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The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia

The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia[a] is a collector's book about Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda series, published in English by Dark Horse Comics and in German by Tokyopop. The 276-page book reveals the official timeline of the fictional events in the series, following years of speculation by fans. The book also includes artwork for the games, a short manga, and a foreword and afterword written by the series' producers.

The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia
North American cover
Original titleハイラル・ヒストリア ゼルダの伝説 大全
CountryUnited States
SeriesThe Legend of Zelda
GenreVideo game art
Media typePrint, digital (Wii U)

The book topped's list of bestselling books in February 2013 and was Amazon's sixth best-selling print book of 2013.


The book includes three major sections: "The Legend Begins: The World of Skyward Sword," "The History of Hyrule: A Chronology," and "Creative Footprints: Documenting 25 Years of Artwork." Outside of those three sections, the book includes a foreword by series creator Shigeru Miyamoto, and an afterword from Eiji Aonuma, who produced recent games in the series.[1] It also includes an art piece created for the 25th anniversary of the series (and the original cover of the English edition). Information about commemorative merchandise is also included. The book includes a manga at the end as a "Special Comic." It was written by Akira Himekawa, who has created other manga for the series. The manga takes place before the events of Skyward Sword.[1]

The first section, "The Legend Begins: The World of Skyward Sword," focuses on the world of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword due to the book being released alongside Skyward Sword in Japan. Images and commentary are both included.[1] The section explores the development process for the game.[2]

The section known as "The History of Hyrule: A Chronology" establishes the official timeline of the fictional events that take place within the series,[1][2] following years of speculation by fans.[3][4] The chronology of The Legend of Zelda series was subject to considerable debate among fans until an official timeline was released in Hyrule Historia.[3][5] The timeline included in Hyrule Historia is not completely exhaustive and does leave some leeway for mysteries and for the addition of future entries.[2]The timeline is illustrated with images for each of the games. Included are several charts that map from Hylian to Japanese at different points in the timeline.

The final major section, "Creative Footprints: Documenting 25 Years of Artwork," focuses on artwork, depicting monsters and characters alike. Both concept and final artwork is included.[1] Some of the artwork had not been seen by the general public prior to the book's release.[6]

A list of all official games in the series is included at the end of this section.[6] Spinoffs are not included, although The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest, the Satellaview Zelda games and Link's Crossbow Training are mentioned.[6]

Development and releaseEdit

Eiji Aonuma, who produced many of the recent games in the series, said staff members pored through "stacks of ancient documents" to produce the timeline in the book.[2]

Hyrule Historia was originally released in Japanese with a brown cover and gold type, on 21 December 2011. It was released to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the series and the release of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.[2] The book was published in Japan by Shogakukan Japan.[7]

A digital version of the book was also included with a Wii U bundle featuring The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD.


English book publisher Dark Horse Books inquired to Nintendo about working on a project together around 2009. However, Patrick Thorpe, who edited the English version, believes that fan demand was the real catalyst for the translation.[2]

The translation was announced in August 2012. Six people worked on the translations while three people were assigned to design duties. The handwritten production and design notes were all translated.[2] The English version is slightly larger than the Japanese version and uses heavier-weight paper.[8] However, it has essentially the same content as the original.[2]

Cary Grazzini designed the cover of the English version.[9] The cover for the English version was originally to include a brown background with artwork that included all the different versions and forms of Link. The intended cover was redesigned.[10] The final English version featured a forest green cover. The series logo and a Triforce are embossed in gold.[1] Also featured on the cover are the symbols of the three goddesses.[10]

The English version was published by Dark Horse Comics on 29 January 2013. It released in North America, Europe, and Australia.[11] It was intended to sell for US$35 but many retailers sold it for around $20.[1] Dark Horse started with a print run of 250,000 but expanded that to nearly 400,000 given demand for the book.[11]

A Collector's Edition was also released.[12]


The concept of the book was well-received, although reviewers leveled some criticisms at specific choices in the book. IGN gave it a score of 8.4 out of 10.[1] Destructoid recommended it to general Zelda fans but not to casual ones.[6]

Some reviewers complained of a supposed imbalance in the coverage given to the different games. IGN said the book focused too much on recent entries and not enough on older entries.[1] Destructoid, meanwhile, said that the more popular games featured the spotlight but some games received less attention.[6] IGN complained that spinoffs and non-Nintendo developed games were not included;[1] Destructoid said this was fine in the timeline but not in the list of games.[6] Destructoid noted the heavy focus on Skyward Sword.[6]

Both Eurogamer and Zelda Informer said the book left a number of mysteries still in place.[8][13]

IGN said the art placement was too cramped.[1] Similarly, Eurogamer noted that some of the reproductions were somewhat small.[8] Destructoid said the list of games felt like an afterthought.[6]

IGN thought the manga was generally interesting, although they wanted it to be in full color.[1] Destructoid noted a relatively mature tone but wanted more color and depth in the manga.[6]

Both IGN and Eurogamer called the book "handsome."[1][8] IGN and Games Radar[14] commented positively on the physical construction of the book; IGN said "the quality and construction of Hyrule Historia is very impressive."[1] Destructoid complimented the "beautiful minimalistic cover.[6] Both IGN and Destructoid found the book to be reasonably priced.[1][6]

The book sold well. Preorders took the book to the top spot on's U.S. sales charts, moving Fifty Shades of Grey out of the top position.[11] It reached the No. 1 position on's bestselling books list in August 2012 and January 2013.[15] It spent three months in the top 100 books.[15] It topped The New York Times Best Seller list in the "Hardcover Advice & Misc." category.[16][17] and began at No. 1 on Publishers Weekly's Hardcover Nonfiction charts.[11] It topped the Sunday Times bestseller list on 3 February[18] and 17 February[19] 2013.

Publishers Weekly estimated that the book sold approximately 441 copies each day in order to stay in's top five bestselling books.[20] Nielsen BookScan estimated that the book sold 8,573 copies during the week ending 24 February 2013 and 6,128 during the week ending 3 March 2013.[20] Sunday Times estimated that the book had sold 9,255 copies in the U.K. as of 17 February 2013.[19]


Editor Patrick Thorpe hopes the book's release will prompt Nintendo to open up about the history of other series, such as Metroid.[2]

Dark Horse released The Legend of Zelda: Art & Artifacts, a follow-up art book to Hyrule Historia containing additional artwork and interviews, in February 2017.[21] Another follow-up to Hyrule Historia, titled The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia containing additional information about every title starting with the first game up until Twilight Princess HD would be the third and final book in the series. It was released in April 2018.[22] In May 2018, Dark Horse announced that it would publish the final book in The Legend of Zelda series titled Master Works. It is scheduled for release on November 20, 2018 in North America under the subtitle Creating a Champion.


  1. ^ The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia (Japanese: ハイラル・ヒストリア ゼルダの伝説 大全, Hepburn: Hairaru Hisutoria Zeruda no Densetsu taizen, lit. Hyrule Historia: The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Schedeen, Jesse (8 February 2013). "The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia Review". IGN. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Webster, Andrew (29 January 2013). "Tracking the history of Zelda in 'Hyrule Historia'". The Verge. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  3. ^ a b Fred Dutton (3 May 2010). "Zelda Timeline Explained". Official Nintendo Magazine. Future Publishing Limited. Retrieved 18 August 2010.
  4. ^ George, Richard (24 December 2011). "The Legend of Zelda Timeline Revealed". IGN.
  5. ^ "Official Legend of Zelda Timeline Revealed". 22 December 2011. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Carter, Chris (30 January 2013). "Review: The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia". Destructoid. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  7. ^ ハイラル・ヒストリア ゼルダの伝説 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d Donlan, Christian (31 January 2013). "The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia review". Eurogamer. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  9. ^ The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia
  10. ^ a b "North American Hyrule Historia trailer and book cover revealed (Updated!)". Zelda Universe. Retrieved 3 July 2013. |first1= missing |last1= (help)
  11. ^ a b c d White, Matt. "Hyrule Hysteria." Publishers Weekly 260.6 (2013): 17. Academic Search Complete. Web. 3 July 2013.
  12. ^ Narcisse, Evan (25 January 2013). "Here's Your First Look Inside The Glorious Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia Collector's Edition". Kotaku. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  13. ^ Boccabella, Dathen (22 February 2013). "Hyrule Historia Excellently Conveys the Nature of The Legend of Zelda Timeline". Zelda Informer. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  14. ^ Gilbert, Henry (13 February 2013). "The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia book review". Games Radar. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  15. ^ a b "Hyrule Historia tears the roof as one of Amazon's best sellers". Zelda Universe. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2013. |first1= missing |last1= (help)
  16. ^ Good, Owen (10 February 2013). "The Legend of Zelda is a New York Times Bestseller. No, Really". Kotaku. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  17. ^ Reisinger, Don (11 February 2013). "'The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia' now a NYT best seller". CNET. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  18. ^ "The Sunday Times Bestsellers." Sunday Times: 48. 3 February 2013. ProQuest. Web. 3 July 2013.
  19. ^ a b "The Sunday Times Bestsellers." Sunday Times: 30. 17 February 2013. ProQuest. Web. 3 July 2013 .
  20. ^ a b J., M. "New 'Abstract' Holds Lots Of Data." Publishers Weekly 260.10 (2013): 6. Academic Search Complete. Web. 3 July 2013.
  21. ^ McWhertor, Michael (22 August 2016). "Dark Horse publishing new The Legend of Zelda art book in 2017". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  22. ^ McWhertor, Michael. "The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia coming next year from Dark Horse". Polygon. Retrieved 4 October 2017.

External linksEdit