Palworld, the so-called "Pokémon with guns" game that was suspected of being a scam by some and was heavily criticized for doing slight design tweaks on existing Pokémon for its own monsters, appears safe from the legal claws of Nintendo for now.
In Palworld, players amass a team of monsters not for battling, but for survival. Captured monsters can be delegated to do menial tasks, such as work in mines. They can also shoot each other with guns.
Gaming news outlet Automation scored an interview with developers Pocket Pair in which they stated they had passed all the legal hurdles necessary to put out their game, essentially saying they believe their designs, while similar to existing Pokémon, are different enough to be legally sound.
"We make our games very seriously, and we have absolutely no intention of infringing upon the intellectual property of other companies," said CEO Takuro Mizobe. Mizobe also noted that the game does not play similarly to recent Pokémon titles and is more in line with games like ARK: Evolved.
Pocket Pair seems convinced that Palworld is safe from legal action from Nintendo, and those following the curious game feel the same, albeit for a different reason.
Earlier this week, modder ToastedShoes released a trailer for a Palworld mod that replaced the characters with literal Pokémon. It showed Pikachu in a mine while Ash Ketchum looked on approvingly, among other things. Within hours, the mod received a DMCA claim from Nintendo.
The takedown was not surprising for those who know of Nintendo's intense protectiveness of their IPs – in fact, the takedown isn't even the first time Nintendo has gone after a fan-made "Pokémon with guns" project – but what it proves in the eyes of some is that Nintendo is aware of and okay with the existence of Palworld.
The thinking is that if Nintendo takes down a Pokémon-centric mod for the game, then the game itself is safe.
This is likely music to the ears of the game's growing number of fans, who are thrilled that the game A) exists, B) is not a scam and C) actually pretty good, all things that did not seem guaranteed when the game was announced years ago.