When kids think about becoming game designers, they often dream of creating Nintendo games. Cory Bunnell's work on Breath of the Wild shows that these dreams may not be so far-fetched.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has not only received near-universal acclaim by critics and gamers alike, but it’s also the most expansive and lavish entry to date. The large scope naturally translated to a large development team. Since the game’s release a couple of weeks ago, many adventurers have managed to vanquish Ganon and witness the lengthy credits accompanied by variations of the franchise’s memorable score. One astute Redittor, Tizzlefix, noticed an anomaly in the developer section of the credits: Cory Bunnell. Upon further investigation, Tizzlefix discovered that Bunnell is an American developer.
Nintendo games, although often localized by Americans working at Nintendo of America, are almost exclusively conceived and created by Japanese developers — especially titles in iconic franchises such as Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda. Hence why Bunnell stands out in the sea of roughly 300 Japanese developer names credited in Breath of the Wild.
It’s noteworthy enough that Bunnell worked on the development of Breath of the Wild, but Tizzlefix found a forum post on Translators Café written by a young Bunnell in 2007 that makes his current job all the more surreal.
A high school graduate at the time, Bunnell detailed how he had not yet set a path for college, but had something else to aim for. “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,” Bunnell wrote.
Bunnell had spent time in Japan as an exchange student sought advice on how to go about expanding his knowledge of the Japanese language, along with admitting that he would need to study game design to accomplish his dream.
As Kotaku pointed out, Bunnell went on to study at Ritsumeikan University in Japan a few years later. In an alumni video, Bunnell said, “I want to make a game that everyone can enjoy, the whole world.” Nintendo hired Bunnell upon graduation in 2014, when Breath of the Wild was still in its early stages of development. Bunnell not only accomplished his personal career dreams, he helped deliver on his goal, by most accounts, of making a universally beloved game.
Bunnell’s story has already been shared far and wide on Twitter
Omg. BotW credits show almost exclusively Japanese designers/programers except this person. Search reveals a 2007 forum post pic.twitter.com/hBECZQxLC0
— Jen of the Wild (@GeneticJen) March 18, 2017
Sometimes dreams do come true.