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Considering that at the time, according to what they said, OOT was the start of the series and a prequel to ALttP which is a prequel to TLoZ/AoL, it was likely a bit of both. Nintendo designs the games gameplay first, but it's dumb to ignore all the care they've put into the connections between the games, because you don't personally believe that they connect.
They didn't just put portraits of the sages in the chamber of the Master Sword in WW, because "lawl, these fans are so crazy with their timeline." They didn't litter the entire first dungeon of TP with the Kokri symbol, because "lawl, these fans are so crazy with their timeline." They didn't do anything just for "fun." They've said as far back as like 2006 that there was a official timeline, so why bother denying what's clearly, ALWAYS existed?