In June of last year, the Japanese studio Pocketpair (who already made Craftopia) announced the development of Palworld. Since then, the project has undergone significant internal development, adopting the Unreal Engine 4 and rethinking its gameplay mechanics.
The game obviously draws its inspiration from the Pokémon license, with its round and colorful creatures (the Pals) that must be captured in a vast open world with a manga aesthetic. Pals are round, colorful (and heavily armed) creatures with specific abilities: they can be used as mounts (Pals can run, fly or swim), they can fight, they can be assigned to harvest resources or cultivate gardens, they can cook (or be eaten), and they can even work in factories (if fed). Pals can also be reproduced, and the offspring inherit the abilities of both parents. They can also be sold or bought.
However, the atmosphere of Palworld seems to be the opposite of Nintendo’s license: the Pals are certainly cute and you can live a peaceful and happy life with them in the game world, but they can also be overarmed and fight, devouring each other and the main gameplay issue will obviously be to exploit them shamelessly.
Pals have indeed many useful skills: they run, fly and swim to become perfect mounts (for one or more players) to explore the world of Palworld, they can fight, cultivate a garden or harvest resources (for example in mines), they can cook (or be sliced up to be eaten), help build various structures in the game world (pyramids, spaceships or simply a house) and they can also be made to work hard in factories to automate the production of certain resources, or even conduct experiments on their abilities or make them reproduce: the offspring of the Pals inherit the genetic characteristics of their parents.
Some of these Pals are also endangered species, living in protected areas… However, these rare Pals are worth a fortune (because you can buy and sell them with other players) and you can venture into these protected areas to capture them illegally.
This is one of the (moral) principles put forward by the studio Pocketpair: the Pals are cute and vulnerable creatures, protected by Palworld law, but players will have to make their decision “as adults”. In other words, you can engage in illegal behavior and take responsibility for your choices. The game incorporates a “crime system” that the developer does not detail (yet) but according to the studio, “as long as you don’t get caught, it’s not illegal” and “you have to be prepared to do anything to survive. It’s up to everyone to deal with the morals and consequences for themselves and the game world.
We’ll be curious to see how players make this universe their own – some will ignore the law and the protection of the Pals, while others may be more concerned with their welfare, or even become vigilantes? According to Pocketpair, Palsworld is set to launch this year on Steam and is set to unveil itself in a first alpha-test phase very soon. Gosh!