Everyone has a dream. Corey Bunnell’s was to one day work for Nintendo. But he wasn’t sure how to make that happen so he asked for advice one day on a forum. That was ten years ago. This month, Nintendo shipped The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with his name in the credits under “Wildlife Programming.”
Among the hundreds of Japanese names scrolling past at the end of the game, the words “Corey Bunnell” are hard to miss. Doing a Google search of the name, Reddit user Tizzlefix then found that Bunnell had once posted on the Translators Cafe forum asking for advice on how to study more and eventually work in Japan.
Posted on Sunday, October 7, 2007, the aspiring game designer wrote about his experience as an exchange student in Japan during high school and his desire to try and study there during college. He continued,
“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.”
One commenter to respond on the forum suggested he try to teach English there first. Moving from the states to Japan isn’t the easiest thing. The country can be very discriminating when it comes to issuing work visas to foreigners. But getting work in the country teaching a language and transitioning to becoming a university student can be more viable than most other paths.
Three years after posting on that forum, Bunnell was admitted to Japan’s Ritsumeikan University where he studied programming. In an alumni video posted a few years ago, Bunnell mentions the skills that he learned at the school and also that he was able to begin interning at a video game company and eventually go on to work there full time.
“I want to make a game that everyone can enjoy, the whole world,” Bunnell says toward the end of the video, and with his contributions to Breath of the Wild, I’d say he’s done exactly that. According to the staff database site Kyoto Report, Bunnell joined Nintendo in 2014, the same year he graduated from Ritsumeikan.
Bunnell also appears to be in a picture taken of some of the game’s development team that began circulating recently after this year’s Game Developers Conference. The guy in the pink shirt toward the back left certainly looks a lot like Bunnell from the video above.
His brother, Justin Bunnell, also tweeted the news of his brother’s long journey earlier today, writing “It’s amazing that my brother Corey Bunnell is doing exactly what he wanted to do. Awesome work ya bum!”
Everyone always used to try and pretend that they had an uncle who worked for Nintendo, but Bunnell took his passion for the company’s work to the next level and set out to actually one day work there himself. Not everyone’s dreams come true, but some do. Remember that next time you’re bouncing around the hill of Hyrule hunting wild boars.