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Copycat or Commonality?

Pokémon says it’s investigating Palworld “to address any acts that infringe on intellectual property rights.”
Faith Forrester

Palworld made a huge splash on social media when it debuted last month, selling 8 million copies in less than a week. Immediately, fans noticed similarities to Pokémon. And they weren’t the only ones.

Palworld was released Jan. 19, and just six days later, on Jan. 25, The Pokémon Company commented on the “many inquiries regarding another company’s game released in January 2024.” Pokémon said it will be investigating to see if there is any infringement on its rights.

Pokémon says it did not authorize any rights or property to Palworld.

Though Pokémon does not explicitly name Palworld, sources such as IGN,  say it was clear the statement is in response to Palworld.

Palworld explained

According to the Steam platform, Palworld is a game where you can live alongside creatures called Pals that can be used to fight other Pals in the wild or work on their owners’ farms. Players can also sell or eat the Pals.

Steam says the game includes:

  • Mounts and exploration.
  • Structures to build.
  • Production of fire, electricity or mine ore.
  • Factories and automation.
  • Dungeon exploration.
  • Pal breeding and genetics.
  • Crime and poaching activities.
  • Multiplayer capabilities of up to four players.

Palworld was created by Pocketpair, the same developers who created Craftopia in 2020.

Palworld vs. Pokemon, Ark and Breath of the Wild

IGN posted an article on the comparison of each Pal vs. Pokémon design.

Zoe Long, a junior design major at Winthrop University says she believes the animals are reminiscent of the Pokémon characters.

The Steam community has voiced its opinion on the comparison of Palworld to Pokémon and Ark loud and clear.

“The pals are sometimes 1 to 1 copies of pokemon. The UI is ripped from Ark survival evolved. It copies the climbing and world design of Breath of the Wild. Just about everything in this game is genuinely a stolen idea,” says a Steam user, geo_star.

Lawson Millwood, a senior computer science major at UNG, says, “I think Palworld is phenomenal for its genre. It’s already on par with Ark despite only being a month into early access.”

Harrison Browning, a senior business management major at the University of Georgia says that he believes Pokémon games have been inactive for a long time.

Browning says, “I believe that Palworld is a fresh take on a similar design game to Pokémon. The refreshingly new features have been an integral part of the game’s success.”

Fans’ POV

Browning says Pokémon fans have little right to be upset, “Quite frankly people standing up for billion-dollar gaming corporations who have monopoly-like grasps on markets . . . is absurd.”

Millwood says he believes Palworld “definitely walked the line on some of the character designs, especially with stuff like Wooloo and Lamball, but it’s also easy to see inspiration from Studio Ghibli like with Grintale.” He says he believes Palworld was trying to pay tribute to those artists, but “inevitably it’s seen as ripping them off.”

“I am a (little) obsessed with this game now. I don’t care if it does or doesn’t use ai, I don’t care about making virtual pets slaves, I don’t care what Nintendo thinks. The game is fun. and im still going to play it.” – Steam user, Meows

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