Legend of Zelda is one of those Nintendo games that have the same basic mechanics and plot from game to game with minor differences. And on the surface level they don’t seem to be linked together in anyway, but they actually are occurring to the creator of the games.
Dark Horse Books (2013). Hyrule Historia, pg. 69
But there is a very distinct separation in the timeline after Ocarina of Time: one for the successful adult Link, one for the successful child Link, and one for the defeat of Link. The successful adult Link goes through a Revival Era of Hyrule; however, a successful child Link goes through the Twilight and Shadow Eras. A defeated Link goes through the Decline Era. I would’ve personally thought the successful child Link and the defeated Link would be flipped due to Ganon taking control of things but that’s not the case. Mainly because Ganon isn’t technically defeated during the child Link era as he doesn’t manage that until he’s an adult. Which makes sense, the world is in a terrible state and you see the mess it goes through before the adult Link resurfaces seven years in the future.
Update (August 2017) Nintendo hasn’t released an updated timeline for Legend of Zelda with the release of Breath of the Wild. But I’m guessing it falls into the defeated hero timeline. Mainly from the presence of the Lynel, yellow rim on Link’s hat, and Ganon being permanently in beast mode. All of these are only present in the Defeated Timeline so Breath of the Wild falls into this timeline presumeably at the end as Zelda states that Ganon is tired of being resurrected and went into full enraged mode or Calamity Ganon.
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