IGN Misrepresents Post From Palworld Designer Pocketpair’s CEO

Remember Palworld? It’s the “Pokémon with guns” game from Japanese indie developer Pocketpair that made a big splash when it was released in January. The sheer fun gamers had playing Palworld propelled the game to massive profits and peak player counts. Palworld has been so successful that the game once accused of ripping off Pokémon has other game developers taking inspiration from it, making what are called “clone games.” Pocketpair CEO Takuro Mizobe was so impressed with the success of his company’s game that he tweeted a reaction to the impact Palworld was making on the gaming world, specifically a Chinese company called Tencent and its game, Auroria:

“Tencent is already making a Palworld clone game! In China, various companies are simultaneously developing mobile clones of Palworld, and the budget scale is about 10 billion yen, 10 times that of Palworld…

It looks like there will be a ton of Genshin-quality monster (or girl) breeding games released next year…

Amazing times”

Then, games journalists came along and decided to be games journalists. They didn’t accuse anyone of liking attractive women or anything as evil as that, but they did misconstrue Mizobe’s comments to make them look accusatory. IGN ran an article titled “After Palworld Was Accused of Ripping Off Pokémon, Its CEO Has Accused Other Companies of Making Palworld Clones,” which, amusingly, has a community note on its X post:

The suggestion is that Mizobe was mad at Tencent and considered Auroria a rip-off in much the same way Palworld was accused of ripping off Pokémon. A good part of the article is devoted to recounting the accusations against Pocketpair, so this looks intentional. Mizobe was not pleased:

As of this writing, IGN has not apologized, but if they do, it’ll be their second in less than two weeks, the first being for IGN France’s comments about Stellar Blade that insulted the model for its lead character and the woman who designed her. That time, they made it clear that IGN France operates mostly independently from the mother company, and while that’s likely true, this isn’t helping them look good. There’s no doubt that headline is meant to inflame, adding a little drama to what is really just a benign story about a video game developer taking pride in his game’s influence. They can’t use the excuse that it’s “just a headline” either because the article itself paints Mizobe as a hypocrite who is accusing others of what he is guilty of doing with Palworld. (It doesn’t come right out and accuse Mizobe, but it heavily suggests this is what he’s doing.) And this is following the Pokémon Company suggesting it was looking into possible infringement on Pocketpair’s part; that always seemed like a bit of puffery to me, but all the same, painting Takuro Mizobe this way could make that situation worse. I don’t blame him for being angry and calling this out publicly; that was the correct response. Now, it’s on IGN to apologize… again.

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