Pokemon to 'investigate' Palworld over copycat claims

By AFP   January 25, 2024 | 05:46 pm PT
The Pokemon Company warned on Thursday it plans to investigate reports that the new hit video game "Palworld" violates the intellectual copyright of its iconic franchise.

Widely described as "Pokemon with Guns" when it was released last week, the makers of "Palworld" said it sold more than eight million copies in less than six days.

Released on the online Steam platform, "Palworld" blends weapon-wielding player avatars with monsters that look eerily similar to those in the wildly popular "Pokemon" franchise, part-owned by by Nintendo.

"We have received many inquiries regarding another company's game released in January 2024," the Pokemon Company said in a statement.

"We have not granted any permission for the use of Pokemon intellectual property or assets in that game," it added, without referring to "Palworld" by name.

The company said it intends to "investigate and take appropriate measures to address any acts that infringe on intellectual property rights related to the Pokemon."

As of now "Palworld" is in early-access mode and still being developed, with the help of feedback from players, its creators, Japan-based PocketPair, said in describing its new game.

The game is home to more than 100 different characters -- called "Pals" -- that players can capture and turn into allies for adventures in the game, according to its creators.

As the game went viral, some on social media accused PocketPair of copying from Pokemon, posting images of very similar-looking characters and features from the game and the franchise.

PocketPair's CEO Takuro Mizobe said the company was "receiving slanderous comments against our artists, and we are seeing tweets that appear to be death threats."

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