Palworld’s Pokemon mod pulled amidst legal nightmare

Palworld’s Pokemon mod pulled amidst legal nightmare
Images via Pocket Pair | The Pokemon Company

Written by 

Tom Chapman


23rd Jan 2024 13:05

It was Oscar Wilde who said, "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about," and that seems to be the wave of popularity that Pocket Pair is riding with Palworld right now. The survival adventure game has you build your little base and head out into the world to collect cute critters called Pals. 

More than the concept of Pals sounding similar to a certain popular Nintendo franchise, some of Palworld's pint-sized monsters look a lot like the Pocket Monsters of Pokemon. The industry is split on whether this is copyright infringement or one of the many titles that's 'inspired' by the Pokeverse, and safe to say, Nintendo is watching.

Palworld's Pokemon mod is taken down

We'll be the first to admit that Palworld's Lamball looks like a dead ringer for Lambwool, while the poster boy of Grizzbolt is a seeming nod to Electabuzz. Still, it seems Palworld is just different enough to dodge Nintendo's legal eagles..for now. Sadly, an unofficial Palworld x Pokemon mod isn't as lucky.

You might've seen the work of ToastedShoes, who is a popular modder known for putting the likes of Shrek in Elden Ring and turning DreamWorks' Madagascar into a Call of Duty Zombies crossover. We're big fans of ToastedShoes' work, but with them using clear ripoffs of established IPs, they were always flying close to the sun.

ToastedShoes promised to show off their Palworld x Pokemon mod on January 23, however, they've since taken to Twitter to confirm they've been hit by a DMCA strike from the big guys. Ominously warning "Nintendo has come for me," ToastedShoes shared the original tweet with the media now being disabled.

Although only a snippet ahead of the full reveal, ToastedShoes' mod showed off Lamball, Torchic, and Pikachu inside Palworld. As Palworld has been affectionally referred to Pokemon with guns, it was only a matter of time until fans used its PC release to port over their Pokedex.

Palworld isn't worried about Nintendo

While Palworld sold over five million copies and soared up the Steam charts in a matter of days, it took about as long for Nintendo to get wind of the Palworld x Pokemon mod and scrub it from existence. We're also warned that Nexus Mods appears to be blocking Pokemon mods for Palworld, suggesting this is just the start of the legal woes.

As for Pocket Pair, it's confident that Palworld is different enough from Pokemon to avoid the courtroom. Speaking to Automoton, Pocket Pair CEO Takuro Mizobe said, "We make our games very seriously, and we have absolutely no intention of infringing upon the intellectual property of other companies."

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Mizobe should at least have some worries, as Bloomberg confirms Nintendo is aware of Palworld's existence. The typically stoic gaming giant said it won't be commenting on "individual cases," however, it's clearly onto Pocket Pair. 

This comes after The Pokemon Company's former Chief Legal Officer Don McGowan told Game File he was "surprised" to see Palworld "get this far." For now, Palworld is sitting pretty as an alternative to those who want Pokemon for adults, but with mods already being pulled, it could be a short-lived reign.

Tom Chapman
About the author
Tom Chapman
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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