Nintendo did try to make a dungeon maker in the Link’s Awakening remake but it… wasn’t great. Part of that was because it was a bit of a half assed mode, but also because making a worthwhile dungeon maker is hard. I mean, when I’m thinking of my favorite dungeons in the series, they tend to fall into one or more of three categories:
- It’s in a really cool setting that looks dope. Ocarina’s Forest Temple is a good example.
- It has interesting and novel mechanics. Twilight Princess’s Snowpeak Ruins fits here.
- It’s just a very well executed puzzle and combat gauntlet. OG Zelda’s first dungeon is the archetype.
For an official Nintendo product, they’re not going to allow for outside art assets. So we’d be stuck with the developer’s library of art, which basically means you can’t create visually unique or interesting dungeons. Category 1 is ruled out.
Category 2 design is possible, but once again we’re stuck with the limited verb and mechanics list that the dev provides. So eventually a player will be able to spot the various puzzle and combat paradigms and running through any dungeon becomes rote because there’s no novelty or unpredictability.
So that basically leaves category 3, which is possible with a limited art and mechanics pool. On paper that sounds good, but as Link’s Awakening showed, it quickly becomes repetitive. It doesn’t for Mario Maker because the act of moving Mario in itself is fun, whereas Link’s move set relies on context to be enjoyable.
But hey, I still think a well executed Zelda Maker would be incredible. Ultimately though, I just have more faith in a random Steam developer to make a good knock off that supports modding and external art assets than Nintendo to ever put out a good Zelda Maker.