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Palworld devs want players to help test new content and find bugs

The Palworld Testing program is now open for sign-ups

A female player character holds up a giant crying sheep as a shield in Palworld
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Pocketpair

Palworld developers Pocketpair have announced a new Palworld Testing program that asks players of the wildly popular monster-catching survival game to help test future updates and provide feedback on the game, ahead of new content drops being released to the general public. Players can sign-up via a Google Form now if they wish, though Pocketpair stress that "the testing branch is not intended for free play or experiencing new content early, so we hope that only those of you genuinely interested in bug hunting and testing will apply." And presumably, those genuinely interested in also not being paid for their free QA support.

"Currently, we have some exciting new content lined up but we are looking for players who can help us test these things and provide feedback about it," Pocketpair wrote on their Discord today. "Please note that the testing environment is very important for us to find and eliminate bugs and issues before releasing content to the public, so we would appreciate it if you only signed up if you are committed to the testing."

The tests will be held on Steam rather the Xbox version of the game (tough luck, Game Passers), and the recommended PC specifications for taking part in the program are exactly the same as those currently listed on Palworld's Steam page.

The form itself also goes on to state that: "There are still many unfinished parts, so you will not be able to play the entire game during tests, but we appreciate your cooperation." You'll also be required to answer questionnaires about the tests in either English or Japanese, be a member of the official Palworld Discord community, and "have a working knowledge of Palworld and it's [sic] mechanics".

Developers asking players to help test their games isn't a wholly uncommon practice these days, especially among early access releases or games still in development. The team behind Gunpoint and Heat Signature recently announced (by their own admission) an "increasingly inaccurately named February beta" for Tactical Breach Wizards, for example, in which they're also asking players for feedback. But while feedback gathering is still the main goal of the beta, players do also get to access the game early - initially around 75% of the campaign, with the final act reserved for those who actually fill out the feedback forms - and the dev team itself also consists of mostly just one person - which is not the case with Pocketpair.

Indeed, Pocketpair's emphasis on players being specifically interested in bug hunting does leave a somewhat unpleasant taste in the mouth. It is not quite as exploitative, say, as the unpaid "volunteers" roped in to help make The Day Before, for example, but there's still a whiff of trying to wangle free QA support at the same time. If only those servers weren't already so expensive, eh?

Last month, Pocketpair reminded some of their more impatient players that it's okay to play something else for a while as development on the game continues. Palworld is still expected to stay in early access for at least a year, according to the game's Steam page, though in some respects, perhaps this more formal testing program will help speed things along a little bit. Just know that these players testers will all be doing it 'for the love of the game', rather than any tangible reward for their time and energy.

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