Well, it was fun while it lasted. Nintendo has taken action against the Palworld mod that would have made the “Pokémon With Guns” label much more literal. So if you were hoping to play Pocketpair’s monster-taming survival game as long-time Pokémon anime protagonist Ash Ketchum capturing and enslaving Game Freak’s monsters, you might want to temper your expectations, as the mod seems to be in a more dubious position.
The mod was revealed yesterday, January 22 by one of its creators, YouTuber ToastedShoes, who posted a short clip teasing the mod and a full video that went up on the channel today, January 23. However, the teaser has been hit with a DMCA from Nintendo on X (formerly Twitter). As a result, the mod will not be made publicly available right now as previously planned, as ToastedShoes wants to “tread lightly for the time being.”
The video showcasing the mod shows Ash fighting, capturing, and enslaving different Pokémon to build his strongholds, as well as fighting anime antagonist Jessie during one of the game’s boss battles. While this mod is obviously built off the bones of the original game, it’s also been one of the better showcases for why the ways in which Palworld distinguishes itself from Pokémon result in a game that just doesn’t click with me. The guns were always a grabby, memetic inclusion that made Palworld stand out, but they’re also emblematic of some edgier mechanics and vibes that aren’t really what I’m looking for in a monster-taming game. But to each their own.
Notably, there’s a fair bit of voiced dialogue in the mod for Ash, and while he sounds a lot like actor Sarah Natochenny’s take on the character, given that he says lines like “I must’ve had a huge bender last night,” I assumed these weren’t pulled from actual clips of the anime. In a statement to Kotaku, ToastedShoes said Ash’s lines were provided by a voice actor as opposed to an AI program mimicking Natochenny’s voice, but the actor wished to remain anonymous.
While the mod that actually uses Pokémon characters may be on Nintendo’s radar, Pocketpair believes the game itself is safe from Mario’s legal team because it doesn’t explicitly use any copyrighted characters.