Pocketpair’s survival game Palworld has recently come under fire for its striking resemblance to the popular Pokemon franchise. The game, which entered Steam Early Access and Xbox Game Preview, has been accused of plagiarism due to the similarities between the monsters in Palworld and those in the Nintendo property.
The accusations gained traction after X/Twitter user @byofrog began uploading photos and videos claiming that the models used in Palworld are copied from Pokemon. This led to widespread harassment of the development team and, in some cases, even death threats. In response to the accusations and threats, CEO Takuro Mizobe released a statement urging people to refrain from slandering the artists involved in Palworld.
The controversy has led to a debate among game developers, with some unnamed AAA game devs expressing their belief that the models used in Palworld are based on Pokemon characters. One senior character artist anonymously stated, “You cannot, in any way, accidentally get the same proportions on multiple models from another game without ripping the models. Or at the very least, tracing them meticulously first,” adding, “I would stand in court to testify as an expert on this.”
Another developer mentioned that the Palworld team “may have built over the top of the Pokémon models and made a few changes so they weren’t exactly the same,” suggesting a potential case of derivative work.
Despite the accusations and opinions from game developers, there is currently no concrete evidence to suggest that Pocketpair plagiarized Nintendo. The situation has sparked a heated discussion in the gaming community, with some supporting the accusations of plagiarism and others defending the studio.
This controversy has brought to light the intricacies of copyright infringement in the gaming industry and has raised questions about the boundaries of inspiration and imitation in game development. As the debate continues, it remains to be seen how Pocketpair will address the accusations and whether the studio will take any actions to mitigate the backlash.