Major mod site says to keep your Pokémon content far away from Palworld

Enlarge / Nexus Mods says it wants nothing to do with this kind of Palworld content.

Palworld‘s viral success has already drawn a lot of obvious “Pokémon with guns” comparisons. But when it comes to mods that might add actual Pokémon to the game, at least one major online clearinghouse is preemptively and proactively avoiding anything that could draw Nintendo’s legal ire.

Nexus Mods, a mod distribution site with tens of millions of registered users, said in a posted statement that it won’t take the legal risk of distributing any Pokémon-themed Palworld mods. “We do think that adding Pokémon content to Palworld is a very cool idea and we understand why people would want such a thing,” the statement reads. “However, we’re not comfortable hosting this content.”

Nexus Mods cites Nintendo’s “consistent record of mercilessly submitting legal challenges, DMCAs, and takedowns against fan-made content” as the main reason behind its hesitation. “Given Palworld’s similarity to the Pokémon franchise as a base game, hosting content that adds copyrighted characters or assets into the game is almost certainly going to put us at risk of legal action. Palworld content that is uploaded to Nexus Mods and is considered to have Pokémon-derived characters or assets will be taken down. Our normal moderation policies will apply.”

The preemptive statement (and takedown of at least one Pokémon-themed Palworld mod that previously snuck through to the site) is especially interesting considering that other Pokémon-related content mods are quite easy to find across the Nexus Mods site. A quick search turns up mods for everything from Pokémon-themed horses in Stardew Valley to Pokémon-themed monsters in Resident Evil 4 to Pokémon-themed dragons in Skyrim, alongside hundreds more.

While those kinds of mods have thus far avoided Nintendo’s legal wrath, there’s some reason to believe potential Palworld mods might not be so lucky. Already, Nintendo has issued a DMCA takedown for YouTuber ToastedShoes, who shared a video preview of an in-progress Palworld Pokémon mod on social media and YouTube. “Nintendo has come for me, please leave me in your thoughts and prayers,” ToastedShoes wrote on social media after the takedown.

Mods aside, Palworld has also come under fire for what some have argued is direct theft of Pokemon character models that goes beyond mere inspiration. In a recent statement, The Pokemon Company said it “intend[s] to investigate and take appropriate measures” regarding these kinds of accusations, though it stopped short of threatening any specific legal action.

While legal threats might keep many of the major mod distributors in line, it seems like only a matter of time before some sort of Pokémon-themed Palworld mod leaks through onto the less copyright-respecting parts of the Internet. The demand for such a mod among the game’s 8 million (and growing) paying customers will be too large to successfully contain for very long.

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