Super Mario Maker on Wii U was a fairly revolutionary offering for Nintendo, bringing the custom level creation scene popularized by "Kaizo Mario" games with creation tools such as Lunar Magic to mainstream audiences with a lighthearted and easy-to-learn design. The potential for Super Mario Maker and its sequel on Switch aren't as limitless as user-made tools, but the fact Nintendo was willing to give its fans a custom creation experience featuring its popular IP opened a potential floodgate. One series that many have expressed an interest in seeing adopt this formula is The Legend of Zelda.

As far as platformers are concerned, Kirby or Metroid would likely better fit Super Mario Maker's mold, but both are relatively niche compared to Zelda games. Nintendo has even experimented with the idea of a Legend of Zelda dungeon maker in Grezzo's 2019 Link's Awakening remake, which included a side-activity asking Link to collect Chamber Stones so Dampe can help him create more custom dungeons. The idea was limited, but with the scope of Super Mario Maker this kind of project could thrive as Nintendo's next mobile project.

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Nintendo in the Mobile Gaming Space

Super Mario Run Endless Runner Mobile Games

For decades, Nintendo split its primary developers between working on home consoles like the N64, GameCube, or Wii; as well as working on handheld consoles like the Game Boy, DS, and 3DS families. The gaming giant didn't break into smartphone development until 2016 with the endless runner Super Mario Run, despite it being seen as a viable source of income with a larger installed base for years prior.

Much of Nintendo's experimentation has starred Mario, often riffs on spin-off series with titles including Dr. Mario World and Mario Kart Tour - which has tracks now appearing in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe's Booster Course Pass DLC. Original projects like the soon-to-shutter Dragalia Lost have bolstered its smartphone library, but most games like Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp are based on pre-existing IP. Some of the most popular Nintendo mobile games aren't even created by the developer itself, as seen with Intelligent Systems' Fire Emblem Heroes and Niantic's Pokemon GO. Other offerings include Niantic's Pikmin Bloom and DeNA's Pokemon Masters EX, though notably no developer has launched a Zelda mobile game.

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The Potential For a Mobile Legend of Zelda Dungeon Maker

Zelda Prototype Screen - Green Dungeon

One reason for this lack of movement may be that The Legend of Zelda is a harder franchise to faithfully adapt to mobile. It's rare to find big action-adventure games stick the landing on smartphones compared to casual experiences like Animal Crossing or puzzle games like Dr. Mario. Some of the best concepts for a Zelda mobile game might be divorced from its primary gameplay appeal, instead tackling spin-offs like an adaptation of The Wind Waker's "Sinking Ships" Battleship clone or an on-rails shooter akin to Link's Crossbow Training.

Yet a 2D Legend of Zelda Dungeon Maker could bridge the gap with a more fitting conceit. Super Mario Maker billed itself on touch controls that could conceivable translate to mobile, but its more unwieldy level lengths might have been challenging to depict on a small touch screen (Mario Maker's limited 3DS port aside). Zelda's 2D dungeons; from The Legend of Zelda on NES to games like A Link to The Past, Link's Awakening, or the Oracle duology; are more self-contained as collections of single-room chambers that could be edited one-at-a-time and rearranged at a grander scale.

One benefit to seeing a Zelda dungeon creator on mobile is that even potentially flipping between different game "styles," the mechanics could be a lot simpler than Super Mario Maker's variant enemies and blocks filled with monsters or items. A competent mobile developer would also likely get better use out of the concept's share-and-play nature than what's possible with Super Mario Maker 2's somewhat obtuse level codes on Switch Internet. The Legend of Zelda is arguably Nintendo's franchise most in need of a mobile app, and dungeon creation could be its hook to rival games like Pokemon GO.

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