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Infestation 88 devs address controversy over Neo-Nazi claims

Infestation 88 developer, Nightmare Forge Games, have responded to claims that the '88' in the game's title refers to the Neo-Nazi salute.

Image of bloodied shirtless man standing in a dark room with a Mickey Mouse head.

Sticky business, this one. Just 10 hours after Steamboat Willie, an original cartoon iteration of Mickey Mouse, went public domain, developer Nightmare Forge Games announced a survival horror game using the likeness of the character in Infestation 88. The thing is, many gamers took the ‘88’ part of the title as a reference to the Neo-Nazi salute and spun into a wild controversy, leading the developers to respond to the claims.

When speaking to Kotaku, a spokesperson for the development team explained that Infestation 88 is set in the 1980s, meaning the horror game’s “88 strictly represents the year 1988.”

“We are in the process of revising this artwork to clarify the abbreviation,” the spokesperson clarified to the outlet. “Should there still be concerns, we’re open to changing the game’s name.”

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That report went live about four hours before this writing, and since then, ‘Infestation 88’ has changed to ‘Infestation Origins.’ 

In the game’s official Discord server (also posted on Twitter), the developer stated it was “unaware of any additional meaning the number ‘88 has,” adding, “We apologize for our ignorance on this and appreciate that this was brought to your attention so we could address it ASAP!”

Following this post, all promotional material for Infestation 88 has been removed from the developer’s Twitter page, except for the reveal trailer. Regardless of the developer’s intentions, some gamers are convinced the game has Nazi vibes, pointing at the rat-based imagery and gameplay involving gassing rats.

“Look, I’m not saying it’s IMPOSSIBLE that this game wasn’t made with ill intent, but 88 is an immediate red flag,” said streamer Josh ‘Anoriand’ Fagundes on Twitter. “As are the facts that they use the word ‘Infestation,’ they use rat-based imagery, it involves gassing them, and counting the space ‘Infestation 88’ is 14 keystrokes.”

Infestation Origins looks to launch in 2024, but with such a controversial reception during the announcement on its heels, it’s uncertain how the game will be received when it releases.

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