Nintendo has cracked down on a Pokemon mod for Palworld with DMCA strikes hours before was meant to be released, leaving the fate of the creation uncertain.
Even the most casual of gamers noticed the similarities between Palworld and Pokemon. Pocketpair, the studio behind Palworld, openly cites all the different games it took inspiration from, including ARK: Survival Evolved and Pokemon. Though this has garnered accusations of plagiarism and use of generative AI, some took a more lighthearted approach to the similarities.
This included a content creator and modder making a Palworld Pokemon mod, replacing the game’s “Pals” with the Pokemon that they were based on. While this was seen as a good bit of fun by most, Nintendo or The Pokemon Company didn’t see the humor.
What happened to the Pokemon mod for Palworld?
Nintendo issued a DMCA takedown against the unreleased Pokemon mod for Palworld.
Nintendo can’t catch every Pokemon mod out there, but they quickly cut down the ones that reach their notice. The popularity of Palworld combined with the obvious appeal of a Pokemon reskin meant Nintendo acted immediately. The fact that ToastedShoes, the creator of the Pokemon mod, planned on earning money from it didn’t help matters.
The mod was set to be released through his Patreon account, rather than through a hub like Nexus Mods. He later stated that he intended to release it for free, but that he is now rethinking those plans out of fear of Nintendo.
Nintendo continues to wield DMCA takedowns with impunity in 2024
Nintendo has been aggressive in protecting its IPs via litigation and DMCA takedowns, continuing a trend that has seen it become an adversary with some of its own fans. While taking legal action against cheating and piracy isn’t unusual for game publishers, Nintendo has been going a few steps further in recent years by taking legal action against people who create content showing modded software on social media.
In 2023, Nintendo took down gameplay videos of a Breath of the Wild multiplayer mod. The mod and its creation was also highlighted by YouTuber PointCrow. Nintendo also sent DMCA strikes to several of PointCrow’s videos as a result.
Though fans have chalked up this move as being borne out of fear from Nintendo, it’s relatively standard fare from the company. However, recent news makes it very clear that Nintendo is aware of Palworld. Days before the DMCA takedown of the infamous mod, Pokemon’s official Twitch channels effectively banned the word “Palworld” in its chat. Though Nintendo is likely unconcerned with the game’s success thus far, it would likely welcome its release.