- Infestation: Origins offers a horror twist on public domain characters, including Mickey Mouse, drawing comparisons to Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey.
- Both projects have low-budget indie charm and were announced soon after their source material entered the public domain.
- Infestation: Origins takes a new direction by presenting Mickey Mouse as a horror monster divorced from his cartoon setting, aligning him with cryptids and urban legends.
Now that the Steamboat Willie version of Disney’s Mickey Mouse has entered the public domain, the cartoon rodent has already been repurposed for horror in the upcoming game Infestation Origins. This horror game news coming just hours after Mickey entered the public domain invited immediate comparisons to Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey. However, the Disney mascot still has a chance to offer something different in the horror genre.
Infestation: Origins is an upcoming co-op horror title from Nightmare Forge Games. The title will feature Mickey Mouse, alongside other iconic characters from popular culture, as horror villains resulting from aberrant vermin outbreaks. Players will have to exterminate these nests and eliminate monstrous opponents. This horror twist for a public domain character (a public domain character associated with Disney, no less) has led some to draw comparisons to 2023’s Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey. The poorly-received slasher flick drew criticism for having more shock than substance, and the perception of the film as a cashgrab is a lens that’s already being put to Infestation.
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Infestation: Origins Has A Lot In Common With Blood And Honey
It’s pretty easy to draw comparisons between these two projects. There’s the obvious use of Disney characters and twisting them toward horror, even if Pooh is not strictly a Disney character. In addition, both were unveiled soon after their source material entered the public domain; Blood and Honey was announced a few months after Pooh entered the public domain, whilst Infestation: Origins got its first trailer hours after Steamboat Willie became public property.
There’s also a level of indie camp that comes with these low-budget productions. Nightmare Forge Games is a relative unknown, with Infestation: Origins being the only project listed on the developer’s website. Blood and Honey had a miniscule $100k budget and was shot over just 10 days. Despite receiving an overwhelmingly negative response, Blood and Honey does have some splatstick charm. Infestation‘s gameplay, surviving the threat of mascot characters like Mickey, shows a clear influence from indie mascot horror — such as FNAF or Bendy and the Ink Machine. This means that a similar low-budget charm is somewhat likely.
Infestation: Origins Might Be Taking A New Direction
Interestingly, the promotional material for Infestation: Origins implies that the game might take a new route in making the nostalgic scary. Blood and Honey retells its source material; its plot revolves around the aftermath of Christopher Robin leaving his woodland friends behind. Infestation, on the other hand, doesn’t appear to have any roots in the storyline of Steamboat Willie. A twisted portrayal of Mickey is presented divorced from any cartoon setting, rather appearing as the culmination of some mutant vermin. In addition, Mickey is said to be one of the entities that will be faced in-game. The game’s Steam description hints at multiple antagonists, each being a ‘classic character or urban legend’. The screenshots on the Steam page hint at the cryptid Mothman being among this rogues’ gallery.
Putting Mickey on the level of a cryptid is nothing new. The iconic creepypasta Abandoned by Disney (the inspiration for FNAF fangame darling Five Nights At Treasure Island) took a similar approach to the character. Its monster, ‘Photo-Negative Mickey’, is a color-inverted version of the mouse that serves as both an embodiment of Disney’s corporate sins and as a cryptid urban legend not dissimilar to Mothman. This cryptid status is also solidified by another creepypasta, mouse.avi, which itself is based on an urban legend surrounding a lost Mickey Mouse cartoon.
Wrapping Mickey into a creature of urban legend is an interesting way to interpret him as a horror monster. Aligning Mickey Mouse with cryptids may seem unconventional, but his legacy as the innocent mascot for a decidedly non-innocent corporation, one wrapped in many a piece of folklore and rumor, makes this perversion a simple leap.
Infestation: Origins releases in 2024 for PC.
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