MSU professor, former student launching new “pirate” video game

Michigan

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — You might not know that one of the top video game design programs in the country is located at Michigan State University.

MSU Media and Information professor Brian Winn has spent a lot of time helping students create video games, and recently, he and a former student made their own.

Plunder Panic is sort of a modern version of all the arcade games that used to be popular back in the day. The game has pirate ships and cannons, with the objective being to get the most amount of gold among other things.

“You know first of all it’s kind of a spectacle, and it’s fun and also it creates this nice circular playing field so you can have six on one side and six on the other. And you really have rowdiness at the center of the space,” said Winn.

Brian Winn is one half of “Will Win Games.”

Back in 2017, Winn helped developed Plunder Panic for an event in Traverse City.

“It ended up winning several awards and actually my partner at the time in the GEL lab, which is our research and development lab, his name is Will Jeffery, and myself Brian Winn, you know we decided to start Will Winn Games as the vehicle to bring it to market.”

The gaming controls?

“It’s left right up down, and then A to jump and then B to just kind of action.”

The game is certainly action packed and you can play with as many as 12 players at a time. Winn says from what he seen, it appeals to everyone.

“When we were showing our game out in the public, we’d have parents, and grandparents come up with their children or grandchildren, and play together.”

Right as the game was picking up steam, the Coronavirus showed up, which meant that playing together in close quarter was no longer an option.

So Winn and Jeffrey pivoted, creating a new version everyone could play at home.

“You know 10 percent inspiration, 90 percent perspiration..” 

The MSU Foundation invested early on in Will Win Games, the company they’re using to launch Plunder Panic.

Will Win Games is now a team of 10, and they’re hopeful they can turn it into something much more.

“A lot of our students end up going out to the east coast, you know leaving Michigan and we want to stop that brain drain if you will, and keep them in the area, doing the mixture of creative and technological things that they’re doing which I think really helps the area as well.”

Plunder Panic is having an early release to the public on Sept. 17, saying that was strategic because Sept. 19 is National Pirate Day.

This initial launch will make the game available to play on PC, and they expect to launch on consoles, like PS5 and XBOX in early 2022.

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