The Pokemon Company said on Thursday it will investigate and take action over any infringement of its intellectual property rights, after a viral game from a Japanese developer became dubbed "Pokemon with guns".
Survival adventure game "Palworld" from PocketPair, in which players can use guns to capture and train cute creatures known as "pals", is in early access on Steam and has sold more than 8 million copies since its January 18 release.
The title, which is also available on the Xbox, has received praise from reviewers for its gameplay while generating debate over perceived similarities with the family-friendly Pokemon series.
"We have received libellous comments about our artists and some tweets that seem close to death threats," PocketPair CEO Takuro Mizobe said in a post on X earlier this week.
PocketPair was not immediately reachable for comment.
The Pokemon Company said in a statement it has "received many inquiries regarding another company's game released in January 2024".
"We intend to investigate and take appropriate measures to address any acts that infringe on intellectual property rights related to the Pokemon," the company said.
The Pokemon Company was set up with investment from gaming companies Nintendo, Game Freak and Creatures.
Nintendo said it does not comment on individual cases.