A Naughty Dog artist recently suffered backlash from Palworld fans, forcing them to backtrack comments on the game’s alleged plagiarism.
The artist in question, Del Walker, mentioned on Twitter that their “developer’s intuition” told them that Pocketpair “nefariously made” Palworld. They then added that making a game as big as Palworld was difficult and that Pocketpair “somehow cheated” during the game’s development, though they can’t pinpoint how.
The answer Walker was looking for came in the form of a Video Games Chronicle article referencing posts from Twitter user @byofrog, who showed how Pocketpair allegedly plagiarized Nintendo’s Pokemon to create Palworld’s Pals. According to these posts, many Palworld Pals are similarly designed or a “direct rip” to certain Pokemon.
For instance, byofrog pointed out that Palworld’s Dinossom has a flower that looks quite similar to Pokemon’s Lilligant. Additionally, the arms and tails of Palworld’s Relaxasaurus’ are “strikingly similar” to Pokemon’s Goodra and Quagsire. “The tail curve mesh nodes seem really close to me,” byofrog said in a tweet.
Due to byofrog’s posts and VGC’s article, Walker later posted that they deleted his previous posts due to them not showing any evidence. They also said that many of Palworld’s Pals have the same 3D silhouette model as various Pokemon – a “damning” trait for an already released game.
However, some people managed to capture Walker’s previous posts before their deletion and posted them on the r/Palworld subreddit. There, he was called out for being “salty” that Pocketpair managed to create a game that achieved so much success. Fans may recall that the game sold over one million copies in eight hours (per Insider Gaming) and has become the second most-played game ever on Steam as of press time (per Windows Central).
Many fans in the subreddit found Walker’s comments similar to those Xalavier Nelson Jr. and other video game developers made regarding Baldur’s Gate 3 being an “anomaly” in the gaming industry. Gamers may remember that these developers said that Baldur’s Gate 3 could set new expectations from fans and that they shouldn’t put the game as “the new standard” to compare their games with.
The backlash wasn’t limited to the subreddit either. Many fans commented on Walker’s posts regarding Palworld’s plagiarism. One comment mentioned that most Pals look different from any existing Pokemon, while another said that Palworld’s Pals came before the high-resolution Pokemon models from the Switch became available.
Some defended Walker’s comments, with some saying that slightly modifying models of another game and highly profit from them could set a bad precedent. Interestingly enough, Walker would remove his affiliation to Naughty Dog from his Twitter profile for an unknown reason following the backlash they received.
Nevertheless, Pokemon developer Nintendo has yet to make a legal move against Pocketpair for the alleged plagiarism. Additionally, Pocketpair CEO Takuro Mizobe claimed in a statement to Automation, a Japan-based gaming news company, that Palworld had cleared legal reviews. Only time will tell if this clearance means Palworld is clear of plagiarism.