GameSpot may receive revenue from affiliate and advertising partnerships for sharing this content and from purchases through links.

Mickey Mouse Horror Game Revealed, Undergoes Name Change Due To Nazi Connotations

Mickey Mouse (at least the earliest version) is now in the public domain, so of course this is happening.


The earliest version of Mickey Mouse is now in public domain as of January 1, 2024, and as many guessed, a game developer has announced its own twist on the character in a spooky setting.

Nightmare Forge Games has announced Infestation: Origins, an episodic 1-4 player co-op survival horror game set in 1988. You play as an exterminator called upon to rid dwellings of "twisted versions of classic characters and urban legends." And yes, Mickey Mouse is one of those characters. The game is set to release later this year on Steam as an early access title.

Notably, the game has already undergone a name change not long after its announcement. As shared on developer Nightmare Forge Games' Twitter/X account, the original title--Infestation 88--has been changed to Infestation: Origins. According to the devs, the "88" in the title was due to the game being "set in the 1980s, with the year 1988 chosen simply due to its symmetrical design in the game's artwork/logo." They say they were subsequently made aware of the Nazi connotations of the number 88, which is used to discreetly reference "Heil Hitler" by Nazis. Compounding the alleged connection was the focus on rats, which is what Nazis referred to Jewish people as during the Holocaust.

"Unfortunately, we were unaware of any additional meanings the number '88' has," Nightmare Forge wrote. "However, after learning about this, we're changing the game's name to 'Infestation: Origins.' We apologize for our ignorance on this and appreciate that this was brought to our attention so we could address it ASAP!"

The version of Mickey Mouse that went into public domain today, January 1, is the character's earliest appearance, dating back to 1928's Steamboat Willie. Newer versions of the character remain under Disney's control. Legal experts expect Disney to remain highly protective of its brand and Mickey Mouse specifically, so it'll be interesting to see what happens in the days, weeks, and months ahead as inevitably more and more Mickey-related projects come to light due to the public domain status of Steamboat Willie. Already, we've seen a horror movie with Mickey Mouse revealed.

Infestation: Origins features a number of "unique locations" and players will visit these and unravel the mysteries (and horrors) of how each infestation began. "Find the source at all costs," reads a line from the game's description. Each area has its own unique "classic character" or urban legend to deal with. Mickey Mouse is one of these. You can see some of the others in the trailer and the image gallery in this story.

Hello there
Hello there

Infestation: Origins features private and public lobbies, as well as proximity-based and standard voice chat, so teams can work together to take down the evil creatures. Items are randomized, which Nightmare Forge says should help boost the game's replayability. Players will unlock experience, skins, perks, and other items as they make progress in Infestation: Origins. What's more, the game supports Nvidia DLSS, which Nightmare Forge says should allow for "stunning visuals without sacrificing frame rate."

You can visit the Infestation: Origins Steam page to learn more.

This story has been updated with context around the game's name change.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 7 comments about this story