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Palworld devs heard “nothing at all” from Pokémon creators despite everyone calling it 'Pokémon with guns'

The Pokémon Company said they would “investigate and take appropriate measures to address any acts that infringe on intellectual property rights”

A player holds a gun next to their party of pals in the teaser for Palworld's upcoming PvP arena mode
Image credit: Pocketpair

The studio behind Palworld never received any formal complaint or threat of legal action from Nintendo or The Pokémon Company despite widespread debate over the open-world ‘Pokémon with guns’ survival game earlier this year.

That’s the claim from Pocketpair CEO Takuro Mizobe in a recent interview with GameFile (thanks, Eurogamer), where the dev was asked about a pointed statement made by The Pokémon Company in the wake of Palworld’s release saying they would “investigate and take appropriate measures to address any acts that infringe on intellectual property rights related to the Pokémon”.

The rare - if indirect - public acknowledgement came amidst endless debate over how closely Palworld toed the line between “inspiration” and straight-up copyright infringement on Pokémon creature designs, inspiring fervent comparisons of character models, concept art and more across the internet following its launch into early access back in January.

Still, despite the strong words, Mizobe said that Pocketpair heard “nothing at all” from the Pokémon makers.

“Nintendo and the Pokémon Company didn't say anything to us,” he confirmed.

New Palworld raid boss Bellanoir, a Goth girl monster shown flying against a backdrop of meteors
Image credit: Pocketpair/Rock Paper Shotgun

Mizobe himself worked briefly at Nintendo as part of a training programme in 2020, tasked with creating a unique game design for the dual-screen DS handheld. His apparent takeaway from the experience was that “mak[ing] new things is very hard”, inspiring the developer to instead draw from existing ideas and combine them together - something that can be seen fairly explicitly in Palworld.

“In game development, of course, sometimes we have to do it, but, as much as possible, I try to avoid creating new things,” Mizobe added.

With no legal storm in sight, Palworld’s popularity continues apace, apparently going as far as to inspire its own Palworld-likes. The blend of survival game, monster-catching adventure and ruthlessly efficient capitalism simulator in which you task caught creatures with manufacturing guns will add a new island in its incoming Sakurajima update this week, along with new pals - including a whole new subspecies - a new raid and an extra boss to challenge. A Pokémon Stadium-like PvP arena mode is also set to arrive this year, too.

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