Early Mickey Mouse is now public domain, instantly becomes a horror game slasher

Now that the calendar has flipped over to 2024, the earliest version of Mickey Mouse has become public domain. Naturally, this has led it to be incorporated into an indie horror game faster than you can say the phrase ‘predictable jumpscare’.

Yep, poor Steamboat Willie, whom you might remember from a certain 1928 animated short film named after him, has been cast from Walt Disney’s loving arms into those of the masses. As happened with Winnie the Pooh last year, the scare-seeking contingents of society couldn’t wait to turn young Mickey into something that’ll no doubt fill the underpants of streamers worldwide on a regular basis once it releases.

Meet Infestation 88, a “co-op horror [game] in which you’re an exterminator treating sinister infestations caused by twisted versions of classic characters and urban legends.” Here’s its first trailer, released yesterday to accompany the title’s announcement by developer Nightmare Forge Games.

The big thing you’ll notice, once the chillingly beefy public domain disclaimer is out of the way, is a whole lot of spooked-up Willie jumping out and making disconcerting noises at some unfortunate fellows in biohazard suits. These unlucky souls are the exterminators you and your mates will be able to play as in the episodic title, which – as you might expect – revolves around dealing with “mysterious infestations” in the year 1988.

Think something like Lethal Company, but with a familiar character or two in place of the giant creatures that can’t quite eat you and the Flubber-style ooze.

If that sounds good to you, you’ll have to do a bit of waiting, with Infestation 88 being set to become available via Steam early access at some point in 2024. According to Nightmare Forge Games, which says it’s “a team of industry veterans who have specialised in creating horror games since 2010”, this EA period will likely last somewhere between six and 12 months.

“The game [currently] has a fully playable loop with up to four players taking the role of exterminators, using tools to quell the infestations in multiple locations,” the developer explains, adding: “The game is feature-rich, but will benefit greatly from community feedback so we can refine the existing scope and plan new features players want to experience.”

While you wait to be petrified by a disgusting and out-of-control Willie, make sure to check out our array of guides to everything from monsters to scrap in Lethal Company.

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