Palworld sells 6m copies after inspiring death threats from Pokemon fans

New action-adventure survival title is the talk of the video game world

Makers of Palworld, a game dismissed as 'Pokemon with Guns' when it was announced, is selling fast. AFP
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A new title is causing quite a stir in the video game community, and disputed claims of plagiarism haven't stopped it from finding immediate success.

Palworld is an action-adventure survival game developed and published by Pocket Pair. The game allows players to customise their character and then roam an open world filled with “pals”, which are monsters inhabiting the land.

The game has drawn comparisons to games from the famed Pokemon franchise, due to its similarly designed monsters, with attributes that can be easily confused for Pokemon.

Gamers on X, formerly known as Twitter, have already called the game “Pokemon with guns”, which has only drawn more attention to it, especially from Pokemon fans who are not too pleased with the similarities.

Whether the accusations are true has not yet been settled, but in the mean time, all the talk has seemingly propelled the title to the top of the charts. The game, which launched on Friday, has sold more than six million copies in its first four days of release, the company behind it announced.

Despite a successful launch, the game’s developer Pocket Pair have also shared that their team has received hurtful comments, some of which are alleged death threats.

The community manager at the company, who goes by Bucky, wrote, “Frantically working through all my DMs and emails! I promise!”

“However, you'll excuse me if I skip over the death threats, threats to the company and massively outlandish claims.”

The threats have been attributed to fans who think Pocket Pair outright ripped off Pokemon for their game.

Pocket Pair chief executive Takuro Mizobe shared a post on X saying, “Currently, we are receiving slanderous comments against our artists, and we are seeing tweets that appear to be death threats.”

He added: “I would appreciate it if you would refrain from slandering the artists involved in Palworld.”

Mizobe also shed a light on the development process of the game in an interview with gaming site Automaton saying, “We make our games very seriously, and we have absolutely no intention of infringing upon the intellectual property of other companies.”

To anyone coming across the game, the confusion might be justified on first glance. Both Palworld and Pokemon involve capturing, battling with and growing monsters in an open world.

But that’s where the similarities end, defenders of the game have argued. Palworld allows players more freedom in their tasks and chores. The monster, or pals, in Palworld do share a passing resemblance to Pokemon, but there’s enough there to distinguish between the two, many have said.

The team at Pocket Pair have hit back at the allegations, saying their game is more about survival and crafting, and should be compared to games like Ark Survival Evolved rather than Pokemon.

Palworld is also targeting a different audience, some have said, steering more towards adult humour and satire as opposed to the safe and child-friendly world in Pokemon games.

Some players were not content with the comparisons alone though, as a modification has already been created to swap the characters and monsters in Palworld to look like Pokemon. This “mod”, as they are called, should only add to the confusion.

The modification's creator, a Youtuber who goes by the name Toasted Shoes, sent a post on X that read, "Nintendo has come for me, please leave me in your thoughts and prayers," signaling that the Japanese gaming giant is not content with his copyright infringing modification.

As things stand, Palworld only seems to be getting increasing in popularity with players. The game reached 1.5 million concurrent players on gaming platform Steam, making it the third most-played game on the platform.

Palworld is also playable on Microsoft’s Xbox Series X/S.

Updated: January 24, 2024, 4:12 AM