Infestation 88, the Mickey Mouse horror game from Nightmare Forge Games, has been renamed following accusations the title was antisemitic.
The first-person online co-op game was announced on January 1 and is based on Steamboat Willie, the oldest black and white version of Mickey Mouse, with a dark twist. This announcement came after the character officially entered the public domain at the beginning of this year.
After receiving a trailer and Steam page, however, Infestation 88 has undergone a swift name change after some users online pointed out the Neo-Nazi connotations of its original title. Now, the game is named Infestation: Origins.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, the number "88" is used as code within the Nazi movement to reference "HH" (or "Heil Hitler") as the letter is the eighth in the alphabet.
Nightmare Forge Games released a statement yesterday (January 2) to explain the name change, and said: "Our game 'Infestation 88' is set in the 1980s, with the year 1988 chosen simply due to its symmetrical design in the game's artwork/logo.
"Unfortunately, we were unaware of any additional meaning the number '88' has," the studio continued. "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 statement was released to social media after Nightmare Forge Games shared a comment with Kotaku, which at the time claimed: "No additional connotations are intended." In addition, it confirmed that it was open to changing the game's name.
Furthermore, according to Inverse, when asked if the team behind the game were neo-Nazis, it responded, "No, we are not."
The official website describes the members of the studio as "a team of industry veterans who have specialized in creating horror games since 2010," but when asked if it could disclose the identities of the members, Nightmare Forge Games told Inverse: "Due to the large amount of attention and initial public reception, we're choosing not to disclose our identities at this time for the sake of maintaining privacy.”
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