Mickey Mouse Horror Game Changes Title, Refutes Neo-Nazi Allegations

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Close-up of character from Infestation Origins

Credit: Nightmare Forge Games


An upcoming horror game based on the newly-public domain Mickey Mouse has abruptly changed its title after allegations of neo-Nazi dog-whistling have surfaced.

Steamboat Willie
Credit: D23

As we previously reported, the entrance of Steamboat Willie, the original version of Mickey Mouse dating from 1928, into the public domain has sparked a huge explosion of new projects based on the character. Many of those projects have taken advantage of the character’s new copyright status to put Mickey Mouse into dark, violent, and/or sexual contexts, including several video games.

The first of those to be announced was Infestation 88, described by developers Nightmare Forge Games as a “co-op horror in which you’re an exterminator treating sinister infestations caused by twisted versions of classic characters and urban legends.”

Old title for new Mickey Mouse-inspired game, Infestation 88
Credit: Nightmare Forge Games

Related: Mickey Mouse Icon Removed From Disneyland, New Characters to Take Over

It took approximately 48 hours for various forums online to accuse Nightmare Forge Games of including neo-Nazi references in the game, most prominently the title; “88” is widely regarded as a white supremacist hate symbol, while “infestation” is alleged to be a reference to anti-Semitic rhetoric. The game developers (who have remained anonymous) have changed the title to Infestation Origins, along with a public apology on Twitter.

In a statement to Inside the Magic, Nightmare Forge Games said:

“[W]e changed our name to Infestation: Origins. The game takes place in the 1980s, and we had originally chosen the name “Infestation 88″ simply due to its symmetrical design in the game’s artwork/logo and representing the year 1988. Unfortunately, at the time of its announcement, we were unaware of any additional meanings the number ’88’ has. Through feedback from the community, we learned it did, and therefore made this name change ASAP. We have since apologized, as we strongly stand against Nazism and hate in any form.”

New title for Mickey Mouse-inspired game, Infestation Origins
Credit: Nightmare Forge Games

The game has also been described (per Motherboard) as “shovelware,” which is to say, it was constructed via purchased assets and is remarkably similar to existing games, rather than being independently developed. Nightmare Forge Games responded to this, saying, “As an indie studio, we do rely on some purchased assets from the Unreal and Unity stores…However, there is a lot of work going into this project that we’re hopeful will be evident upon release.”

Related: New Mickey Mouse Horror Film To Terrorize Theaters Following Disney’s Character Retirement

It also appears that the Mickey Mouse horror game uses AI-generated text-to-speech rather than employing voice actors, which has raised further speculation as to the quality of the game. Along with the allegations of neo-Nazi referencing, which the studio continues to strongly disavow, this is a whole lot of negative press for Infestation Origins before it is even available for purchase on Steam.

Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer's Apprentice in Fantasia
Credit: Disney

The glut of Mickey Mouse public domain projects will doubtlessly continue as creators find ways to transpose the character into new and increasingly bizarre settings. Hopefully, this particular issue will not become commonplace.

What are your thoughts about the changed title of this Mickey Mouse game? Let’s hear your opinions in the comments below.

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