A Portland Tech Company’s Weird New Video Game Has Become a Viral Sensation

Since its release two weeks ago, "Untitled Goose Game" has earned celeb endorsements and inspired an endless stream of memes based on its long-necked lead.

If you've browsed social media at all the last week or so, you've likely heard of Untitled Goose Game, the video game that lets players step into the webbed feet of the titular waterfowl and wreak havoc on a peaceful English village.

Since its release two weeks ago, the game has earned celeb endorsements from Chrissy Teigen and Blink-182 and inspired an endless stream of memes, artwork and mash-up videos based on its long-necked lead.

What you might not know is that the game was published by Portland-based company Panic Inc.

Steven Frank and Cabel Sasser founded Panic in 1997 as a software company, creating file transfer app Transmit and media player Audion before pivoting to gaming in 2016 by publishing the acclaimed indie game, Firewatch.

Related: This Portland Tech Company Is Releasing One of the Weirdest Handheld Game Consoles of the Year.

In 2017, Australian studio House House released the first trailer for Untitled Goose Game, whose quirky premise and memorable quasi-name caught the attention of outlets such as Kotaku, Paste and Polygon.

Upon seeing the trailer, Sasser sent an email to House House simply reading, "Do you need a publisher?"

Their partnership was announced in August 2018. The game was released for PC and Nintendo Switch on September 20, nearly two years after the initial trailer's debut. It has quickly become a viral sensation.

Why do so many people want to be an obnoxious goose?

"There's something really simple and pure and slapstick-y about the game that I think appeals to almost everyone," says Sasser. "There's something fun about being chaotic and bad, but not too bad, you know?"

Panic's next big project is no less bizarre: a hand-held console called Playdate, which combines 2D Game Boy-style graphics with a hand crank that controls some functions of the game. It's projected for a 2020 release.

Says Sasser: "We can only hope it brings as much joy into people's lives as the goose has."

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