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Plunder Panic, supported by Michigan State University, arrives to Steam Early Access

If swashbuckling adventures are what you seek, the latest pirate adventure game, Plunder Panic, is now available on Steam through Early Access under collaboration between industry talents and Michigan State University.
Plunder Panic, supported by Michigan State University, arrives to Steam Early Access

The release of the pirate online multiplayer coincided with National Talk Like a Pirate Day on 19th September will have players spending plenty of time cleaning the deck with their fellow mates. Drawing inspiration from couch co-op games, its developers, Will Winn Games, captured its nostalgia with a blend of pixelated graphics and modern gameplay mechanics.

But at the heart of the game is a journey that speaks to its conceptualisation and development together with a partnership that truly lives up to the meaning of teamwork on a dream project.

The beginning of a passion project between students and professors

Michigan State University supported game, Plunder Panic, arrives to Steam Early Access
Choose your crew and defeat your enemy pirate ship by collecting gold, sinking the ship or going after the enemy captain. (Picture: Will Winn Games)

In an interview with Andrew Birkle for American-based news agency, WLNS, Michigan State University (MSU)’s Media and Information professor, Brian Winn, worked alongside a former student to develop a prototype after he had dedicated time to create video games with students over the years. The prototype would later lay the foundation for development on Plunder Panic.


Plunder Panic is the passion project developed from their efforts as players will spend hours building friendships and rivalries on the high seas by collecting enough gold into treasure chests, sinking enemy ships or defeating the rival captain. Players will have explosive ammo at their disposal, from dynamite to Molotov cocktails.

“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.

Panic on the high seas

Michigan State University supported game, Plunder Panic, arrives to Steam Early Access
Players will have access to both local and online multiplayer play in the early access. (Picture: Will Winn Games)

Plunder Panic is a pirate action-adventure game in which players set sail for the ultimate pirate supremacy. Together with fellow crewmates, each pirate must work together to eliminate their rivals by collecting gold, sinking their ships with cannons or dynamite or defeating their captain. There are objectives to complete, so use your spyglass as enemy pirates may be close-by to aboard your ship.

During its early access launch, players will have access to both local and online multiplayer play, supporting up to 12 players in a lobby. Players do have the option to include AI opponents depending on the players available in a single lobby. Additionally, there are five levels to play as well as an arsenal of weapons such as swords, enchanted idols, rum-filled barrels and squid which will drop randomly during a match.

Development on Plunder Panic started in 2017 where a prototype was brought to the Traverse City Film Festival, in which it made the official selection in 2017 and 2018. From there, the game went on the road during its developmental phase, winning several awards, including the 2017 IndieCade Audience Choice Award, as well as making the official selection for other gaming exhibitions, including Meaningful Play, South by Southwest (SXSW) and the Indie Mega Booth at Pax East all in 2018.

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

The COVID-19 pandemic halted further plans of having people play together in close spaces; however, the developers extended the gameplay demo by developing a new version of Plunder Panic to allow everyone to play at home together.

Will Winn Games launched Plunder Panic available for PC through Steam Early Access with post-launch content planned for the coming months. The developers have noted that the game will be launching for PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch consoles in early 2022.

For more information on Plunder Panic, check out the official game page, join their Discord server as well as on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Featured/Header image courtesy of Will Winn Games