The Pokémon Company has announced its intention to investigate allegations of plagiarism against the widely popular online multiplayer game, Palworld.
Amidst a surge in popularity for Palworld, fans have been quick to highlight similarities between the game and the Pokémon franchise. In response to these claims, The Pokémon Company issued its first statement, asserting its commitment to taking “appropriate action” if any breach of copyright is identified.
The creator of Palworld, Pocketpair, has stated that the game underwent thorough legal checks before its release, countering the accusations. Palworld gained attention as “Pokémon with guns” when its initial trailer was revealed in 2021. Like the renowned Nintendo series, Palworld revolves around the collection of diverse creatures with unique abilities.
Accusations of mimicry primarily focused on the designs of Palworld’s companions, gaining traction following the game’s remarkable launch on PC and Xbox the previous Friday. While some observers went so far as to claim direct copying from the Pokémon franchise, both companies have not directly addressed these allegations.
In a recent statement, The Pokémon Company did not explicitly mention Palworld but referred to “another company’s game released in January 2024.” The statement acknowledged numerous inquiries about this title and clarified that no permission had been granted for the use of Pokémon intellectual property or assets. The company expressed its intention to conduct an investigation and take appropriate measures against any infringements on intellectual property rights.
As of now, The Pokémon Company has not initiated formal legal action against Pocketpair.
Nevertheless, an Australian YouTuber, ToastedShoes, alleges that Nintendo issued a copyright claim against him after he posted a video showcasing Pokémon characters within Palworld. The footage on YouTube featured a modified version where player models, enemies, and companions were replaced with well-known Pokémon characters.
According to a report by gaming news site PCGamesN, Nexus Mods, a major platform for users to share homemade modifications, expressed discomfort hosting Pokémon-themed alterations for Palworld due to concerns about potential legal repercussions. Palworld, released in “early access” last Friday, has achieved significant success, selling 8 million copies. In this early access phase, the available version is not the final product.
In Palworld, players, referred to as “pal-tamers,” traverse an expansive map engaging in battles with both human adversaries and creatures known as “pals,” which can be captured and recruited. The game also incorporates gameplay elements reminiscent of popular survival titles such as Ark and Rust, both widely embraced by PC gamers.
Despite encountering server crashes, Palworld has garnered praise for its graphics, diverse stylistic elements, and the captivating concept of creature collection. With a “very positive” user rating from 80,000 reviews on the digital store Steam, the game has resonated positively with fans.
Acknowledging the unexpected success, the development team behind Palworld has admitted that the overwhelming interest in the game has led to challenges, and they are actively working to address issues and enhance the gaming experience.