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Deathloop co-director baffled Palworld is being called lazy after its ‘improbable’ success Dot Esports

Arkane Lyon’s Dinga Bakaba has offered his two cents on Palworld, defending it against some of the criticisms lobbied towards it, particularly from those who describe it as “lazy.”

Palworld, a new survival game/Pokémon parody, has exploded in popularity, jumping to the top of the Steam charts and selling four million copies in its first three days. But there’s been a very vocal backlash against it for several \reasons. Some think it’s straight-up ripped off certain Pokémon designs, others have accused developer Pocketpair of using AI-generated artwork, and the rest don’t like the concept of treating the catchable critters (or Pals as they’re called) as actual slaves (you can even enslave humans).

Despite the backlash, Palworld is still proving popular. Image via PocketPair

In a lengthy thread on X (formerly Twitter), Bakaba, one of the creative directors on Deathloop, argued that Palworld was never shy about its efforts to parody Pokémon. If some of its monsters resemble ones from Pokémon, that’s part of the parody and not an attempt at plagiarism. “As someone said ‘cute monster parodying Pokémon’ has a range, and in terms of direction why should you make it very different from the material you are parodying?” Bakaba said. “Should Spaceballs‘ design be more different from movies it parodies?”

Bakaba is also “baffled” by those who say Palworld is lazily made. “Even if you copy an idea from another game you can’t just copy/paste it,” he said. “Even doing a sequel to your own game with the same programmer in a new engine, it takes crazy amount of time to develop a viable V2.0 of a mechanic.” He highlighted how Palworld’s mechanics manage to blend well together, ensuring they actually work and are approachable to players. He certainly has a point. Had Pocketpair just haphazardly thrown recognizable mechanics together, the game would be a jumbled and broken mess. It’s clearly doing something right, given how many people have gravitated towards Palworld so quickly.

Bakaba is reserving judgment regarding the AI accusations, although he’s willing to give Pocketpair the benefit of the doubt. Aside from the fact there’s no hard evidence, Bakaba believes if AI were being used, the studio wouldn’t bother hiding it since it was very open about its use in its last game, AI: Art Imposter. “Why should we assume they are hiding it for Palworld? Suspicion is legit but, I’m ill at ease with it thrown around as fact, it’s misinformation, ironically a thing we all fear AI will cause,” he said.

The thread concluded with Bakaba recognizing not everyone will vibe with Palworld, particularly with its dark sense of humor, but that people should be tolerant of what others enjoy. And anyone who doesn’t like Palworld simply doesn’t have to, and there “isn’t a shortage of options to play, don’t feel like you need to shotgun any game that is successful and doesn’t appeal to you personally.”

Michael Beckwith

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