However, as outlets like PC Gamer explain, Palworld has ways of encouraging you to push your Pals to the point of exhaustion to maximize your output. Such mechanics are not only seen as cruel by some but indicative of the game’s sometimes “edgier” humor and themes which not everyone is on board with.
Naturally, there are others who love that aspect of the game, those who are entirely indifferent to it, and those who see such mechanics as a parody of the darker elements of titles like Pokémon that often ask players to mistreat their creatures but rarely draw direct attention to that aspect of the experience. Though you may be quick to file this controversy away as internet bickering, it could actually play a role in that hypothetical lawsuit that some Palworld critics keep calling for.
Can Nintendo Sue The Developers of Palworld?
As of the time of this writing, there have been no indications that Nintendo intends to sue Pocketpair over Palworld’s Pokémon similarities. Furthermore, all currently available evidence (or the lack thereof) suggests they may have a difficult time putting together a convincing lawsuit against the studio.
While a former Pokémon Company lawyer recently stirred the hive by calling Palworld “ripoff nonsense,” the actual legal case against the game is much more complicated than that. For instance, Richard Hoeg of Hoeg Law Firm recently suggested that Nintendo could theoretically sue Pocketpair but they’d have a hard time winning that case given that they’d essentially have to prove that Pocketpair stole their exact designs. For as compelling as some of those comparisons between the game’s designs are, legal experts that have gone on record about this matter so far are divided, at best, about whether that is substantial enough evidence for Nintendo to justify proceeding with a lawsuit.
Tim Cotton (senior legal counsel for Reed Exhibitions) echoed that logic in an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun in which he stated that the designs of the creatures in both games appear to be “sufficiently different” from a legal perspective (even if the nature of those differences suggests Pocketpair may have been deliberately careful about modifying their designs for that exact reason). The Palworld team may also be protected by the extensive parody laws that apply to many aspects of entertainment, though global variations in those laws could impact their ability to rely on such protections.
However, it’s important to note that this situation is both ongoing and inherently complicated. Nintendo is famously litigious when it comes to protecting their properties, and they may yet be able to dig deep enough into Palworld’s design to find the clear evidence of theft that they would need to potentially win a case against Pocketpair. For that matter, Nintendo could use a lawsuit (or the viable threat of a lawsuit) to make things very difficult and expensive for Pocketpair if they feel like they have enough grounds to drag such a thing out for a prolonged period.