Wild is the inevitable outcome of all three timelines. Allowing for ruins is a great way to do this and there are some obvious locations for us to find: such as Lon Lon Ranch and Arbiter’s Grounds.

But I think there’s more.

Before I go further, we need to fix a problem. This first post on this series is simply to reconcile the maps. As we do this we’ll need to exercise some creative freedom, as I’m sure the developers did the same. Nothing will be perfect, but there’s enough evidence to show that the developers made an effort, if imperfect. For now, we’re just going to stick with the major console games: specifically Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, Wind Waker, and Breath of the Wild. Later, I’ll bring in some of the 2D maps later.

Ocarina of Time map.

Before I begin matching these maps I should remind you about the problem of scale. Distances and travel time have varied simply because the scale of the maps have varied. Don’t let distance bother you. As gaming technology gets better, scale is becoming better. Breath of the Wild gives us our largest scale to date, but Ocarina of Time obviously has a very small scale.

Now to matching the maps. First, we’ll use Ocarina of Time as our template. This gives us orientation and location. Orientation being the order of areas as they appear clockwise around the map. Location begin the specific place (North, South, East, West, etc) they are found.

Skyward Sword map.

Breath of the Wild and Ocarina of Time have no conflicts. I know, I know…there are some apparent conflicts, but I don’t want to spoil future articles. Skyward Sword is a little vague since it’s not a true open world, but the general location and orientation of the three main areas remains consistent.

As far as Wind Waker is concerned, I believe you can make an argument that the general locations and orientations of the lost kingdom of Hyrule remains consistent with what we’ve seen. Two considerations have to be kept in mind though. First, the map necessitated a grid-like pattern of mountainous peaks. Second, anything familiar on other maps that appears in Wind Waker would have been relocated by the inhabitants from its underwater location to a peak.

Game Cube map for Twilight Princess

The biggest problem is Twilight Princess. There are two versions of this map: the Game Cube form and the mirrored version released for Wii. You’ll notice the placement of certain locations doesn’t work with either map. However, I think the odd orientation design was to somehow make the placement of locations consistent with both maps; at least, preserving some aspects for GC and some aspects for Wii.

What you find is that the bottom is correct on GC and the top location is correct, but Zora’s Domain and Death Mountain are oriented incorrectly. The correct orientation was preserved for the Wii, but Zora’s Domain and Death Mountain are in the wrong location. Also, the bottom is oriented wrong. Nintendo wanted each version to be different but to feel familiar to everyone, which meant a little trickery with location and orientation. We need to fix it by creating a hybrid of the two maps.

TW wii
Wii map for Twilight Princess

Based on the Ocarina of Time map, we quickly see we can keep the bottom portion of the GC Twilight Princess map as correct. Castle, desert, Lake Hylia, and Faron stay exactly where they are. Back to Ocarina, we now get the base orientation for the top half. We see Death Mountain near the top, Zora Domain to the right of Death Mountain, and Kakariko at the bottom of the mountain, sort of near the middle of the two. The Wii Twilight Princess map has the orientation we want, but its rotated counterclockwise to the wrong side of the map. Consequently, Zora’s domain is directly above the castle, someplace it should have never been. So what we want to do is preserve the Wii orientation, but rotate those locations back to the right side of the map clockwise to where we find them on the GC map. We are combining the correct portions of both maps into one map.

TP hybrid
Corrected hybrid map.

What we end up with is a map very similar to the Ocarina of Time map AND the Breath of the Wild map! Now we have all of our maps ready to work with.

Whew… That pesky double TP map. If you’ll allow me this simple fix, I promise to show you some awesome secret locations.

So to summarize our working orientation of major locations on all maps:

Center: Hyrule Castle
Northeast: Death Mountain
East: Zora’s Domain
South: Faron Woods
Southwest: Lake Hylia
Far west: Desert

From here, we’ll be able to find some really awesome locations! Including, Old Kakariko Village, Snowpeak Ruins, The Sealed Grounds, the monument for the first Great Deku Tree, and more!

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