In a full circle moment, a Pokemon mod arrived in Palworld just a few days after its release.
Less than a month into 2024, Palworld is already a top contender for being the most successful game of the year. Pokemon has left a massive gap on its calendar and in its absence, Palworld has sold millions of units and smashed records on Steam.
Of course, the success isn’t without its fair share of scrutiny. Critics of Palworld often point out how derivative it is of other video games, nakedly combining the aesthetic of Pokemon, the gameplay mechanics of ARK: Survival Evolved, and the assets and animations of Fortnite. There have also been accusations of Palworld developers of using generative AI to conceptualize Pals. With all these accusations of plagiarism being thrown around, it was only natural that modders avoid the satire entirely.
Does Palworld have a Pokemon Mod?
Palworld has a Pokemon mod, created by YouTuber Toasted Shoes.
In a teaser on Twitter, Toasted Shoes revealed a mod that allows the player to role-play as Ash Ketchum with a custom skin. Additionally, the mod teased reskins of several Pals as actual Pokemon.
The sight of a Pikachu doing hard labor and a gun-slinging Brock hearkens to fake mobile game ads. Toasted Shoes’ mod will likely be distributed via his Patreon, but fans can likely sit and wait. There’s no question that other, similar mods will pop up over time and that will let players reskin the imitation Pokemon with the real thing.
Will Nintendo copyright strike Pokemon mods for Palworld?
It’s unknown if Nintendo will copyright strike Pokemon mods for Palworld, but the company has a history of acting against fanmade content.
Nintendo has taken an increasingly aggressive stance towards modding its games or showcasing mods on social media and has been actively shutting down discussion regarding Palworld. This puts content like Nintendo Switch mods and Pokemon ROM hacks at risk of being scrubbed off YouTube and Twitch. On top of that, Nintendo has cracked down hard on direct copies of its IPs.
While Palworld isn’t a Nintendo IP, the company is also aggressive in shutting down content it thinks is unbecoming of its franchises. It has taken a historically hostile stance towards esports tournaments for its games due to concerns regarding its brand. It’s easy to see how Pikachu performing slave labor and Electabuzz with a gatling gun could be seen as worse for the brand than people still playing Super Smash Bros Melee.