Image: Brain Toys/inXile

InXile is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary as a games studio and to tie in with this event it has published a video on YouTube that covers the company's various ups and downs over the years.

Predictably, the video covers some key events like The Wasteland 2 Kickstarter and the Xbox acquisition, but it also features some lesser-known stories too.

Perhaps the most bizarre of these (as spotted by PCGamer) relates to the time InXile got in trouble over its Nintendo DS parenting sim Baby Pals, after an Indiana mum named Rachel Jones bought it for her daughter and overheard the game saying "Islam is the light". This led to a bunch of questionable news and TV coverage, with people accusing the studio of including subliminal messages in their games.

inXile studio head Brian Fargo recalls the strange situation in the video:

"We licensed a sound library which was the same one that Mattel used for their dolls so seems safe. And next thing you know we're in the news that if you listen carefully the baby is saying 'Islam is the light'. I'm like okay, you've got to be kidding me, right? Kind of a stretch."

From looking at old accounts, including this Engadget report, it appears this happened in 2009, two years after the game's initial release. This means that it is likely to be present in the European version too, which was published a year later in 2008.

During the controversy, Nintendo distanced itself immediately from the product, while the North American publisher of Baby Pals, Crave Entertainment, issued a statement to the website Game Politics to deny these strange allegations (accessed via Pocket Gamer):

"In creating the Nintendo DS game “Baby Pals”, the game developer Brain Toys/InXile used sounds files to simulate the life like baby noises and babbling. The sounds are publicly available for license. It is a recording of a 5 month old baby babbling non-intelligible phrases. In over 200 hours of testing the product, no recognizable English words or phrases were discernable."

In other words, according to Crave, it was just people hearing things as opposed to inXile sneaking religious soundbites into the game. Nevertheless, that didn't stop it from causing a few headaches for the studio, as people took against this harmless children's game for reasons that were ridiculous in the first place.

The vice president of people at inXile Elene Campbell says in the video:

"It was just a baby babbling. There were no hidden references and it caused so much trouble and was so stupid, but yeah, Baby Pals was great."

Something interesting about this is that it wasn't the only product this sound library caused issues for. One year prior, Fisher-Price's 'Little Mommy Real Loving Baby Cuddle and Coo' doll appeared in various local news outlets for the same reasons, with parents complaining that this toy could be heard saying "Satan is King" and "Islam is the light". This led to some local stores pulling the toy and Fisher-Price issuing its own statement:

"The Little Mommy Cuddle ‘n Coo dolls feature realistic baby sounds including cooing, giggling, and baby babble with no real sentence structure. The only scripted word the doll says is 'mama.' There is a sound that may resemble something close to the word 'night, right, or light.'

Because the original sound track is compressed into a file that can be played through an inexpensive toy speaker, actual sounds may be imprecise."

If you want to watch the rest of inXile's video, you can find it below! It covers some other obscure tales from the studio's history, including the making of Heist, a cancelled open-world action-adventure game that inXile was developing for Codemasters around the PS3 era.

What do you make of this news? Let us know in the comments!

[source, via]