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Hyrule/Appearances by Game

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The Legend of Zelda

The original Hyrule overworld featured in The Legend of Zelda

Hyrule is first seen in The Legend of Zelda as the magical kingdom that serves as the setting for the adventures of a young boy named Link in his quest to save Hyrule's young princess, Zelda, from the clutches of the evil sorcerer Ganon.[1] In this game, Hyrule is described as a beautiful kingdom with deep forests and tall mountains bordering a vast ocean to its southern and eastern borders. As Link explores the kingdom, he visits all the different parts of it, including the Lost Woods to the west-southwest, the Graveyard in the shadow of Death Mountain to the northwest, the coastline to the southeastern and eastern borders of the kingdom and even the strange forests in the southeastern region of the country. In this original incarnation of Hyrule, the land is shown to have many forests and lakes in addition to the mountainous terrain of Death Mountain. This would mark the gaming world's first experience in the land of Hyrule and began several long traditions that would continue to be featured in later incarnations of the kingdom and would be vastly expanded upon and improved by the game developers. Hyrule Historia claims that this land is not exactly Hyrule, but a place called Lesser Hyrule, which could very well be the remains of the once-great kingdom.[citation needed]

The Adventure of Link

Hyrule AoL 1.gif
The expanded Hyrule overworld featured in The Adventure of Link.

The second appearance of Hyrule was in The Adventure of Link; as the game progresses it is revealed that the overworld featured in The Legend of Zelda is only a small sector of The Adventure of Link's grand landscape, dwarfing it in size. Because this title features three major continents separated by large straits of water, and seven unique towns and settlements, this incarnation of Hyrule is one entirely unique to The Adventure of Link. The original Hyrule overworld, featured in The Legend of Zelda is still explorable, but it is a tiny landmass south of Death Mountain. Hyrule borders a vast ocean; the landscape is much more varied with swamps, mountains, a graveyard, deserts and islands, in comparison to The Legend of Zelda. The hero also visits several towns that would later provide the namesakes of some very important characters in Ocarina of Time. This game would also mark the first use of dungeons and palaces as a plot device in Hyrule, a formula that would come to be used time and again in future games. In this game, Link traverses Hyrule to restore six magical crystals to their proper places within six other individual palaces in order to break the seal on the Great Palace and awaken Zelda with the completed Triforce.

A Link to the Past

Hyrule in A Link to the Past

A Link to the Past marked the first appearances of such major landmarks as Lake Hylia, Zora's Waterfall, Hyrule Castle, and Kakariko Village. The mirror of Hyrule, the Dark World, was also made explorable and marks the only time that the Sacred Realm could be explored in any form. The Dark World appeared to be what Hyrule would be like if it were ruled by Ganon. The two worlds were closely linked, and what happened in one would even affect its twin in the other.[2] This version of Hyrule began many of the more recurring elements of the kingdom, such as Hyrule Castle being the home of the Royal Family and the Lost Woods being the home of the Master Sword. This template of Hyrule would also be heavily replicated in future games as well.

Ocarina of Time

A map of Hyrule as it was featured in Ocarina of Time

Ocarina of Time marks the first time the kingdom of Hyrule was represented in three dimensions. Familiar locations like Death Mountain and Lake Hylia returned, along with new locations such as Gerudo Valley, Lon Lon Ranch, and the Kokiri Forest. The geography of the land was rearranged, making Hyrule Field a central hub area between most of the major locations.

Four Swords

A map of the Hyrule overworld featured in Four Swords

Four Swords features yet another incarnation of Hyrule that contrasts with previous versions of the kingdom. Several locations appear in the game that have not yet appeared in any other, such as the Sea of Trees, the Chambers of Insight, and Talus Cave. Death Mountain makes a reappearance as one of the few recurring places that appears in this version of Hyrule. There is also a region above the clouds, where Vaati's Palace resides floating high above the land.

The Wind Waker

An image of Hyrule as it appeared in The Wind Waker

The Wind Waker features a new incarnation of Hyrule, though it is sealed away beneath the Great Sea. This is the direct result of the Great Flood that occured as a product of the Goddesses in a timeline of events that occured before The Wind Waker; the survivors of the flood built a new country on the surface, where the highest mountains of Hyrule became islands.[3] In terms of differences with other incarnations, Hyrule Castle now rests on an island in the middle of a large lake, fueled by a large river. On Hyrule's horizon, large, tall mountains exist; these help explain the existence of islands on the surface of the Great Sea. Ganon's Tower is located beyond a grand canyon leading into one of the kingdom-surrounding mountain ranges, not far from Hyrule Castle. Hyrule still retains a state of regality, despite its desertion and isolation on the seabed.

Four Swords Adventures

An image of the Hyrule overworld featured in Four Swords Adventures

The version of Hyrule featured in Four Swords Adventures shares many landmarks with the version of Hyrule featured in A Link to the Past. The Eastern Palace, Desert Palace, and what is suspected to be the Tower of Hera (the Tower of Flames) are in the same locations, as is Kakariko Village. Hyrule Castle also rests in a similar location to its A Link to the Past counterpart, at the very center of the kingdom, although this incarnation of the castle more strongly resembles the one featured in The Wind Waker. However, some locations have shifted as well. Lake Hylia is now in the northeast, and locations not featured in A Link to the Past are present, such as the Village of the Blue Maiden and Lon Lon Ranch. The southern part of the map is frozen due to Vaati's evil magic. The Dark World is again present, both as the northwestern portion of Hyrule and the base of Ganon's power, and as an actual mirror universe. Most of the Hyrulean races that were introduced in Ocarina of Time return in this game. The Gorons live on Death Mountain, the Deku Scrubs live in the Lost Woods, and the Gerudo live in the Desert of Doubt. A new race, the Zuna, are also introduced. The Zuna are a tribe of green-skinned desert nomads who are descended from the ancient Pyramid builders.[4] Another major difference in this incarnation of Hyrule when compared to others is that a large ocean borders the entire continent upon which Hyrule rests.

The Minish Cap

An image of the Hyrule overworld as it appeared in The Minish Cap

The geography of Hyrule presented in The Minish Cap introduces new locations such as the wild marshlands of Castor Wilds, the rocky Mount Crenel, and the eerie Royal Valley, while such common landmarks as Death Mountain and Kakariko Village are absent. Hyrule Field is divided into sectors, and locations such as Lon Lon Ranch and Hyrule Town (a different incarnation of Hyrule Castle Town) serve as major populated areas. Another recurring locale is the classic home of the Royal Family, Hyrule Castle, which sits to Hyrule Field's northern borders and plays a pivotal role in the progression of the game. Many areas can only be explored while Link is small, such as Melari's Mines or the Minish Village in the Minish Woods. A large part of the map is also covered in clouds and is known as the Cloud Tops. This is the home of the Wind Tribe and the location of the Palace of Winds. There is some continuity with locations from the rest of the Four Swords trilogy, as this game likely shows the palace before Vaati began using it as his residence, in addition to the Tower of Winds, which is revealed to have begun as the home of the Wind Tribe in this game.

Twilight Princess

A map of Hyrule as it was featured in Twilight Princess

The Hyrule appearing in Twilight Princess is much larger than in previous games. The government is centralized in Castle Town, and Kakariko Village again appears at the base of Death Mountain. A sign at the entrance to the Hidden Village identifies it as "Old Kakariko,"[5] indicating that the Kakariko Village appearing in Twilight Princess may perhaps be the same one seen in Ocarina of Time. Hyrule Field is larger and again divided into sectors like it was in The Minish Cap. The kingdom appears to have a more developed system of roads, with fortified bridges like the Bridge of Eldin and the Great Bridge of Hylia guarding the roads. New locations such as Snowpeak and Ordon Village also appear for the first time. The Temple of Time reappears in this game, but has shifted locations. It is no longer in the main Castle Town as it was in Ocarina of Time, but its ruins are instead in the Sacred Grove, alongside the ruins of what appears to have been a city. This draws parallels with the Master Sword's location in A Link to the Past. This game also introduces the concept of Hyrule being divided into a province system, composed of Desert, Ordona, Peak, Faron, Eldin, and Lanayru provinces.

Spirit Tracks

The re-established land of Hyrule, consisting of five realms: Forest, Snow, Ocean, Fire and Sand

Spirit Tracks is unique in that it features a distinct Hyrule. New Hyrule,[6] as the land is named, features a unique and complex railroad system that was born out of the war with the Demon King Malladus. Its most notable features are the titular Spirit Tracks that span four directions all across the land and the Tower of Spirits at the center of the kingdom.[7] These special tracks, the tower, and the four temples connected to the tower by the tracks, serve as the means as a lock, by which Malladus is kept bound in his prison deep beneath Hyrule.[8]

The re-established land of Hyrule features five realms: Forest, Snow, Ocean, Fire, and Sand.[6] Each realm is different in climate, landforms, inhabitants, and culture.

Forest Realm

The Forest Realm is located in the southwest corner of "New Hyrule" and is a heavily forested area, but also features vast plains on its eastern side. The realm is home to most of the kingdom's Hylian population, who reside in the various settlements scattered around the Forest Realm. The capital of Hyrule, Castle Town, lies in the northern extreme of the realm. Other settlements include the lumberjack town of Whittleton, Aboda Village, the Trading Post, which is the home of the Linebeck Trading Company; Rabbitland Rescue, and the Forest Sanctuary. The Forest Temple, located deep within the realm's forests, provides power to the Spirit Tracks, and through the tracks the Tower of Spirits.

Snow Realm

The Snow Realm is located in the northwest corner of the kingdom and is covered with a blanket of snow which provides a suitable habitat for the conifer forests in the realm. The Anoukis, a race that migrated to the re-established land of Hyrule from their homeland of the Isle of Frost are also found in the realm, living in the Anouki Village. The realm also holds a number of stations including the Snow Sanctuary, Bridge Worker's Home, Wellspring Station, the Snowdrift Station, and the Slippery Station. At the northern end of the realm past a vast icy plain, where the Snow Temple is found. This temple possesses the same function as the Forest Temple.

Ocean Realm

The Ocean Realm is located in the southeast part of Hyrule and is a vast large ocean, dotted with small islands and flourishing with sea life. A group of Hylians who make their living off of fish live in the small coastal village by the name of Papuchia Village. However, the citizens of the realm have been having trouble with the local gang of pirates residing at the Pirate Hideout. Other stations found in the realm include the Ocean Sanctuary and the Lost at Sea Station. Found deep within the depths of the ocean is the Ocean Temple, which powers the tracks leading to the Tower of Spirits.

Fire Realm

The Fire Realm is located in the northeastern corner of the kingdom, and comprises a large number of volcanoes, lava lakes, rocky mountains, and underground tunnels. The Gorons reside throughout the realm living in the Goron Village/Fire Sanctuary, Dark Ore Mine, and the Goron Target Range. At the top of the large Mountain of Fire in the center of the Fire Realm is the Fire Temple. This temple is source of the Force Gem that powers the realm's Spirit Tracks leading to the Tower of Spirits, but it also the source of the evil causing the violent volcanic eruptions troubling the inhabitants of the realm.

Sand Realm

The Sand Realm is located in the eastern part of Hyrule, between the Ocean and Fire Realms. It is a desolate, arid region with few inhabitants other than Malgyorgs. Its only stations are the Sand Sanctuary and the Sand Temple, a fortress built to guard the sacred Bow of Light. It is home to the Three Trials, a test of the worth of anyone who wishes to possess this powerful holy weapon.

Skyward Sword

A map of Hyrule featured in Skyward Sword

In Skyward Sword, Hyrule is known as the Surface for much of the game, and was also named Grooseland by Groose. Many enemies roam the land, as the armies of Demise. Link descends to Hyrule from Skyloft with the help of the Goddess Sword, and continues to travel back and forth between his homeland and the land below using Bird Statues.[9][10] The surface is divided into three provinces, with names corresponding to their Twilight Princess counterparts. The woodlands in the Faron Province is the home of the Kikwi race and contains the Sealed Grounds, the Skyview Temple, and Lake Floria, home of the Water Dragon. Eldin Province is the northernmost province, inhabited by the Mogmas and home to the Earth Temple and Fire Sanctuary. Death Mountain does not appear by name in the game; its role is played by Eldin Volcano, which is generally believed to be the same location. Lanayru Province is a desert region in the far west, containing the Temple of Time, Lanayru Mining Facility, and the Sandship. This province was once a verdant green area surrounded by the sea, rich in minerals mined by the Ancient Robots.

A Link Between Worlds

A map of Hyrule featured in A Link Between Worlds

Hyrule in A Link Between Worlds closely resembles its appearance in A Link to the Past, with nearly all major features in the same locations as their counterparts in A Link to the Past and most areas having similar layouts. The main exceptions are dungeon entrances, with the House of Gales added to Lake Hylia where no such structure exists in A Link to the Past, certain smaller buildings, such as those in Kakariko Village, and caves, which have little in common with those of A Link to the Past. In this case Hyrule is connected by fissures to a parallel world known as Lorule. Lorule also resembles the Dark World of A Link to the Past, although not quite as closely, with certain major landmarks in different positions and chasms in the place of some of the Dark World's bodies of water.

Breath of the Wild

A map of Hyrule featured in Breath of the Wild

Hyrule as it appears in Breath of the Wild was by far the largest version of the realm to appear in any game to date. At about 9 km × 6.8 km in scale, its geography is approximately the size of Bermuda or San Marino in the real world.

10,000 years prior, the defeat of Calamity Ganon heralded a lengthy age of peace and prosperity for Hyrule. This peace came to an abrupt end 100 years prior during a cunning ambush attack by Calamity Ganon, returning not as a reincarnation but an entity of Malice. The fall of the kingdom of Hyrule was swift and decisive, and by the start of the game it remains in ruins. While the civilizations of the Zora, Gerudo, Goron, Rito and Sheikah largely survived the calamity, the kingdom itself has fallen apart, with only small, divided settlements of Hylians remaining.

The former heart of Hylian civilization, Central Hyrule including Hyrule Castle and Castle Town, suffered the calamity's worst wrath, swiftly killing most of its inhabitants as Calamity Ganon seized control of the very Guardians meant to protect the kingdom from him. Now Hyrule Castle, its Castle Town, the Temple of Time, every Hylian military outpost and nearly every Hylian permanent settlement all lie in ruins, and all semblance of central government has collapsed. The only surviving Hylian permanent settlements are in the remote east of Hyrule: the larger Hateno Village as well as the smaller Lurelin Village in East Necluda and Tarrey Town in Akkala; various isolated country dwellings also manage to eke out an existence. Much of the Hylian population has become semi-nomadic, anchored by a network of managed Stables connected by surviving country roads. A trickle of Hyruleans of all races still travel these roads, maintaining low-key elements of what was once a more bustling civilization. However, Hyrule Field has remained a depopulated no-man's-land roamed by deadly Guardians, littered with pools of Ganon's Malice, and Hyrule Castle itself is engulfed in a swirling haze of Malice in which the specter of Ganon itself can sometimes be seen even from great distances.

The non-Hylian civilizations of Hyrule not only survived, but continued with their local systems of government and infrastructure intact despite losing control of (and now constantly threatened by) the Divine Beasts four of them once commanded. Their main settlements—Zora's Domain in the Lanayru Great Spring, Gerudo Town in the Gerudo Desert, Goron City in Eldin Canyon, Rito Village in the Tabantha Frontier, and Kakariko Village in West Necluda—all continue to thrive under their own local systems.

And while Sheikah civilization in Kakariko Village still survives and functions, it has also steeply declined from its now-legendary zenith. In ancient times they built the Sheikah Towers, the Shrines of Trials as well as the Divine Beasts and Guardians, all of which attest to their advanced level of science and technology. Now, their society is not only diminished but deeply fragmented. While the elder Impa still lives in Kakariko Village, the other surviving Sheikah elders Purah and Robbie intentionally scattered to the Hateno Ancient Tech Lab and Akkala Ancient Tech Lab on the remote edges of Hyrule, so that even if the rest of Sheikah civilization were to be annihilated in the meantime, at least one of the elders might survive long enough to finally awaken Link at the Shrine of Resurrection on the Great Plateau 100 years after the Great Calamity.[11][12] But the greatest fragmentation of the Sheikah came after a significant portion of their people defected to serve Ganon during the calamity and became the Yiga Clan, with their secret Yiga Clan Hideout tucked away in the Gerudo Highlands.

As a constant reminder of Calamity Ganon's enduring reach, periodic events known as Blood Moons occur, casting the night sky a crimson red. The haze of Malice in the air is at its thickest and evil's power is at its most potent during a Blood Moon, reanimating Ganon's minions who fell at Link's hand.



Minor Appearances

Majora's Mask

Hyrule only plays a minor role in the opening and closing of Majora's Mask, where a new section of the Lost Woods is revealed in the opening of the game. Link is searching the woods for "a friend with whom he parted ways" after the Child Timeline ending of Ocarina of Time.[13] The Lost Woods are home to a portal leading to a parallel world to Hyrule called Termina. Link stumbles upon this portal when he chases the Skull Kid through it after a chance encounter in the Lost Woods. The young Hero of Time also returns to Hyrule through this same portal at the end of the game after he succeeds in saving Termina from the demon Majora and frees the Skull Kid from Majora's grasp. During the ending cinematic, a crude drawing of Link and the Skull Kid is seen in the Lost Woods.

Oracle Series

A view of Hyrule as it was seen in the opening of the Oracle games

Hyrule in Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons also plays only a minor role in the overarching storyline. The kingdom appears to be at peace, because Ganon was vanquished sometime in the past and the complete Triforce is safe in Hyrule Castle. When Link touches the Triforce, he receives a mark on his hand that signifies that he is the chosen hero of Hyrule.[14] As the two games open, Link is shown riding a horse along a coastline (revealing that this version of Hyrule also has an ocean that borders it), and Hyrule Castle is shown from a distance when Link stops to take in the view and hears the Triforce's call from within the castle. These brief scenes are the only times gamers see Hyrule in the two games, and only one room is shown within Hyrule Castle, the room where the Triforce is kept. It is also revealed that, unlike in Termina, Hyrule is known to members of the two new lands visited by Link within the games. Nayru reveals that she knows that Link and Impa are messengers of Hyrule [15] and Din is able to identify the Triforce mark on the back of Link's hand.[14] This indicates that both Holodrum and Labrynna are different countries in the same universe as Hyrule, and not parallel dimensions like Termina.

References

  1. "MANY YEARS AGO PRINCE DARKNESS "GANNON" STOLE ONE OF THE TRIFORCE WITH POWER. PRINCESS ZELDA HAD ONE OF THE TRIFORCE WITH WISDOM. SHE DIVIDED IT INTO 8 UNITS TO HIDE IT FROM "GANNON" BEFORE SHE WAS CAPTURED. GO FIND THE "8" UNITS "LINK" TO SAVE HER." — Opening Crawl (The Legend of Zelda)
  2. "If the form of a thing changes in one world, it will change the shape of its twin in the other." — Sahasrahla (A Link to the Past)
  3. "When the gods heard our pleas, they chose to seal away not only Ganon, but Hyrule itself...and so, with a torrential downpour of rains from the heavens... Our fair kingdom was soon buried beneath the waves, forgotten at the bottom of the ocean. Yet all was not lost.[...] So, before the sealing of the kingdom, the gods chose those who would build a new country and commanded them to take refuge on the mountaintops." — Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule (The Wind Waker)
  4. "We of the Zuna tribe live in this village. We may not look it now, but we are descended from the wise pyramid builders!" — Zuna (Four Swords Adventures)
  5. "Welcome to Old Kakarico [sic]" — Sign in Hylian (Twilight Princess)
  6. 6.0 6.1 "New Hyrule is split into five regions, with Hyrule Castle and the Tower of Spirits at its center, encircled by the Forest Realm, the Snow Realm, the Ocean Realm, the Fire Realm, and the Sand Realm." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 134)
  7. "As you know, the Tower of Spirits has protected our kingdom for ages. The tower connects all the Spirit Tracks that crisscross the land." — Princess Zelda (Spirit Tracks)
  8. "Finally, the spirits subdued the Demon King, though they could not destroy him. Their powers were greatly depleted. With their remaining power, they buried the Demon King's spirit in the ground. They built shackles to imprison him, and a tower that acted as a lock. These shackles cover the land to this day." — Introduction (Spirit Tracks)
  9. "Even something as simple as the aiming, which is handled not necessarily with a pointer but by moving your hand around, just like you would aim an item in real life, will make it that much easier for you to feel like you're in that world of Hyrule and experiencing the adventure that Link is, because you're so connected to what's going on."joystiq's Interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, joystiq.com.
  10. "Aonuma says that the scene which concludes the trailer, in which Link leaps off a cliff into a sea of clouds, is an important story point. Instead of being raised in a village on the ground, he's been brought up in a town called Skyloft, which is a floating island. He's lived his life in the clouds, and has only recently "discovered" the land below, which he finds has been overrun with evil forces. You spend the game going back and forth between these two regions: Skyloft, and the ground below."[1], kotaku.com.
  11. ""Dr. Purah and I departed for Kakariko Village, where we left Lady Impa... All three of us couldn't stay together, of course. We couldn't risk Calamity Ganon getting all of us in one strike. If that happened, there'd be no one left to deliver Princess Zelda's message to Link when he recovered and woke up... We had to ensure at least one of us would be able to talk to him." — Robbie's Memoirs (Breath of the Wild)
  12. "Right after the Great Calamity, the three of us gathered at Kakariko Village... but we had to separate soon after. If all three of us were found and wiped out, who would instruct you, the hero, once you awoke? Making sure one of us remained to give you guidance and deliver our important message was all that mattered. That's why we went our separate ways." — Purah (Breath of the Wild)
  13. "Done with the battles he once waged across time, he embarked on a journey. A secret and personal journey...A journey in search of a beloved and invaluable friend..." — Prologue (Majora's Mask)
  14. 14.0 14.1 "It has a ^ on it. That is a sacred mark in Hyrule. If it's the true symbol, then you are a hero with a special fate, Link." — Din (Oracle of Seasons)
  15. "Thank you. You've come all the way from Hyrule, correct? Pleased to meet you. I am Nayru." — Nayru (Oracle of Ages)