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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

‘Palworld’ stirs controversy, makes gaming history

Mississippi+State+University+student+Allison+Carter+tests+out+Pocket+Pairs+Palworld+on+XBox+Series+S.
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Mississippi State University student Allison Carter tests out Pocket Pair’s Palworld on XBox Series S.

Every now and then, a video game hits the market and blows up in popularity, seemingly out of nowhere. Pocket Pair’s Palworld is the newest case of a small company creating a game that takes the world by storm after its Jan. 19 release.

A number of players make the comparative statement that Palworld is “Pokémon with guns.” With a connection like this, Palworld set itself up as a game like no other. Pokémon has had a de facto monopoly on games with made-up monsters for quite a while now, and due to this, any game that challenges said monopoly inevitably gains traction.

None, however, have hit the peak that Palworld has. Palworld is one of only two games ever to hit 2 million concurrent players on gaming platform Steam, with Game Rant reporting that 8 million copies have already been sold since its release.

It is possible that Palworld may face legal turmoil. On Jan. 25, The Pokémon Company International released a statement, declaring that they “intend to investigate and take appropriate measures to address any acts that infringe on intellectual property rights related to the Pokémon company.”

In the past, a game having similarities to another did not necessarily mean that it would be in legal trouble. When the game Castlevania: Symphony of the Night came out with many similarities to Metroid, a lawsuit was not created — a genre was.

When it comes to Pokémon, it has taken much longer for anyone to successfully create a similar game.

Pokémon is different from other games, as Pokémon themselves are legally the intellectual property of Game Freak and The Pokémon Company International. The legal case, therefore, rests on whether some Pals in Palworld are too similar to certain Pokémon.

Jack Forder, a Mississippi State University alumnus, has played the game since its release in January. He stated his thoughts on the game’s likeness to Pokémon.

“Palworld does not play like the mainline Pokémon games but does play fairly close to Pokémon Legends: Arceus, which was their first true open-world exploration game,” Forder said.

While Pokémon Legends: Arceus is considered what the Pokémon community calls a “main series” game, it is the only one to greatly differ from the others in the series.

Forder has mixed reviews about his experience with Palworld.

“Palworld has had its fair share of bugs. I have experienced sudden crashes on many occasions, but I also have not recently had a crash since their patch earlier this week, but it is also more forgivable for a small studio than the state that Pokémon Scarlet and Violet released at,” Forder said.

Forder is not the only one to have this thought either. The development of Palworld is extremely impressive, and rather irregular. According to Polygon, the creation of the game was nothing short of a miracle, with developer Pocket Pair pulling out all the stops.

After an explosive development cycle, Pocket Pair’s chickens have come home to roost. Players are loving the survival elements and unique gameplay loop of Palworld, and, as the game is in early access, this is only the beginning.

Palworld is a game that has taken the world by storm in an almost unprecedented way. With the simple phrase “Pokémon with guns” leading to a historic firestorm that is ever evolving.

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