Step aside, Mario! Nintendo’s next builder should be dedicated to the hero in a tunic.
Since launching just after E3, Super Mario Maker 2 has been building quite the following. Many players have been donning their hardhats and creating their own individual levels to jump into and enjoy. In fact, reports indicate that more than 2 million levels have been built since the game launched.
With Mario getting so much love, I can’t but help think that another acclaimed Nintendo IP would excel given the “Maker” treatment. Nintendo needs to release The Legend of Zelda Maker for Switch!
A link between worlds
Setting expectations, it would be unreasonable to expect Nintendo to include 3D Zelda games in a potential Zelda Maker. However, there are more than enough top-down Zelda games producer Eiji Aonuma and his team could pull from. As with Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda has numerous different flavours and styles to utilize. A potential Zelda Maker could pull from the original The Legend of Zelda, Phantom Hourglass and, of course, the chibi style from The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening.
This would not only grant access to an in-depth catalogue of enemies and assets, but also gameplay mechanics. You could potentially design a level for players to work in tandem to complete a puzzle via a Tri Force Heroes-inspired level or utilize the shrinking mechanics from The Minish Cap. Creative possibilities could be endless given the proper execution.
One of my favourite aspects of Super Mario Maker and its sequel is the freedom and creativity that emerges when you get your hands on the game’s toolbox. Whether you want to flood the stage with copious amounts of enemies or make a musically-driven level, once you tap into the game’s offering, you’re left to your own devices. Talented and creative minds could surely design some magnificent levels in Hyrule.
Building out the land of Hyrule
The biggest challenge a Legend of Zelda Maker has is executing on scale. A “build your own Zelda stage” game couldn’t be as linear as the side-scrolling mayhem found in Super Mario Maker 2. Working within the classic Zelda tiled-map, it would be quite interesting to create each segment and stitch them together into an overworld for other players to explore. This would naturally take a bit more time than building a Mario stage, but it could be an endeavour Zelda fans may want to sink their teeth into.
The Mushroom Kingdom is one of the most iconic video game locales. However, Hyrule does come in at a close second. Hyrule is ripe with distinct townships and different biomes, with a wide variety of unique enemy types living within. Working within this frame, you could pull assets from Lake Hylia, Death Mountain and Kokiri Forest. You could also flesh out each area of the map, placing Moblins, Lynels and Peahats in various places to create difficult gauntlets for other players to navigate. Of course, it wouldn’t be Zelda without hiding some useful items behind cracked walls.
Getting over the hurdle of encouraging longer build and playtimes may not be an easy task. But as long as the process is engaging and endearing, I think the Zelda fanbase could really take a liking to community-built levels. As with Super Mario Maker 2, I feel like this could speak to those who enjoy the creation of intricate levels. I believe there could be many unique options to not only test the community’s ability to withstand a large troop of enemies, but also speedrun for the best completion time.
Another aspect to look at is The Legend of Zelda’s dungeons. The franchise is known for its puzzling dungeons, which culminate in boss battles. Accessing the tools to create your own maze-like dungeon, there would be no shortage of unique designs and challenges. You can already imagine how many players will make it their life’s mission to create something that makes Ocarina of Time’s Water Temple look like child’s play.
With The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening just around the corner, we’ll see the seeds planted that may grow into a proper Zelda Maker title. Link’s Awakening will feature a pseudo build-your-own-dungeon mode called Chamber Dungeons. The new Chamber Dungeon feature allows you to collect chambers along your journey and piece them together to create your own unique dungeon for rewards.
I can’t predict the future, but if people do love this idea of arranging dungeons, I’ll keep that in mind going forward.
– Eiji Aonuma
In a recent interview between Kotaku’s Jason Schreier and Eiji Aonuma, Schreier asked if he would consider a Zelda Maker based on the success of Chamber Dungeon. Aonuma responded: “I can’t predict the future, but if people do love this idea of arranging dungeons, I’ll keep that in mind going forward.”
Although it would appear there are no immediate plans to develop The Legend of Zelda Maker, it’s reassuring to know that Aonuma is keeping his ear to the ground.