Is viral survival game sensation Palworld a fair parody of Pokémon or an act of plagiarism, potentially incorporating AI-generated fakémon? This is the argument that’s consumed social media since Palworld’s release, and while it seems like everyone has weighed in on the topic, The Pokémon Company itself maintained a dignified silence. Until now.
In a statement you can read on its official corporate website in both Japanese and English, The Pokémon Company has addressed “Other Companies’ Games” in a way that is clearly referring to Palworld. Here’s the statement in full.
“We have received many inquiries regarding another company’s game released in January 2024. We have not granted any permission for the use of Pokémon intellectual property or assets in that game. We intend to investigate and take appropriate measures to address any acts that infringe on intellectual property rights related to the Pokémon. We will continue to cherish and nurture each and every Pokémon and its world, and work to bring the world together through Pokémon in the future.”
The stance basically reads as, “We’re going to take a long hard look at all the stuff you’ve been doing under this rock and if we don’t like it we’re going to crush you,” which sure is a weird one to follow with, “We will continue to cherish and nurture each and every Pokémon and its world”. What is essentially a legal threat flipping to a paternal promise is as jarring a juxtaposition as, say, giving guns to Pokémon.
We’ll have to wait and see whether this amounts to anything, but it’s worth noting that the former head of The Pokémon Company’s legal team already said he’s “surprised it got this far,” and that Palworld “looks like the usual ripoff nonsense that I would see a thousand times a year when I was chief legal officer of Pokémon.”