Palworld, a Pokémon-inspired multiplayer survival game, was announced yesterday during the ongoing Indie Live Expo event.
Developed by Pocketpair, Inc. Palworld is an open-world survival crafting game that features mysterious creatures known as the ‘Pal’.
The Pokémon series has always been fairly safe in its approach to the relationship between Pokémon and humans. Palworld seems to be a little darker, leaning more on capitalistic themes of forced labour and factory automation.
The game’s official description reads: “You can have a large number of Pals work on the construction. Don’t worry; labor laws won’t be applied to Pals.”
Further into the description, the developers state players can “build a factory and place Pals in it. They will work forever as long as they’re fed until the end of their lifetime”.
Twitter users have been quick to pick up on the game’s darker take on pocket monsters, commenting on the themes of forced labour and the inclusion of guns.
Look at sadness in their eyes 😭 pic.twitter.com/fuGQ5QgFvt
— Kenny Lomas (@KendrickLomarr) June 6, 2021
So you want a realistic crime game with guns that's also completely off the wall and swarming with magic creatures? pic.twitter.com/6JUDHowzEX
— Jay Tremblay (@JeanFrancois13) June 6, 2021
Please reconsider the guns??? They're so out of place..
— nita. 🌿 (@nitahimechan) June 5, 2021
Animal rights organisation PETA has condemned Pokémon on a number of occasions. Most recently the charity released a parody version of the game in 2019, which coincided with the release of Pokémon Sword & Shield.
— PETA (@peta) February 27, 2019
Pocketpair, Inc. didn’t provide a release date for the Palworld. However, according to Steam the game will release some time in 2022.
Nintendo has confirmed that the Direct will focus exclusively on Nintendo Switch software releasing in 2021.