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Mickey Mouse has only been in the public domain for a day, and there's already a horror game in the works

Infestation 88 was announced by developers Nightmare Forge Games yesterday (January 1) in the New Year celebrations as the iconic black and white cartoon character Steamboat Willie (an older version of Mickey Mouse) is now in the public domain. 

The upcoming homage to the old cartoon is set to be a survival horror game that sees up to four players working together as exterminators to eradicate a troublesome rodent population. It's all a far cry from what we're used to seeing, as Steamboat Willie has never looked so terrifying. Covered in blood, guts, and dirt, the short trailer shows a brief glimpse of the character in his brand-new look as he fights off exterminators. 

"This game is inspired by works that are now in the public domain. This independent creation has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise endorsed by any original authors of said works," a disclaimer on Infestation 88's Steam page reads. 

There is currently no release date set for Infestation 88, with the planned release occurring sometime in 2024. It will also go straight to Early Access "to allow players to provide their feedback while the game is still in development, allowing it to reach its full potential," according to a Q&A on its Steam page. The upcoming horror game will likely stay in Early Access for a lengthy period of time to ensure that it's in a "fully polished state by full release." 

This isn't the first time a beloved cartoon character was stripped of their innocence and forced into a horror game. In June 2023, Winnie the Pooh was the star of a terrifying body horror game, fondly named Winnie's Hole. The horror game saw players take the role of a rapidly mutating virus that was brewing inside the children's book character with the end goal of "refining his primitive form," according to the Steam page. It seems as if no innocent childhood character is safe in the public domain anymore.

For more terrifying escapades, which you can enjoy either by yourself or with friends, check out the best zombie games as well as the best indie horror games

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