Pika Pika! I mean, uh, Pal Pal?

Palworld, the massively popular open-world “Pokémon with guns” game, is accused of alleged plagiarism following an increase of online comparisons. Many online are pointing out the similarities in 3D models to the Pokémon franchise, despite Palworld's drastically different gameplay. Palworld’s director responded to the accusations in a brief tweet asking that people do not slander Palworld’s artists.

Currently, Palworld is the top selling and most played game on Steam, outpacing games like Baldur’s Gate 3 and Counter-Strike 2. The breakout hit sold more than two million copies in just the first 24 hours of its release.

Palworld 3D model comparison and plagiarism

Palworld faces accusations of plagiarism (Image via Xbox on YouTube)
Palworld faces accusations of plagiarism (Image via Xbox on YouTube)

Social media users were quick to point out the, ahem, similarities in character design between the games. Comparisons between the 3D models pulled from Pokémon Scarlet/Violet and Palworld seem to perfectly match up. According to game designers, this is impossible without some amount of asset plagiarism. 

"I would stand in court to testify as an expert on this."

An anonymous AAA game artist speaking to videogameschronicle.com

In an interview with videogameschronicle.com, anonymous AAA game artists stated that this likely confirms that Palworld used Pokémon assets in their game. 

In the VGC interview, the artist stated, “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.” They added that they “would stand in court to testify as an expert on this.”

Another artist agreed, saying “The wireframe meshes look different, so they’re not the same models, but it’s so close that they may have built over the top of the Pokémon models and made a few changes so they weren’t exactly the same.”

Palworld's director releases a statement

Palworld’s director released a statement not quite addressing the claims of plagiarism or directly mentioning Pokémon. Instead, he asks that people stop harassing Palworld’s game artists.

In his tweet, as translated from Japanese by Google Translate, he stated “Currently, we are receiving slanderous comments against our artists, and we are seeing tweets that appear to be death threats.”

“I have received a variety of opinions regarding Palworld, but all productions related to Palworld are supervised by multiple people, including myself, and I am responsible for the production."

"I would appreciate it if you would refrain from slandering the artists involved in Palworld.”

This statement was tweeted before the article by VGC was posted, but after many of the video comparisons on Twitter were posted.

Copied or heavily influenced?

The question now is did Palworld directly copy from the Pokémon franchise? Or does it take heavy influence from the massively popular series? Though comparisons between the 3D models of Palworld and Pokémon seem to prove more than just influence, we will see if any legal action occurs. The influence on the game by Pokémon is obvious to most fans.

However, according to lawyer David Hansel speaking to VGC, “It’s down to Nintendo to absolutely prove copying, not merely taking influence.”

Various Palworld characters doing their chores (Image via Xbox on YouTube)
Various Palworld characters doing their chores (Image via Xbox on YouTube)

It certainly doesn't help that fans have already created mods replacing the Pals with Pokémon. What's next, Team Missile too?

Palworld, plagiarism, and you

If there is any substantial evidence against Palworld in regards to plagiarism, then The Pokémon Company will surely take action in the near future. However, so far, the company has been silent.

For more update on Palworld and other esports news, check back on esports.gg!