The open-world survival title Palworld just launched in an early access mode on January 19 but the game has already sparked a hot debate in the industry. Within three days of its release, Palworld has sold upwards of 5 million units across Steam, Valve and Xbox Game Pass.
The game challenges players to collect and raise creatures called Pals, which look a lot like Pokémon, but developers say that the survival-minded premise of Palworld is different. Users and their Pals face off against environmental challenges in the Palpagos Islands, from harsh weather to food shortages and poachers. Beyond merely being cute, Pals work for the user by building structures, farming and other manual labor tasks.
Due to the perceived similarities with Pokémon, however, Palworld developers have reported receiving death threats from angered gamers. According to IGN, Pocketpair community manager Bucky wrote on Discord that amid attempting to address messages from gamers regarding legitimate customer service matters, they’ll have to “excuse [him if I skip over the death threats, threats to the company and massively outlandish claims.”
Pocketpair CEO Takuro Mizobe echoed the concerns, writing on X that “currently, we are receiving slanderous comments against our artists, and we are seeing tweets that appear to be death threats.”
Mizobe had previously said that Palworld passed legal reviews and that there haven’t been any disputes brought against Pocketpair by other studios.