Palworld is doing incredibly well. So much so that 7 million people have purchased the game since its launch just a few days ago. However, the early access game has come under fire at the same time for its art style which closely resembles the Pokemon series. Fans have pointed out some blatant copy-and-paste design aesthetics across the two games.
Certain monsters (called Pals) in Palworld are seemingly directly inspired by some Pokemon creatures. In some cases, Pals look like cheap, “Wish” versions of Pokemon counterparts. While these creatures don’t look identical, some are questionable. Grizzbolt, for example, is clearly designed after Pokemon’s Electivire and Anubis looks like a Lucario clone.
Given the game’s popularity, The Pokemon Company has now released a statement regarding the matter. In a press release, the company says it did not grant any permission for the use of Pokemon intellectual property or assets in the game.
The Pokemon Company follows up by saying it intends to investigate these similarities and will take appropriate measures to address any acts that infringe on intellectual property rights related to the Pokemon.
“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 Pokemon Company is clearly suspicious of Palworld and its monster design. However, whether or not this will lead to any legal ramifications isn’t clear yet. The Pokemon Company would have to launch an entire investigation against Palworld and take Pocketpair to court in order to resolve the matter.
Keep in mind that there are fine lines involved in this sort of copyright case. The Pokemon Company would have to prove Pocketpair intentionally copied Pokemon designs. There’s also the Parody Law which protects media that imitates other franchises in an “exaggerated, comedic fashion”. So Pocketpair could always prove they intended to copy Pokemon but in parody.
It will be interesting to see where this whole situation goes in the coming weeks.
Source: The Pokemon Company