There aren’t a lot of non-Japanese names in the credits for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which is hardly a shock, since the game was developed by a team at Nintendo’s Kyoto headquarters.
The only reason I mention it, is because the preponderance of Japanese developers makes one specific name stick out.
This Corey Bunnell guy isn’t an English localizer or somebody who works in Nintendo of America’s accounting office – he was actually on the Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s core development team. He may just be the only non-Japanese dev who can claim that honor. But hey, so what? You can only glean so much from a name. Well, here’s where things get more interesting, and just a bit poignant.
Fascinated by this out-of-place Western name listed in Breath of the Wild’s credits, Redditor Tizzlefix did a little searching, and found a 2007 messageboard post from a Cory Bunnell. Don’t worry, it’s nothing embarrassing. In the post, Bunnell talks candidly about his at-the-time far-fetched dream of working for Nintendo of Japan…
“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 go to a game design school of some sort, and also get my Japanese to a level where I can speak and write professionally.”
Well, apparently, Corey did exactly that. Kotaku did some sleuthing, and found that Bunnell studied programming at Japan’s Ritsumeikan University, before joining Nintendo in 2014. Bunnell is featured in a recent group photo Nintendo shared at their Breath of the Wild GDC talk. He’s the guy in the back in the pink shirt. This dude must have got some razzing for that, but hey, not a bad price to pay for living your dream.
Japan is a notoriously closed society, and older, traditionally-run companies like Nintendo are particularly hard to crack, but if Corey can do it, maybe you can, too. Don’t be afraid to Nintendream big.