Palworld Pokémon mod creator delays release after DMCA takedown: "Nintendo has come for me"

(Image credit: ToastedShoes on YouTube)

What you need to know

  • The video that teased a Palworld mod that transforms the game's Pals into Pokémon has been taken down by a DMCA strike, and it's all-but-clear that Nintendo was behind it.
  • As a result of this takedown, ToastedShoes — the gaming YouTuber that posted the video and is one of the mod's authors — has delayed the mod's public release.
  • This news comes as the base Palworld game comes under fire, with many artists and gamers accusing developer Pocketpair of stealing art, designs, and assets from Nintendo and Pokémon.
  • All eyes are on Nintendo, with everyone wondering if its infamously litigious legal teams will try to take Pocketpair to court.
  • Since launching last week, Palworld has become an instant success, selling 6 million copies in four days and skyrocketing to over 1.8 million concurrent players on Steam earlier this morning. Notably, this makes it the second most-played Steam game of all time.

If you've been keeping up with the latest news on Pocketpair's hit survival creature collection "Pokémon with guns" game Palworld that came to Xbox and PC last week, you're probably aware that gaming YouTuber ToastedShoes is putting together a mod for the Steam version that turns all 113 of its Pal creatures into actual Pokémon (and your player character into Ash Ketchum). A teaser video posted on Monday generated a ton of hype, with ToastedShoes promising that a full video on the project would come a day later.

Well, the new video is here — you can watch it through the embed below — but thanks to a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown, the original is gone. Though there's no official documentation of where the strike actually came from, it's all-but-clear that Nintendo, the owner of the Pokémon franchise, was behind it.

As a result of the copyright notice, ToastedShoes has chosen to delay the mod's public release. While he and its other creators still want to publish it at some point, they "want to tread lightly" and avoid further issues with Nintendo.

"Nintendo has come for me, please leave me in your thoughts and prayers," wrote ToastedShoes on X (Twitter) in response to the takedown. Then, in a later post: "I've been getting a large influx of people asking where they can get the mod etc. We want to release it for free to everyone, however due to Nintendo sending a DMCA over the last tweet we want to tread lightly for the time being."

Will Nintendo go after Palworld itself?

This news comes in the wake of the ongoing Palworld AI controversy and Pokémon plagiarism accusations levied against it. Artists and gamers on social media have raked developer Pocketpair over the coals for using models and designs that bear striking similarities to official Pokémon artwork and assets from the 2022 Nintendo Switch game Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. 

Right now, all eyes are on Nintendo, with everyone wondering if its infamously litigious lawyers will attempt to make a case against Palworld and Pocketpair in court. Pocketpair CEO Takuro Mizobe, though, says the game "cleared legal reviews," and that no action has yet been taken against it.

"We make our games very seriously, and we have absolutely no intention of infringing upon the intellectual property of other companies," Mizobe said while speaking with Automaton.

Notably, a Nintendo representative recently spoke with Bloomberg and confirmed that the company "is aware of" Palworld. However, they declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for The Pokémon Company. 

A Pal Tamer in Palworld getting ready to capture a Pal with a Pokéball-like Pal Sphere. (Image credit: Pocketpair)

Palworld became an instant success story after its Early Access release late last week, and has only continued to soar ever since. Pocketpair says 6 million copies were sold in just four days, and the game broke 1.8 million concurrent players this morning, making it the second most-played game in Steam history.

While Palworld is available on Steam as well as Xbox and the Microsoft Store, the two versions of the game are quite different. The Xbox/MS Store edition is playable through Xbox Game Pass, but will have missing features until Pocketpair gets through Microsoft's update certification. It also doesn't support joining or creating dedicated servers, limiting multiplayer to 4-player co-op rather than the 32-player lobbies you can enjoy on Steam.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.