In The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, players didn’t just play through another story set in Hyrule. The sequel to Breath of the Wild took the previous game’s sandbox elements several steps further, allowing players to use a new set of powers to construct machines, weapons, and tools using items in the world. By introducing this, Tears of the Kingdom encouraged players to be truly creative and push the limits of building in the game. Fans responded to this new level of freedom by devising awe-inspiring creations and sharing them online.
In the time since Nintendo released the game, fans have made nifty items like skateboards to intricate machines like a mechanized kaiju that looks like Godzilla.
In Super Mario Maker and Super Mario Maker 2, players can design their own Mario levels from scratch using an in-game editor. This has allowed players to create custom levels of all sorts in Mario. Players can make ultra-difficult levels that challenge the most seasoned Mario players or zany creations where a Mario level becomes an homage to Splatoon. No matter the approach, a huge aspect of the Super Mario Maker games is that they rely on player creativity.
Now, it’s no secret that the developers of Tears of the Kingdom were inspired by fan responses to Breath of the Wild. Developers saw players stretch the creative limits of Breath of the Wild, and they later created a game that doubled down on these sandbox elements. Given this, Zelda fans have long wondered if a version of Zelda that works like Mario Maker — where players could create or design dungeons or worlds — could ever come out.
But when asked directly about a Mario Maker-style game for Zelda, Aonuma had an interesting answer about the nature of Zelda games and what they offer to players. “There are people who want the ability to create from scratch, but that’s not everyone,” Aonuma said. “I think everyone delights in the discovery of finding your own way through a game, and that is something we tried to make sure was included in Tears of the Kingdom; there isn’t one right way to play. If you are a creative person, you have the ability to go down that path. But that’s not what you have to do; you’re also able to proceed to the game in many other different ways. And so I don’t think that it would be a good fit for The Legend of Zelda to necessarily require people to build things from scratch and force them to be creative.”
Given Aonuma’s response, it seems unlikely that Zelda will ever get its Mario Maker equivalent. If we did get more creative elements, it seems they would have to be nestled into a larger game where players could proceed in multiple ways. So those holding out hope for a Zelda builder might be better off finding other games that currently offer similar options — which, luckily for us, already exist.