The book was released on December 21, 2011 in Japan with a cost of ¥3,255. An English version was released by Dark Horse Comics on January 29, 2013 at the price of $34.99. Dark Horse also released a limited edition with an alternate cover and gilded pages. It was limited to 4,000 copies. Hyrule Historia was also released digitally as part of The Wind Waker HD Wii U bundle released on September 20, 2013. The bundle included a download code for the digital version of the book viewable on the console itself.
The encyclopedia consists of three sections, bookended by messages from Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma describing the development of the Zelda franchise and their roles in it. The Skyward Sword manga by Akira Himekawa is included in an appendix.
The Legend Begins
The Legend Begins is a behind-the-scenes look at Skyward Sword. It is filled with artwork, concept art, design sketches, and design notes on the game's characters, locations, and items. Some pages have footers describing how Skyward Sword relates to recurring trends in the series, namely: Link oversleeping, Zelda's harp, the concept of dual worlds, Phoeni, the Sheikah Stones and Gossip Stones, unique shopkeepers, large aquatic spirit creatures, sacred grounds, the three crests of the goddesses, time-travel, spirit realms,, Moblins and Bokoblins, Octoroks, and Stalfos.
The History of Hyrule
The History of Hyrule chronicles the entire history of the The Legend of Zelda universe, divided into Eras. It presents the first public iteration of the full Zelda Timeline. The section includes side entries summarizing characters, locations, and events. It also contains translation keys for the various Hylian Languages and the Gerudo typography.
Creative Footprints consists of concept art, design sketches, and development information spanning the previous 25 years of the franchise. This is followed by a timeline of the character designs of Link, Zelda, and Ganon throughout the series. The section ends with a catalogue of the Zelda titles released up to Ocarina of Time 3D, not including the Game & Watch game or any third-party games.
- With its green cover, gold text, and Triforce symbol, Hyrule Historia resembles the Book of Mudora.
- Hyrule Historia is not without controversy. There are some fans of the Zelda series who disagree some timelines or believe the entire concept as nonsense, as older games before Wind Waker doesn't make clear evidence of different Links and timelines in their plot.
- "Dark Horse Books and Nintendo team up to bring you The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, containing an unparalleled collection of historical information on The Legend of Zelda franchise. This handsome hardcover contains never-before-seen concept art, the full history of Hyrule, the official chronology of the games, and much more! [...] Price: $34.99 ($38.99 CAN)" — January 2013 New Releases; retrieved Aug. 16 2012, Diamond Book Distributors.
- "Hyrule Historia goes on sale December 21st for 3,255 yen (about US $41.72)." — Nintendo Announces Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Encyclopedia; retrieved Dec. 15 2011, Crunchy Roll.
- The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia - Tokyopop Manga-Shop, Tokyopop, retrieved 2013-03-24.
- "Date de parution : 01/11/2013" — Legend of Zelda - Hyrule Historia, Editions Soleil official website, retrieved November 30, 2016.
- "The bundle will feature a black Deluxe Wii U console, a GamePad controller decorated with the Hyrule crest and symbols from the game in gold, a download code for The Wind Waker HD and a digital copy of Hyrule Historia, the compilation commemorating The Legend of Zelda series." — Alexa Ray Corriea, The Wind Waker HD Wii U bundle coming Sept. 20, Polygon, published august 28, 2013, retrieved November 11, 2016.
- "About 5 years separate the prototype on the left from the realized hardcover on the right." — Patrick Thorpe, Hyrule Historia prototype, Twitter, published May 23, 2018, retrieved June 24, 2018.[dead link]
- "The opening scenes of Zelda games often show Link sleeping. Is this a way of conveying the notion of a normal person waking up to the unknown and embarking on a hero’s journey?" (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 9)
- "The harp in Skyward Sword looks a lot like Sheik’s harp in Ocarina of Time. Could it be the same one . . . ?" (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 11)
- "In the Legend of Zelda series, there are many titles where Link travels between two different worlds. There are worlds of light and dark, light and twilight, past and future, and, of course, sky and surface. Link is oftentimes responsible for connecting two very different worlds." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 19)
- "It has been said that if you listen closely at the door of the Knight Academy at night, you can hear a woman’s voice calling, “I need paper . . .” A similar story also plays out in Majora’s Mask and Oracle of Ages and may have its roots in traditional ghost stories." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 23)
- "One of the Sheikah Stones lives between the Sparring Hall and the Knight Academy. He is easy to dismiss, but his hints are very valuable. The Gossip Stones that dot the Ocarina of Time 3D surface world hold rare information just like in Ocarina of Time." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 25)
- "There are many unique shopkeepers throughout the Zelda series. Maybe this is because over the years, an incredible volume of ideas have been developed for the various games in the series." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 29)
- "Throughout the titles, spirit creatures like Levias appear many times. Many creatures, like Lord Jabu-Jabu in Ocarina of Time, are based on sea animals." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 39)
- "This sacred place has a unique atmosphere. It is rich in vegetation and wildlife. Warm beams of sunlight bathe the area. The Sealed Grounds probably have no direct connection to other titles, but it’s hard not to be reminded of similar places, where items like the Master Sword are found." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 40)
- "Carved on the stake in the head of the Imprisoned are the crests of Farore and the other two goddesses. They are modeled on crests that appeared in earlier games. These crests are also associated with the sages and different races, and appear in other games as well as this one." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 41)
- "With this talk of controlling time, one can’t help but think of Ocarina of Time. The ocarina is the same color as the Timeshift Stones. Could they be made of the same material?" (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 53)
- "Collecting the glowing Sacred Tears in the Silent Realm harks back to Twilight Princess, where the Tears of Light are assembled within the Vessel of Light in order to resurrect the spirits within." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 58)
- "The Bokoblin and the Moblin are familiar enemies who have appeared in other Zelda games. Their appearance and the weapons they carry have evolved, but regardless of the timeline, they never stop attacking Link." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 61)
- "Throughout the series the Octoroks haven’t changed much. In Skyward Sword the versatile Octoroks imitate plants, but in Ocarina of Time they are found in watery locations. This adaptability might answer the question of how they have been around for so long . . ." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 62)
- "In Ocarina of Time, the Stalfos have simple armor, a sword and a shield, but in Wind Waker they each carry a giant club. Their equipment changes with each title. Perhaps they wield the preferred weapon of their time." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 64)