Ex-Nintendo staffers describe the 'mass panic' when Nintendo thought Zelda: Breath of the Wild wouldn't win Game of the Year at TGA 2017

The Game Awards are coming back for their yearly installment on December 8th, 2022. In honor of that event, former Nintendo employees Kit Ellis and Krysta Yang talked about a bit of Nintendo history from The Game Awards back in 2017.

You can hear the entire discussion above, which focuses on Nintendo’s expectations for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at The Game Awards 2017. Long story short, Nintendo didn’t think Breath of the Wild was going to win Game of the Year, and that feeling led to all kinds of stress within Nintendo’s walls.

You can see a summary of the major tidbits below, courtesy of Phantom Thief on Famiboards.

  • Nintendo wavers on supporting the VGAs, sometimes going big and others going quiet
  • In 2017, Nintendo wanted to go big on core gamer attention, thus the TGA support
  • Nintendo got worried Breath of the Wild wouldn’t win game of the year
  • Super Mario Odyssey was also nominated, and they thought the vote would be split
  • Nintendo thought this would lead to Horizon: Zero Dawn winning Game of the Year
  • this line of thinking led to what Kit and Krysta described as ‘mass panic’ at Nintendo
  • Nintendo spent literal months on acceptance speeches
  • when Zelda & Mario didn’t win other categories they were nominated, morale dropped
  • once Zelda won Game Direction, Nintendo’s confidence was restored
  • Nintendo’s Aonuma and Fujibayashi were extremely excited and pumped
  • this made it clear to Kit & Krystal that individual developers do care
  • Aonuma felt Zelda winning GotY was the culmination of the BOTW journey for him
  • Koizumi had already accepted that Zelda would beat out Super Mario Odyssey
  • Koizumi is a producer for the Switch, so he counted BOTW’s win as a win of his own
  • everyone at Nintendo was incredibly happy and celebrated hard at the afterparty

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