The Pokémon Company has issued an official statement, something it rarely does, to address Palworld which continues to dominate the news thanks to its incredible rise to fame over the past week. Its success however, has been somewhat tarnished by allegations that it didn’t just draw inspiration from Pokémon but actually stole entire models.
“We have received many inquiries regarding another company’s game released in January 2024. We have not granted any permission for the use of Pokémon intellectual property or assets in that game. We intend to investigate and take appropriate measures to address any acts that infringe on intellectual property rights related to the Pokémon. We will continue to cherish and nurture each and every Pokémon and its world, and work to bring the world together through Pokémon in the future.
The Pokémon Company”
That’s the entirety of the statement. It’s short and to the point. Surprisingly though, it confirms that The Pokémon Company, which Nintendo has a stake in, is only beginning its investigation now. Presumably that’s because while the game has been in development for three years, this is the first time anybody has had unfettered access to the in-game models which are the source of the controversy,
Said controversy has stemmed from people posting videos and images claiming to show that Palworld ripped models straight from Pokémon games and used them to create their own creatures which bare a striking resemblance to existing Pokémon.
There’s no denying that Palworld draws heavily from Pokémon in terms of visuals and creature designs, but the game itself is vastly different. It’s more of a survival experience. Of course, there’s a big difference between being influenced and even skirting a bit to close to copy designs, and actually uses models taken from Game Freak’s Pokémon titles.
It’s not quite as simple as that, though. Some people have pointed out that similar features between Pokémon and Palworld creatures could simply come down to them being based on the same kind of animal. Meanwhile, other people have argued that you can’t simply take a model from one game, import it and then modify for your game because the animation rigging wouldn’t work. These kinds of point are much harder to judge because I don’t have the required level of technical expertise to put together an opinion.
Other industry experts disagree though. “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,” one senior character said to VGC anonymously.
However this plays out, I’m sure Palworld developer Pocketpair is not thrilled at the news that the game is being investigated. Only time will tell if The Pokémon Company finds enough evidence to warrant taking Pocketpair to court.