What can Pokemon and Game Freak learn from the release of Palword?

Palworld has taken the gaming community by storm, with the game exceeding 19 million players in just two weeks.

Palworld Screenshot. Image from Pocketpair, Inc.
Palworld Screenshot. Image from Pocketpair, Inc. /
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Increasing the utility of Pokemon beyond battles:

One of the most interesting features of Palworld is of course it's pals and the role they serve in the game. Unlike in Pokemon, one can put the pals you catch to work to help with the cultivating of more resources or managing daily functions around one's base. It's been a function that has in many ways caused a stir with allusions to indentured servitude making their way onto social media as a result.

Of course, the expectation wouldn't be for Pokemon to take this route exactly (as it's still marketed as a childrens game), but there are elements of having Pokemon play a more active role beyond simply battling that have been explored by Game Freak that Palworld does well to expand on. For one, having pals actively work on one's base and specific stats and abilities that make them better suited to one task than another is a good feature Pokemon could emulate and put into their own games, minus the violence and poor working conditions.

In Pokemon Sword and Shield, there was a feature one could access through the PC that allowed the player to send pokemon on "jobs" to earn rewards. A similar concept was explored in Legends Arceus where the player could lend the Pokemon they caught to the townsfolk for building and farming purposes. In building a sort of "pokemon ranch" one could utilize a similar system in the next Pokemon title, and a similar system to the one in Sword and Shield could act as a way for the player to get additional rewards while also providing the Pokemon loaned in this way some experience towards their overall level.

As mentioned, Palworld take pals and ascribes cetain traits that make them better at performing one task or antoher. This can certainly be implemented into Pokemon if they were to allow players to build a sort of ranch or farm from which they could gather resources and craft items. The system could work based on pokemon type and abilities. For example, one could use Pokemon of a given type or who know specific moves to perfrom tasks such as land clearance or gathering of resources like the aforementioned apricorns and berries. They could also be directly involved in the forging of items, with certain types imbuing a given power to a specific item when forged. if a fire type was used to forge a certain item, then that item could possibly be more effective on or related to that given type.

Emulating Palworld once again, another example of a useful relationship between crafting, building and ones pokemon could come down to the creation of a hatchery where players can hatch more than one egg at a time. For those who use the Masuda Method to find shinies or for those who look to breed competitive pokemon, this would be a great feature to add. Pokemon with abilities such as flame body could be ascribed to such a structure to help increase the rate at which eggs are ready to hatch, as they do when one has them in their party.

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While Palworld has indeed caused a stir in the gaming community, and perhaps has some features that can be found in other games that walk a thin line between inspiration and blatant similarity, the game has built on the genre that Pokemon has in many ways been the front-runner in for such a long time. It has pushed the boundaries of the "creature capture" genre and shown that theres so much more to be explored in this type of game. It's inception will hopefully see Nintendo and Game Freak really push to implement some of thse features, even if it's just a sprinkling, as they could really add another layer of depth and overall fun to the Pokemon franchise we've all grown to love.