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Palworld Pokémon mod with definite copyright infringement is coming

Nintendo’s lawyers are sharpening their knives
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Buckle up, because a Palworld Pokémon mod is coming. Yes, it’s a real thing.

If you haven’t been living under a rock over the course of the last three days, you’ll know about Palworld, Pocketpair’s fusion of survival crafting game and creature collector. Perhaps you’ve also felt some familiarity with some of the critters available in the game due to their aesthetics. We’re talking about how some of them look very much like barely legally distinct Pokémon.

There have been lots of discussions about this topic over the last couple of days – both the legal as well as ethical sides of this issue.

Well, this whole thing is about to become even more complicated, because a YouTuber with the name ToastedShoes has teased an upcoming video… of him playing a Palworld mod that’s adding complete 3D character and creature models from Pokémon into the game. You can find the short teaser, which probably has enough footage to cause several raised eyebrows over at Nintendo, below:

Palworld does not have official mod support yet, but that has never stopped dedicated modders from doing what they do best. Obviously, this mod – which you can’t play with yet, as it doesn’t have a release date at the moment – comes at a spicy time: Palworld is speedrunning several sales milestones and has entered the podium when it comes to concurrent player records on Steam, all while this debate about copyright infringement is raging on in the background.

If Palworld is not infringing on Nintendo’s copyrights, this mod definitely is – and if Pocketpair knows what’s good for itself, it’ll do its damndest to keep things like this Pokémon mod away.

It reminds me of the initial debate around modding in Total War: Warhammer. Mods had always been a core part of the Total War games, which includes huge overhaul projects – like the Lord of the Rings or Warhammer mods for Medieval 2. When a game with the official Warhammer license came out, developer Creative Assembly put certain rules in place for modders in a bid to avoid any sort of legal complications with Games Workshop or anyone else – that includes the rule that mods cannot include any content from non-Games Workshop IPs. There was a lot of outcry about it, but at the end of the day limited mods are better than no mods.

Pocketpair would be well advised to follow a similar policy in order to keep Nintendo off its back.

Don’t get me wrong, having official Pokémon and Digimon and whatever you can think of in the game would be good fun, but it’s a thorny issue best avoided entirely.