Mickey Mouse Stars in Brutal Retro First-Person Shooter

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A Steamboat Willie analog in the video game 'Mouse'

Credit: Fumi Games

The copyright to Steamboat Willie, the original 1928 Mickey Mouse, expired literally one day ago, and numerous different off-brand versions of the character are already popping up in weird places. Although there’s a lot of competition, an ultraviolent, noir-inflected video game simply titled Mouse might be one of the weirdest.

The title card for "Mouse" by Fumi Games
Credit: Fumi Games

Fumi Games, an indie video game developer, has announced it will release a first-person shooter game clearly inspired by the newly public domain version of Steamboat Willie, as well as noir films that feature the likes of hardboiled detectives and violent gangsters. The game does not have a release date as of yet, but will apparently be available on Steam sometime in 2025.

Related: Disney Announces Multi-City “Expansion”, Mickey Mouse Officially Leaving Orlando

The studio has released a first-look gameplay trailer, which is both impressively faithful to the look of 1920s cartooning and more gory than one could expect from black-and-white imagery. Check it out:

 

The Mouse trailer has the disclaimer “Actual Early Gameplay May Not Reflect The Final Game,” so it is entirely possible the finished product will not have the same detailed visuals, but still, Fumi Games has clearly put some work into this.

Steamboat Willie
Credit: D23

The official blurb for Mouse describes it as:

“Join private detective in MOUSE, a gritty, jazz-fueled shooter. With guns blazing and a retro rubber hose animation style, battle your way through a corrupt city full of crooks and danger. Inspired by classic FPS and noir films, MOUSE is the explosive shooter you’ve been waiting for.”

While the Fumi Games site does not explicitly reference Mickey Mouse or Steamboat Willie (likely to prevent the extremely litigious Disney from finding any reason to sue), the design of the game, the fact that the trailer was released immediately upon the copyright lapsing, and the fact that it’s called Mouse (duh) strongly hints that the studio is taking advantage of the newly available IP.

And Fumi Games is not alone in that. Nightmare Forge Games is releasing a more explicitly horror-themed Mickey Mouse game titled Infection 88, which it describes as “In the year 1988, what was thought to be an outbreak of vermin morphed into something far more sinister. Infestation 88 is an episodic, 1-4 player co-op survival horror game in which you and your friends are exterminators called in to treat these mysterious infestations.”

A horror version of Steamboat Willie's Mickey Mouse is crawling down a hallway.
Credit: Nightmare Forge Games

Related: Original ‘Peter Pan’ To Join Mickey Mouse in Public Domain

Similarly, there are two different Mickey Mouse/Steamboat Willie horror movies set for release soon, which just goes to show that people have been keeping an eye on Disney’s copyright status and working behind the scenes for quite a while. Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks could not have had any idea what their work on classic Mickey Mouse cartoons would eventually lead to, but it turns out, it’s a whole lot of mayhem, horror, and gore.

Which faux-Steamboat Willie project are you looking forward to? Let’s hear your thoughts on the timeless adventures of not-Mickey Mouse below!

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