The Pokemon Company has released a statement on its corporate website indicating it is currently investigating Palworld and any potential breaches of Pokemon intellectual property.
“We have received many inquiries regarding another company’s game released in January 2024,” the company said. “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 statement arrives in response to recent allegations that Palworld designers have taken direct inspiration from Pokemon creatures, with some players recently pointing out entire limbs or design features that appear to be copied from particular Pokemon.
As Barbie-Élite4 recently pointed out on Twitter / X, in Palworld you can spot a creature called a Dumud which has a head fin that closely resembles that of Pokemon‘s Sobble. Grintale, a cat-like creature, has the face of Galarian Meowth. There’s also Jolthog, which resembles Shaymin, and a Pal named Wixen that appears very similar to Braixen.
Palworld is a game that is clearly inspired by Pokemon and its monster-catching systems, but there has been much debate about its originality, and its differentiation from Pokemon itself. Visually, there are clear similarities between Pals and Pokemon – and given The Pokemon Company is now officially investigating the game, we may soon get a more formal determination of this similarity.
For now, it’s unclear whether The Pokemon Company will initiate legal proceedings against Palworld developer Pocketpair, but the chances of that eventuating will almost certainly increase should the current investigation determine infringement of intellectual property rights. There’s likely more to come on this matter, so stay tuned.