my thoughts on palworld

Jan 21st 2024

Let me preface this by saying I have not played the game, but I have watched a few streams and have of course seen all the social media buzz. I wanted to write my thoughts because I feel like this game has a lot of wasted potential.

So for those who may be unaware, Palworld is a new creature collection x survival game that is currently in early access. It was originally announced in 2021 with a trailer showing the player cooperating with cute little creatures and being like “look how fun!” before moving on to giving them guns and exploiting them in factories. Because of this, many people have been calling the game “Pokemon with guns” even though the gameplay is more similar to a survival game like Ark.

It turns out “Pokemon with guns” IS an accurate description though, because many of the creature designs are blatantly ripped off from Pokemon. What’s more is that the devs have previously explored using AI in their games and so there's a chance that AI may have been used to generate some of the creature designs. This has sparked many debates on social media about AI use, plagiarism, and stealing from big companies. While I don’t care about stealing from big companies because f capitalism, I think in this case there are many concerns about artistic integrity. At the moment, there is nothing stopping AI from stealing from independent artists so stealing ANYONE’s art should not be praised.

Anyway, circling back to my thoughts about the game itself: it looks fun. There’s a reason it sold 3 million+ copies, besides edgelords buying it to piss off Nintendo fans. I could definitely see myself playing a survival game in which I get to use cute creatures to help me collect, build, and explore! However, between the controversies I’ve already mentioned and the fact that they try so hard to be edgy, I have no interest in actually playing Palworld. I hate that you can abuse and exploit your creatures, you can give them guns and use them as weapons of war, and you can even capture human characters. Maybe it would be interesting if it was making some kind of social commentary, but from what I’ve seen I really don’t think that’s the case.

I say this game is wasted potential because it would be awesome if you could work together with creatures to survive! You feed them and give them shelter and in return they help you collect resources and reach areas you couldn’t on your own! Eventually you could build a whole community of cute creatures, with a focus on helping each other out instead of exploiting them! And of course take out the guns and other edgy aspects (like the literal noose Pal called Hangyu). I would still want combat, because combat is fun, but I think it would be more interesting if the combat was against monstrous versions of the creatures you befriend. That way it’s more about self-defense and survival than mindless killing and exploitation, plus there’s a lot of creative potential in more monstrous designs.

My only hope is that other game developers take inspiration from Palworld and make a great creature collecting survival game full of original designs and ideas. Anyone want to hire me as a game director? xD

tags: gaming