When Ocarina of Time 3D first debuted, the theorizing community was hopeful that at least some changes would be introduced that would clarify the timeline. As time went on, and it began to seem more and more than no real new content would appear, hope began to fade, but a recent video pinpointed the first of such changes to ever truly appear in the Zelda series.
You’ve probably already guessed what was changed from the news title, but the change is that of the written language used in Ocarina of Time. It’s now the same one used in The Wind Waker, as you can see beginning at the 0:24 mark in the video above. Now, to many this may not seem like such a big deal, but the inconsistencies between the written scripts between games has caused much controversy for theorists over the years.
What might this mean for the timeline? Well, for one thing, it confirms what many have long suspected: the loss of the Hylian language between Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker was caused by a shift in the spoken language, not in the written alphabet. This means that the “Ancient Hylian” language uses the same written characters as the “Modern Hylian” language, which explains why ancient Hylian was represented by the same letters seen on the common signs and landmarks all over the Great Sea.
Compare this to A Link to the Past, where the loss of language seems to be attributed to a shift in the written language. Leftover beta content from Four Swords Adventures corroborates this, since a minigame was once featured that had Link try to recognize characters from the Hyrulean tongue. Since the shift in Wind Waker seems to differ now from the shift in A Link to the Past, it could be that the two shifts took place at different times, or indeed on different timelines altogether. Could Twilight Princess, which introduced a new written script that used a modified version of the Western alphabet, be the key connector between Ocarina‘s ancient tongue and that of A Link to the Past? We don’t know just yet, but Ocarina of Time 3D seems to have advanced our understanding of the evolution of the Hyrulean language just a little further for now.