Infestation studio changes game name following concern over Neo-Nazi symbolism

Infestation studio changes game name following concern over Neo-Nazi symbolism

Nightmare Forge Games has changed the name of horror game Infestation 88 after speculation that the number in its title was a Neo-Nazi symbol.

Originally titled Infestation 88 and later stylised as ’88, the studio has now removed the number entirely from its name. The game, which had its debut trailer earlier this week after the original Steamboat Willie Disney cartoon entered the public domain, is now known as Infestation: Origins.

The studio has since stated the number 88 was originally chosen for its “symmetrical design” and insisted any connection with Neo-Nazi connotations was unintentional.

The number 88 is used as a shorthand symbol by white supremacists and, as explained by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), can be commonly found “as a tattoo or graphic symbol; as part of the name of a group, publication or website; or as part of a screenname or e-mail address”. Following the reveal video, some viewers raised concern about the game’s name and themes which prompted changes by the studio.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Nightmare Forge Games stated it would change the name.

“Our game Infestation 88 is set in the 1980s, with the year 1988 being chosen simply due to its symmetrical design in the game’s artwork/logo,” reads the statement.

“Unfortunately, we were unaware of any additional meanings the number 88 has. However, after learning about this, we’re changing the game’s name to Infestation: Origins. We apologise for our ignorance on this and appreciate that this was brought to our attention so we could address it ASAP.”

The studio has now updated the game’s name and artwork on Steam, as you can see in the images below.

Eurogamer contacted Nightmare Forge Games for further comment. The studio replied acknowledging its apology on social media, adding: “We strongly stand against Nazism and hate in any form.”

Infestation: Origins artwork showing a close up of a Mickey Mouse-like villain with the game's new name to one side

Image credit: Nightmare Forge Games

Nightmare Forge Games has also refreshed the game’s official Discord server, removing several channels and closing others, with the original links on the company’s website no longer granting access to the server as a whole.

Eurogamer still has access to the server, however. Here, the studio specifically addressed concerns about its moderation in a post: “With respect to our Discord server, we also apologise for the current lack of moderation in place, and will be working on remedying this ASAP. As per the rules, any hateful speech or content in any regard will result in a ban.”

The rules for the server, last edited on 29th December, state “no hate speech or harmful language towards others” and “no political, religious, or controversial topics” can be discussed.

A further update adds: “Until we have our mod team built out more, we’ll temporarily be pausing chats during times that we’re unable to directly monitor the Discord ourselves. This is to ensure things remain safe and relevant. We appreciate your patience during this time and hope to have things back on track soon!”

Nightmare Forge Games also answered questions from its Discord community, where it further insisted it had no affiliation to Nazi propaganda. The studio was asked to reveal more about its previous work as the developers have so far remained anonymous. It replied: “For privacy reasons, we’re not comfortable revealing any personal info at this time. Especially after this assumption of Nazi association (which I’ll say loud and clear: Nazis suck, we are against hate in all forms), we don’t want people online coming after us personally or in our other games.”

Screenshot from Nightmare Forge Games Discord server

Image credit: Eurogamer

In a separate statement shared with Eurogamer, Nightmare Forge Studios addressed its use of purchased assets.

“As an indie studio, we do rely on some purchased assets from the Unreal and Unity stores,” it said. “However, there is a lot of work going into this project that we’re hopeful will be evident upon release.”

As for its use of AI, the studio has said it used a premium version of the text-to-speech service known as Elevenlabs as a “placeholder”, which has been used for AI voice mods in the past. This was due to the reveal being “an initial announcement trailer” and “time constraints”, it said. The studio said it will hire real voice actors in the future.

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