Gunning for the courtroom?
Palworld has been the talk of the town over the weekend. The game made quite a stir when it was revealed back in 2021, as fans were quick to point out just how similar it was to Pokémon. This quickly led to the game being called “Pokémon with guns,” by gamers; a nickname that the game’s director was never keen on.
Fast-forward to 2024 and Palworld has launched, and to incredible success. The title has already reached over 5 million players worldwide, and many more are flocking to the game as we speak. Of course, some of those players have spent their time diving into the game to see just how close to Pokémon it is, and some interesting discoveries have been made.
While there were plenty of Pokémon copycat allegations before Palworld released, those have increased tenfold with the game now available. Social media is alight with people showing Pokémon side-by-side with creatures in Palworld, and it’s obvious that some major inspiration was taken from Pokémon Company’s designs. There are also more damning allegations that claim Pokémon Scarlet/Violet models and proportions were directly used in the creation of Palworld’s monsters.
All of this backlash led to the game’s director (and CEO of developer Pocketpair) Takuro Mizobe discussing the matter on social media. While not giving a 100% straightforward answer, it does seem that Mizobe is pushing back on the pilfering accusations from fans. (h/t VGC)
“We are currently receiving abusive and defamatory comments against our artists, in addition to tweets that appear to be death threats. While we have received various opinions about Palworld, it is important to note that the supervision of all materials related to Palworld is conducted by a team, including myself. I bear the responsibility for the produced materials. I would appreciate it if these comments towards artists involved in Palworld would cease.”
As all of these claims continue to trickle in and voices get louder, you have to wonder what Pokémon Co. is thinking. While the company proper hasn’t made a peep about the situation, Game File reached out to Don McGowan, former head of Pokémon Company’s legal team, for his thoughts on the matter. While he doesn’t speak for Pokémon Co. now, he certainly provides some valuable insight into what the company might be thinking.
“This looks like the usual ripoff nonsense that I would see a thousand times a year when I was Chief Legal Officer of Pokémon. I’m just surprised it got this far.”
There are without a doubt conversations about Palworld going on at Pokémon HQ, and they’ve likely been going on for years. The thing is, are any of the legal discussions actionable? We’ll keep an eye on the situation and report on any further follow-ups.