Nexus Mods – one of the biggest modding sites on the internet – has confirmed it won’t be hosting Pokémon-themed Palworld mods, saying doing so would “almost certainly… put us at risk of legal action” given Nintendo’s history of litigiousness.
Palworld’s big hook, of course, is the Pokémon-like Pals that roam its open world, all of which can be caught (in a very Pokémon-like manner) to assist in exploration and survival. The sometimes startling similarity between Pals and Pokémon’s creature designs has been a major talking point since its early access launch, and it was inevitable modders would begin swapping out Palworld’s derivative creatures for the real thing.
It took mere days for the first Palworld Pokémon mod to arrive, and quick as you like, Nintendo’s lawyers were on it. “Nintendo has come for me,” YouTuber ToastedShoes wrote just a day after showcasing his Pokémon Palworld mod on social media, where all footage was suddenly removed “in response to a report by the copyright owner.”
Eurogamer’s video team shows shares some tips to get ahead in Palworld.
And it’s in this climate that Nexus Mods is now saying no to hosting Pokémon-themed Palworld mods. In a statement provided to PCGamesN – which spotted an Ash Ketchum mod for Palworld had seemingly been removed from the site – Nexus Mods community lead Mathew Elliott admitted, “We do think that adding Pokémon content to Palworld is a very cool idea and we understand why people would want such a thing. However, we’re not comfortable hosting this content”.
“As you may know,” the statement continued by way of explanation, “Nintendo (who jointly own the Pokémon franchise) has a consistent record of mercilessly submitting legal challenges, DMCAs, and takedowns against fan-made content. Given Palworld’s similarity to the Pokémon franchise as a base game, hosting content that adds copyrighted characters or assets into the game is almost certainly going to put us at risk of legal action.”
“We don’t think it’s worth the risk to allow this content to be shared in our community. At best, we would have to deal with the headache of DMCA/legal threats from Nintendo, and at worst they may seek to take action against us and uploaders of the mods directly.”
While Pokémon and Palworld are a no-go for Nexus Mods, the company noted there are “many creative opportunities to explore mods for this game that add to the world and gameplay, but do not infringe on existing IP so obviously” and that it’s “really excited to see what the Palworld modding community comes up with.”
As for Palworld itself, the game’s barnstorming launch has now seen it reach a high of over 2m concurrent players on Steam – that’s the second highest number of concurrent players in the platform’s 21-year history, although Palworld still has some way to go before it beats the record of 3,257,248 concurrent players set by PUBG in 2018.
Eurogamer’s Chris Tapsell was slightly less enamoured with Palworld when he shared his early impressions on the site this week. “The real problem with Palworld is less the derivative approach itself, than it is it’s total shamelessness,” he wrote. “It might be oddly refreshing to be so open about your cynicism, but it also has an impact on the player. Play Palworld and you won’t feel like you’re playing something made with thought, or craft, or an earnest team’s best intentions. You won’t feel admiration or wonder. You won’t feel any real sense of achievement. You won’t feel like any artist has been involved, or that anything meaningful might come to mind. You will instead feel like you’re playing a product designed to be sold, rather than to be played. You will feel like a mark. And you’ll be right.”
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