Public Relations
Video Games

Lessons to Learn from Palworld

Wahid Lodin
February 10, 2024


Just the name brought disdain to players across the globe. And really, it was merely a matter of it being a game that kind of resembles another game. Palworld broke no rules, though many lambasted it for doing so, and it simply retooled several concepts to create one cohesive and, for the most part, enjoyable experience.

But underneath all of the chatter surrounding this Pokemon-esque survival action-adventure is something valuable. A lesson for developers. Not about handling controversy but about everything that ultimately went into making this a 9/10 game on Steam.

When you cut through the talks of AI and copyright infringement, there lies a hint of genius that shows even an indie studio can rise to AAA status—if even for a brief, exciting moment of virality.  

Lesson 1: Use What You Have

Back in the fourth quarter of 2020, indie Japanese developer Pocketpair snuck out Craftopia, a marginally delightful multiplayer title that sprinkled elements of genres into a sandbox open world. Players could craft shelters, harvest crops, adventure out into perilous worlds, breed animals, and enjoy some peaceful fishing. 

Three years later, that same developer delivered Palworld, a more impressive multiplayer title that sprinkled elements of different genres into a sandbox open world. If you put the descriptions of both games side-by-side, there is one significant aspect that separates them, and that’s the Pokemon-like additions that got it in so much trouble.

If Palworld’s success suggests anything, it’s that you can pull ideas, concepts, and even mechanics from older projects and tweak them to fit a new experience. Not everything has to be brand new. You just have to fix the issues those older systems may have had. In fact, some of the criticisms Palworld received was that it felt like the finished product Craftopia was supposed to be.

This can be a huge time saver, as unnecessarily developing entirely new systems and assets takes a lot of time. If it’s there and you can use it, then use it. 

Just look at Capcom, a company famous for reusing assets across its games.

Lesson 2: Don’t Worry About Extending a Universe

A big complaint across most entertainment mediums is that everything is sequels, multiverses, extended universes, and reboots. And you know what? That’s not entirely off the mark. As an indie developer, you don’t have to get caught up in the madness of expanding upon something. You can develop a game, enjoy its success, and then move on from it entirely. 

Don’t get caught in the loop of producing content around the same concepts and ideas over and over again. You’ll burn out. Your audience won’t be on board if you can’t replicate the magic of the original, and so often, sequels fail to do so. 

Take a cue from Pocketpair. Move on. Palworld may have borrowed from Craftopia, but it didn’t maintain the IP. Developers weren’t confined by established lore, which can really stunt creativity.

Lesson 3: It’s All About the Fun Factor

Let’s talk about The Last of Us: Part II for a second. Even if you like it, you have to admit that it’s not fun. The story is bleak, the gameplay is brutal, and as the credits roll, you may feel completely unfulfilled. That’s the point, but building success from that is not something every developer can do. As an indie developer, you’re more likely to strike success with a fun game than you are with something heavy and depressing.

Palworld is a fantastic example. It just goes right for the fun factor, but so do titles like BattleBlock Theater, an entertaining co-op platformer by The Behemoth, and Free Lives’ action-shooter Broforce. They don’t try too hard to have this big epic narrative. Even if they have a story, it’s quick, ridiculous, chaotic, and downright entertaining. 

There’s another perk to games that are pure fun—they have longevity. A game that’s heavy, narrative-driven, with a definitive ending has less of a shelf-life than something that’s driven by its fun factor.

Lesson 4: Start Marketing Early 

It may have seemed like Palworld popped up from out of nowhere. However, its first trailer dropped in 2021, and even at that point, it seemed like it was pretty polished. It wasn’t a rush job, and all that work eventually did pay off with what many thought was a surprise release. 

Let people know you’re out there and that your product is coming. Hype them up with a well-made trailer, then get back to work preparing for the big launch day. Even if that’s years down the line. Pocketpair knew it still had plenty of time left to complete Palword, but it wanted to start developing an audience early. 

Lesson 5: Work with Loopr to Market Your Game

Okay, so we didn’t work with Pocketpair on Palworld’s release, but we’ll be your best resource to mimic the same success it received. When we saw what was happening with Palworld, we immediately saw the genius of it. Tossing all the AI nonsense aside, Palworld is a dream scenario, and we’d work to drive the same positive response. 

Like Pocketpair, don’t wait to get started on your marketing. Reach out today so we can talk about how to integrate these lessons into your development cycle.



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