Pokemon fans have erupted in anger at the upcoming game Palworld, accusing it of lazily ripping off Pokemon’s iconic monster designs. The indie studio behind Palworld, PASPAL, has come under intense scrutiny as fans pick apart the revealed Pal monsters.
Accusations of Plagiarism
Ever since the first Palworld trailer debuted last week showcasing the game’s central mechanic of enslaving cute monster “Pals” to labor in factories, fans have noticed striking similarities between many Pals and existing Pokemon.
Comparisons quickly flooded social media, with some of the called out designs including:
- A yellow mouse Pal nearly identical to Pokemon’s iconic Pikachu
- A turtle-like water Pal that closely resembles Squirtle
- Multiple bird Pals that look almost exactly like Pidgey, Starly, and other bird Pokemon
- A purple rat Pal that shares Rattata’s buck teeth and body shape
“It’s beyond laziness at this point. They didn’t even try to hide the fact they copy-pasted Pokemon designs,” one fan tweeted, gaining over 5,000 likes. “Absolutely shameless plagiarism.”
Backlash Towards PASPAL
The outrage escalated as more Pal monster reveals dropped, showcasing even more suspiciously similar designs. PASPAL and Palworld director Kazuto Yamashiro soon began trending on social media from the sheer volume of angry tweets and comments.
Many fans argued that while Pokemon itself draws inspiration from animals and myths, Palworld went too far by making only surface-level changes to established Pokemon.
“Pokemon designs are creative and expressive with very intentional motifs tied to that Pokemon’s concept,” a viral Reddit post with over 15,000 upvotes read. “But these Palworld monsters are just legally distinct copies with zero heart behind them.”
The harshest criticism labeled the Pals as “soulless” and “empty derivatives” that smeared the artistic integrity of Pokemon monsters they ripped off. A handful of tweets even called for a boycott of Palworld over what they deemed unethical business practices.
“Stealing art assets cuts deeply for indie developers actually trying to be original,” indie developer Scott Walters tweeted. “I don’t blame Pokemon fans for being upset when a big studio lazily does this.”
|Original Pokemon Inspiration
|Squirtle / Wartortle
*Table comparing some accused Palworld monster “inspirations”
However, not all responses were negative. Some fans argued back that Palworld was clearly meant to satirize Pokemon rather than seriously compete with it.
“Come on people, you really think they aren’t in on the joke here with these similar designs?” a Reddit user asked. “It’s obviously parody just from the silly names. Lighten up a little.”
A handful of tweets also pointed out the absurdity of judging an unreleased game so harshly when fans barely knew anything about it. Others simply found amusement in the over-the-top monster designs, seeing them as more humorous than malicious.
But these takes remained a minority. As Palworld trended for days, its director eventually issued a brief statement addressing the turmoil.
“We appreciate Pokemon fans’ passion, but believe it is misdirected here,” Yamashiro said. “Any inspired designs pay respect to Pokemon as the pioneer of collecting monsters, while giving them our own spin fitting Palworld’s unique vision.”
He reiterated that Palworld hoped to provide a distinct, satirical take on managing monsters that longtime gamers would enjoy.
But given the vague wording failing to directly respond to copying allegations, many fans deemed the response lackluster. Some called it a non-apology trying to thinly veil traced assets.
“Inspired? Try 100% copied,” the top reply read. “At least pretend to take some accountability.”
So despite the developer statement trying to quell flames, public sentiment remained largely against Palworld in the aftermath.
It remains to be seen whether the outrage will have any tangible impact on Palworld.
Some fans continue demanding firmer action in the form of lawsuits or review bombing once the game launches. But the majority seem to be settling for venting frustration that Palworld appears to be getting away with what many perceive as art theft.
At the very least, PASPAL will likely take the intense criticism over originality to heart in future reveals. But with Palworld still slated for 2023 and promotional material ramping up, this likely marks only the beginning of public skepticism rather than the end.
“I guarantee the reaction stays negative if they keep showcasing more of these lazy clone monsters,” a widely shared opinion piece stated. “Reusing some gameplay ideas from Pokemon is one thing. But at some point, copied designs cross an ethical line that shouldn’t be ignored.”
So while Palworld strives to carve out its own brand of monster satire, it now bears the formidable reputation of a soulless Pokemon imitator among its core audience. Time will tell if that stigma fades or ultimately defines Palworld’s legacy among frustrated fans.
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