Game Freak Is The One Killing Pokemon, Not Palworld

A lack of competition in the monster-taming genre had made Game Freak lazy over the years, it seems.

Story Highlights

  • People have been comparing Palworld and Pokemon because of the huge amount of similarities they share.
  • Game Freak deserves half the credit for Palworld’s massive success.
  • A lack of competition in the genre had made Game Freak put minimum effort into their recent titles.

Palworld might’ve been pitched as “Pokemon with Guns,” but violence and guns alone aren’t the reason behind its success. Many people criticized the game due to the significant amount of similarities it shares with the Pokemon franchise. Pokemon is one of the most popular franchises in the world, if not the most. And, if an indie title is enough to threaten Pokemon, then it means that the devs at The Pokemon Company haven’t been trying hard enough.

People of all ages love Pokemon, and its popularity isn’t limited to video games. Video games are where many fans fell in love with the franchise, and it has been like that for decades. Pokemon games have always dominated the video game industry ever since Pokemon Red and Blue came out on Game Boy decades ago, setting a foundation for the Pokemon video game series.

Game Freak, the company that plays a major role in developing Pokemon games, did an outstanding job with the initial Pokemon games. It made the games so popular that no other game was able to compete with it in the genre. However, it appears that a lack of competition over the years has made Game Freak dull, along with the fact that it doesn’t listen to its fan base.

Lately, since the last few installments, Pokemon games have been losing their touch. The latest entries in the Pokemon video game series, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, received a ton of criticism following its glitch-full launch. It did sell well, not only because of the franchise’s massive popularity but also because Game Freak decided to finally give the fans what they’ve been begging for years.

Game Freak's Pokemon Scarlet and Violet was a mess of glitches at launch.
Game Freak’s Pokemon Scarlet and Violet was a mess of glitches at launch.

Palworld’s Success, And Game Freak’s Role In It

Palworld didn’t get this popular just because it had guns, violence, and you could subject your Pals to cruelty. It continues to grow because it is exactly what the fans of the monster-tamer genre ever wanted, including Pokemon fans. As a Pokemon fan myself, I was skeptical before trying out Palworld because I’ve never been a huge fan of guns, however, after playing the game for the past week, I can assure you that guns and violence are the least defining features of the game.

A ranch in Palworld.
A ranch in Palworld.

Palworld features all the things every Pokemon fan has been asking from Game Freak for years now. And, if Game Freak won’t give it to them, someone else might. An open-world game similar to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, with crafting mechanics and the ability to interact with your Pokemon in a multitude of ways.

Chilling with the party in Pokemon Legends: Arceus.
Chilling with the party in Pokemon Legends: Arceus.

Game Freak didn’t learn from Pokemon Legends: Arcues‘ success. But I’ll still give them credit as they did try something new for once with Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, even if the bare minimum. The game was miserable at launch and looked like an early 2000s open-world RPG. The tremendous amount of bugs and glitches did go away after a series of patches over the years, but the fact remains that Game Freak hasn’t been trying hard enough.

Not Just A Rip-Off

As stated in our Palworld review, the game is more than just a rip-off. Pocketpair, Palworld’s developer, has built an incredibly beautiful world in the void left by Game Freak’s ignorance and lack of attention to the monster-tamer genre. It was bound to happen, eventually. There was an opportunity in the market, and Pocketpair made complete use of it.

Palworld technology tree.
Palworld technology tree.

If you look at Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, you’ll notice the game’s graphics are severely mediocre. Some might say that is because of Nintendo Switch‘s hardware limitations, but even if you compare the visuals of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a game that came out years ago, with Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, you’ll find the Pokemon games extremely lacking.

How does a 5 year old launch title look and run better than a new major release from the world’s biggest franchise
byu/halycon8 inPokemonScarletViolet

Palworld is visually pleasing. Furthermore, the game’s crafting mechanics are exceptional. Calling it a “Pokemon” rip-off won’t be fair, because what is there to rip-off, other than the Pokemon designs, which have been getting worse each year? Even some of the shiny Pokemon Game Freak came up with recently are bland, featuring minor color differences from the regulars (looking at you, Maushold).

byu/RoboAWM inPokemonScarletViolet

Palworld is far superior, as it lets you interact with your Pals and lets them help the player out using their unique abilities. Nothing was stopping Game Freak from adding similar mechanics in their Pokemon games. Imagine your water-type Pokemon helping out watering your garden. A peaceful life, away from all the gym battles where it’s just you and your Pokemon.

The Decline In Quality Of Pokemon Video Games

Over the years, Game Freak has only ever used one formula for their games and that is for the player to go out and beat every single gym out there to become the champion. Pokemon Legends: Arceus featured something different, and it was an amazing game from start to finish, even if there was a huge room for improvement.

Hisuian Decidueye helping out its trainer in Pokemon Legends: Arceus.
Hisuian Decidueye helping out its trainer in Pokemon Legends: Arceus.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus showed Game Freak how much hunger there is for something different. In the end, we got Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, a half-baked effort, as Game Freak did the bare minimum with it, as it always does, recently. If Game Freak had done a better job at listening to its fan base, instead of always doing its worst at developing games, Palworld wouldn’t be as successful today.

Palworld has everything. You can play as an evil character that shoots everything in sight, or you could just live a peaceful life with your pals in a beautiful world. If Game Freak made a Pokemon game like this, minus the violence, after putting in half as much effort as Pocketpair, it would at least be ten times more popular than Palworld.

A base in Palworld.
A base in Palworld.

The point here is that Game Freak needs to pull their act together. We’ve got some healthy competition in the genre and Game Freak will finally have to put some effort into their games to stay relevant. Yes, you might say that the Pokemon fan base is huge and it would still sell well, and you’d be right. But, a decade down the line, Pokemon would be a lot less iconic and we’ll be seeing Pals in merchandise stores instead. 


Game Freak needs to put more effort into its games and listen to the fans. It can’t keep getting away with the bare minimum now that we finally have some healthy competition in the genre. If it had been doing a decent job, Palworld wouldn’t be as popular as it is today.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet show Game Freak isn’t willing to put much effort into their games and if it keeps this up, it’s just giving other studios a chance to take its place. We might not see it right away, but a decade down the line, Pokemon would be a lot less popular and some other franchise will be showing up in the stores a lot more often.

There’s still time for Game Freak to redeem itself. The Pokemon anime series has entered a new era, and now, it’s time for Game Freak to learn from its competitors and improve the quality of its games if it doesn’t, it is bound to affect Pokemon’s monopoly in the long run, giving other franchises a chance to spread their wings. Whatever the turnout is, it will be a win-win situation for the fans of the genre.

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Fahad is a news reporter at eXputer with a huge passion for fighting games. For the past year, he has been utilizing his skills to report on the latest and greatest in the gaming industry. Side by side with his bachelor's in computer science, Fahad has also acquired a certification in English for Journalism from Coursera. Fahad now dedicates all his time to either playing video games or reporting news at eXputer.

Experience: 1+ Years || Covers News Stories at eXputer || Bachelor's in Computer Science.

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