Somehow, Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is exceeding every ounce of hype generated by its lengthy development. The memorable open world, the gorgeous graphics, and Nintendo embracing the social aspect of gaming checked every box in the “Classic” category. Now, people are buying systems just to experience Link’s latest adventure. Even bitter, ex-Nintendo fanboys (like me), are thinking about at least picking up a Wii-U (because the Switch is annoying to find and the games taste bad) to see what everyone’s talking about.
But when we move past the vital Nintendo success story, another heartwarming tale demands our attention. Recently, an astute Redditor noticed an American name, Corey Bunnell, in the Breath of the Wild credits. This isn’t out of the ordinary — the Japanese company employs westerners to translate plenty of their games — but Bunnell was a programmer. Since a gaijin programmer for Nintendo is a rarity, his name was Googled and up popped his very own Nintendo origin story for all the world to see: A TranslatorsCafe.com forum post from 2007, asking advice about how to make it in Japan so he can work for Nintendo:
“My dream is to live in Japan and work for Nintendo as a game designer. I realize this is a very large goal but it has been my dream since I first played Mario. I need help figuring out how to achieve this goal. I know I would need to goto a game design school of some sort, and also get my Japanese to a level where I can speak and write professionally.”
Various forum members were supportive of young Corey’s dream, and advise him to become an English teacher in Japan so he can learn the language and get on solid footing away from home. It seems like he followed the advice, went to university in Japan, and now here’s his game developer bio, ten years after that fateful forum post:
Bunnell is a non-native of Japan who moved in pursuit of a career in the game industry. After graduating from Ritsumeikan University, he officially joined Nintendo in 2014, initially working as a Computer Programmer for the Entertainment Analysis & Development Division.
The guydid it. He achieved his dream — one that’s incredibly difficult to attain. It’s tough to land a job as a game designer anywhere, let alone Nintendo, and especially in Nintendo’s Japanese headquarters. Now, Corey Bunnell is in the credits of a game that will no doubt inspire thousands of players to create their own game, or take a risk that will inspire others around the world.
Most importantly, forum advice-givers everywhere are vindicated.