Palworld critics want you to boycott it over ‘stolen’ Pokemon designs

Palworld critics want you to boycott it over ‘stolen’ Pokemon designs
Images via Pocketpair | The Pokemon Company

Written by 

Tom Chapman

Published 

19th Jan 2024 12:08

The unofficial tagline of "Pokemon with guns" is one that developer Pocketpair has been making the most of, but as the catch 'em all clone arrives on PC and Xbox, and some shocking similarities between Palworld and Pokemon become clear, it might want to distance itself from this association.

We've been watching Palworld closely, with Pocketpair seemingly hitting that sweet spot between capturing the magic of Pokemon and giving us something that's not just for kids. After 28 years of Game Freak's rinse-and-repeat formula, it's fair to say Pokemon is feeling a little stale. 

Palworld accused of stealing Pokemon designs

It's true that each iteration of the Pokeverse adds something new, but with Pokemon Scarlet & Violet's open world feeling a little sparse, the Terastallization gimmick falling flat, and the release being hindered by a deluge of bugs, it's no surprise that fans are looking elsewhere to get their Pokefix. 

Pokealikes are nothing new, with Cassette Beasts, Coromon, and Temtem being just different enough to dodge the ever-vigilant Nintendo legal team. However, Palworld's world could soon come crashing down thanks to players pointing out some eyebrow-raising designs that are a little too close to your favourite Pocket Monsters.

Over on Twitter, @AutumnRaport implored gamers not to buy Palworld, branding it a blatant rip-off of Pokemon. We've all heard the comparisons, but sharing designs of Pokemon like Meganium and Luxray alongside some familiar-looking Palworld Pals, and it's definitely suspicious.

Palworld is just a bit of fun

Potential copyright infringement aside, most agreed that Palworld is supposed to be a fresh take on the genre Pokemon has dominated. One Palworld supporter wrote, "Meh Pokemon has been trash, and I feel no loyalty to Game Freak after the way they've handled Pokemon lately."

Another added, "I honestly don't care at all about this anymore. The idea of 'Pokemon with guns' is too funny," and a third concluded, "Everybody rips off someone. Nothing is original now a days anyways. I’ll support it 10x more now. Especially since you can capture people."

Others claim that Pokemon took its own creative license with Dragon Quest's critters, while some pointed to the many mobile games that use Pokemon assets verbatim and seem to escape the grasp of The Pokemon Company. The problem is that Palworld started as an underground title that's now getting a lot of attention. 

Whether Nintendo and The Pokemon Company will come down on Palworld remains to be seen, but we imagine Pocketpair has done its due diligence and is (just about) safe from legal repercussions. Some wrote off the game as a scam, but Pocketpair has assured sceptics that it's very much real and here to rival the Pokeverse.

Tom is Trending News Editor at GGRecon, with an NCTJ qualification in Broadcast Journalism and over seven years of experience writing about film, gaming, and television. With bylines at IGN, Digital Spy, Den of Geek, and more, Tom’s love of horror means he's well-versed in all things Resident Evil, with aspirations to be the next Chris Redfield.

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