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Palworld controversy rises to death threats, here’s people are mad

palworld villain

Developers of Palworld, a newly released survival game with monster capture mechanics, say they are getting death threats as the controversy surrounding the breakout title grows. 

Palworld enjoyed an explosive launch with over 5 million units sold in three days and also hit 1.5 million concurrent players on Steam. The survival game has crafting, co-op, and exploration mechanics that are fun and engaging for fans of almost every genre and the gameplay loop has kept players hooked since launch. Combine that with its availability on Xbox Game Pass and it’s become a go-to source of fun for PC and console players alike. 

Palworld is not free from controversy, though. The game openly copies Pokemon and a number of other major gaming franchises, something that fans have lashed out at. Accusations of AI-generated character designs have only stoked the controversy and Palworld’s staff say it has escalated to death threats.

Are Palworld Devs receiving death threats?

Palworld’s community manager stated on X that people in the company have received death threats.

The community manager, using the handle Bucky, has been active on both X and the game’s Discord server, representing the developers of Pocketpair. They stated in a post on X that they are working through messages and emails but they’ll be skipping over “death threats” and “threats to the company.” Bucky also addressed “outlandish claims,” possibly referencing the allegations of plagiarism and the use of generative AI in development. 

Studio CEO Takuro Mizobo also condemned the threats on X.

“Currently, we are receiving slanderous comments against our artists and we are seeing tweets that appear to be death threats,” Mizobo stated on X.

What is the controversy surrounding Palworld?

Palworld has garnered significant criticism for claims of plagiarism and repeated praise of generative AI by the CEO of its development studio. The community manager hasn’t disclosed what, specifically, people were displeased about.

pokemon vs palworld ripoff
Pokemon (left) vs. Palworld (right)

Online speculation revolves around the game copying designs from Pokemon and characters from other games in fairly overt ways. Many have drawn clear parallels between Pals from Palworld and monsters from various other franchises. There is no official word from The Pokemon Company regarding Palworld, but there’s been a marked uptick in marketing of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet since its launch.

Alongside this, generative AI has been one of the most contentious topics on social media over the last year. Generative AI discreetly copies and emulates the work of writers, artists, actors, and musicians without credit or reward. This has been at the center of major labor issues across the entire entertainment industry.

Despite the backlash and the often-toxic discourse, Palworld has enjoyed staggering commercial success.

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Written by Bilawal Bashir

Bilawal is a software engineer who loves video games, comic books, and anime. But he will never love pineapple on pizza.

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