The game Bendy and the Ink Machine contains references inspired by the real-life, family-friendly universe Disney, and other older 1900's cartoons such as from Fleischer Studio. Below lies a following list.
Bendy, the main character of his own show, may be a parody of and/or inspired by Mickey Mouse's 1920-30 incarnation, while bearing some resemblance to the popular 1920's anthropomorphic cat character Felix the Cat. He also bears a resemblance to the Fleischer Studios dog character, Bimbo.
Boris could be a parody of Goofy, and also shares some similar looks to Mickey Mouse's dog Pluto. Furthermore, he might be based on the Big Bad Wolf from the Silly Symphony short The Three Little Pigs, as both are anthropomorphic wolves wearing overalls.
Besides looking similar to Betty Boop, Alice may be a parody of Minnie Mouse, who is Mickey's girlfriend. This could possibly mean she's Bendy's girlfriend as well (this has not been confirmed however). She could also be named after Alice, the main protagonist of the first live-action/animation hybrid show Alice Comedies.
The skeleton character, who appear in the Bendy cartoon "Tombstone Picnic", appears to be heavily based on the skeleton characters from the 1929 Silly Symphony short "The Skeleton Dance".
Charley from the "The Butcher Gang" poster may be very similar to the Fleischer cartoon character Grampy because of a similar-looking clothing along with the vest, a nearly bald head, pie eyes, and a black nose.
Barely could have been similar to the character Popeye from the Popeye the Sailor cartoons, as they are both sailors, wear sailor hats, are often shown flexing, gruff-looking expressions, similar square-shaped noses, and both have corn cob pipes.
Edgar's design may have strong similarities with the antagonistic spider character in Betty Boop's "Mother Goose Land" cartoon, as they are both spider-based characters having similar looks, even pie eyes, large lips possessing fangs, round-shaped bodies, and often walk in a quadrupedal manner. Although the spider antagonist have six arms with gloves on each end and has a nose while Edgar only have four legs with neither gloves or nose.
Being the workshop owner as well as the creator of Bendy's show, Joey might be inspired by Walt Disney himself, the founder of the Disney universe.
Being a composer, Sammy Lawrence may be a reference to Sammy Lerner who is known for composing the "I'm Popeye the Sailor Man" song and other songs from the Fleischer Studio.
Although "Bendy" does not bear any similarities to the real-life Disney characters other than Bendy, his appearance resembles that of the Blotlings, the main enemies from the Disney game Epic Mickey. This is also the case for the Searchers.
Joey Drew Studios
The company "Joey Drew Studios", where the game takes place, may be named after Walt Disney Studios, as Joey Drew could be inspired by Walt Disney. It might also be inspired by Disney's rival, Fleischer Studios.
The episode's name "Train Trouble" is a reference to "Trolley Troubles", the first Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon.
The episode "Tombstone Picnic" seems to be based off two Mickey Mouse shorts, "The Picnic" and "Orphan's Picnic". It may be also based on Felix the Cat short "April Maze".
The episode "Hell Firefighter" is most likely based off two Mickey Mouse shorts, "Mickey's Fire Brigade" and "The Fire Fighters".
- The soundtrack "Hellfire Follies" could be named after "Feline Follies", a prototype cartoon where Felix the Cat first appears.
- One of the messages written with ink reading "DREAMS COME TRUE" is a reference to the tagline for Walt Disney World which reads "Where dreams come true".
- The book entitled "The Illusion of Living" could be inspired by the Disney book "The Illusion of Life", written by two long-term animators.
- The ink used by animators (such as Henry, Joey Drew, and few others) for drawing cartoons is the same material as the one the animators in real life use to draw cartoons in Walt Disney Animation Studios and other cartoon studios.
- The achievement's title "Strike Up the Band" unlocked for Chapter 2 is a reference to the 1930 Fleischer cartoon of the same name.