Other ‘Makers’ Nintendo Should Consider Developing

It’s understandable that Nintendo didn’t immediately start working on other “Maker” titles to follow-up the original “Super Mario Maker.” It surely was a hit, but it was still an unusual game, and the developer had no real way of telling whether gamers’ interest was genuine or if it was the result of factors like YouTube trends and such. With the release and success of Super Mario Maker 2, however, it’s looking like Nintendo fans really are interested in putting their own spins on classic Nintendo franchise; it might even be enough to turn these “maker” games into their own proper franchise. Nintendo just has to decide whether they want to pursue it and what properties they’ll use to do so. Fortunately, they’re sitting on several IPs that are perfect for the format.

Kirby Maker

Much like Metroid and Starfox, Kirby hasn’t gotten all that much attention over the past couple of years. The pink suction machine isn’t in danger of being forgotten or anything, but it still feels like it’s been a while. This might actually work to Kirby’s advantage, though, as a Kirby Maker-type game would have fan interest built into it. Kirby is also like Mario too in that it has many eras and art-styles to draw from, which would provide a maker-style game with a healthy amount of variety.

It might even work better than Super Mario Maker because Kirby has several key gameplay mechanics to draw from in addition to its various art styles. Player could make standard levels with simple powers, tricky levels with combined powers (Kirby 64) or even gimmick levels using simple tilt (Kirby Tilt n’ Tumble) and drawing functions (Kirby’s Canvas Curse); the Switch supports both, so why not? Like the parent franchise itself, Kirby Maker sounds simple on the surface, but there’s actually a lot Nintendo could do with it if they wanted to.

Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze Screenshot
Donkey Kong Maker

Donkey Kong is another obvious avenue Nintendo could pursue. The tie-wearing ape doesn’t have nearly as many games as his peers, but they’re all among Nintendo’s most beloved releases. Thanks to the creativity both Rare and Retro Studios put into all the games, there’s almost as much variety to be had making Donkey Kong levels as there is in making Super Mario levels.

The elements seen in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze would be particularly exciting to play around with. Just having the ability to make one’s own silhouette level would be worth getting psyched for. Nintendo would probably be limited to just the arcade and recent art styles due to the difficulty inherent in recreating the original Donkey Kong Country sprites, but then again, Nintendo has a way of defying expectations like that.

Levels wouldn’t even have to follow the format of the Donkey Kong Country series. Donkey Kong did debut as an arcade game after all, so it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to imagine Nintendo working that in somehow. Actually, making arcade style levels with modern or even SNES-era Donkey Kong visuals would be pretty appealing; it might even be enough to be a game-selling feature.

Legend of Zelda Maker

Of all of these potential games, this is the one that would probably see the most success. The Legend of Zelda is undoubtedly Nintendo’s biggest franchise after Mario and it also fits the “maker” mold in a way that won’t get perceived as a Super Mario Maker re-skin. As fans already know, classic Zelda games (with the exception of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link) all take place from a top-down perspective and focus on methodical exploration rather than reflexive platforming. That quality alone is enough to differentiate a Zelda-maker from Super Mario Maker. The differences would go a bit further, though.

Instead of making quick levels, Zelda Maker players would be crafting longer dungeons. Such creations would by nature require more time on the part of both creator and player, so the levels produced would likely be that much more involved and interesting on average. There would also be less opportunity for users to create mean-spirited troll levels, since dungeons would have to be possible to clear no matter what order players tackled the rooms in. One wouldn’t be able to have six locked doors and only make five keys accessible to the player, for example.

Super Mario Maker 2 - Screen3
Nintendo must be aware of the potential appeal here, because they’re already exploring this dungeon maker idea in the new The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening remake; the trailer revealed at E3 actually showed the feature in action. One can only place whole rooms in it, Nintendo is certain to explore it further if players show enough interest in it. Indeed, all of these potential maker games would be received with all manner of enthusiasm from Nintendo fans, but a Legend of Zelda maker stands at the top of the wish list. Get on it Nintendo; don’t let this opportunity pass you by!