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News video games 23 January 2024, 02:49

author: Jacob Blazewicz

Palworld Another ''Rip-off'' of Nintendo, Claims Former Member of Pokemon Company

Palworld is stirring up a lot of excitement, but also controversy. For the former head of the Pokemon legal team, Pocketpair's work is the thousandth „poor rip-off” of the Nintendo series. Meanwhile, the game's creator considers it a ”completely different project.”.

Source: Pocketpair.

The first big hit of 2024 seems to be shattering popularity records constantly, beating many of Steam's biggest hits. However, the game's success remains overshadowed by discussions of potential plagiarism. Palworld attracted the attention of the former chief lawyer of the Pokemon creators.

Don McGowan worked for The Pokemon Company for 12 years, and from 2015-2020 he was the head of the company's legal team. Microsoft also used his services before.

So how does this experienced lawyer view the issue of "inspiration" for Pocketpair creators? In an interview for GameFile (via GamesRadar) , McGowan stated bluntly that Palworld is another "rip-off"(original wording) of Pokemon, which he has seen "a thousand times a year." He is only surprised that "it got this far."

At the same time, the American seems to suggest that during his work for TPC, the Pocketpair team would have already been sued. Indeed, the situation in the game market has changed significantly, but McGowan's words may suggest that a lawsuit from Nintendo or one of the partners of the Japanese company is likely.

It should be emphasized that Palworld still has its defenders, even though many people believe that the game is much closer to plagiarism than other Pokemon imitators or rivals. Similarities resulting from common inspirations are one thing, but designs that are almost identical in places, or contain elements copied directly from Pokemon models (via former Twitter, X) are another thing.

Palworld Another „Poor Imitation” of Nintendo, Claims Former Member of Pokemon Company - picture #1

The similarity's definitely there. Luxray (top right corner) ultimately did not make it into the game.Source: @dangerswlf, X

Despite this, Takuro Mizobe -- president of Pocketpair -- believes that "Palworld is completely different from Pokemon" and the team was rather inspired by games like Terraria, Sons of the Forest, Conan Exiles and ARK: Survival Evolved. At least that's what he assured in an interview for the Japanese website Automaton (via PCGamesN), which is justified -- as long as we ignore the creatures themselves and pay attention only to the gameplay.

Jacob Blazewicz

Jacob Blazewicz

Graduated with a master's degree in Polish Studies from the University of Warsaw with a thesis dedicated to this very subject. Started his adventure with in 2015, writing in the Newsroom and later also in the film and technology sections (also contributed to the Encyclopedia). Interested in video games (and not only video games) for years. He began with platform games and, to this day, remains a big fan of them (including Metroidvania). Also shows interest in card games (including paper), fighting games, soulslikes, and basically everything about games as such. Marvels at pixelated characters from games dating back to the time of the Game Boy (if not older).