The Pokémon Company says it plans to investigate copycat claims against online multiplayer sensation Palworld.
Fans have been pointing out similarities after the new title exploded in popularity this week.
In its first statement since, the Pokémon Company said it would take “appropriate action” if it found its copyright had been breached.
The boss of Palworld maker Pocketpair has said the game passed legal checks before release.
Palworld quickly earned the nickname “Pokémon with guns” when its first trailer was unveiled in 2021.
Like the popular Nintendo franchise, it also centres around collecting dozens of strange creatures with different abilities.
And it was the designs of Palworld’s companions that sparked copycat accusations which resurfaced after its extraordinary launch on PC and Xbox last Friday.
Some commentators went as far as suggesting the new game had directly copied from the bigger title, a claim neither company has directly addressed.
But the Pokémon Company has put out a statement, which doesn’t name Palworld, but refers to “another company’s game released in January 2024”.
It says it has “received many inquiries” about that title, and it had “not granted any permission for the use of Pokémon intellectual property or assets”.
“We intend to investigate and take appropriate measures to address any acts that infringe on intellectual property rights,” the company added.
The company has not formally launched legal action against Pocketpair.
However, an Australian YouTuber who posted a video showing Pokémon characters inside Palworld claims Nintendo issued a copyright claim against him.
ToastedShoes posted footage to YouTube of a modified version that replaced player models, enemies and pals with well-known characters from Pokémon.
Gaming news site PCGamesN reported that Nexus Mods – one of the biggest sites for users to post home-made or modifications – “was not comfortable” hosting Pokémon-themed changes for Palworld due to worries about legal action.
Palworld has sold 8 million copies since it was released in “early access” – where the version available is not the final product – last Friday.
Players, known as “pal-tamers” travel around a large map battling human foes and creatures known as “pals” which can be captured and recruited.
The game also features gameplay elements similar to survival titles Ark and Rust – two big hits with PC gamers.
Fans were delighted by its graphics, mix of styles and creature collection, and despite server crashes the game has a “very positive” user rating from 80,000 reviews on digital store Steam.
The team behind the game has admitted its success had “exceeded expectations” and it was working to fix issues caused by the huge interest in the game.