Looking Back at Palworld’s Original Trailer, the Game Sure Turned Out Differently (For the Better?)

Palworld first announced itself to the world two years ago with a reveal trailer that definitely caught people everywhere off-guard. It wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill survival crafting game, it featured the ability to find a wide variety of adorable creatures known simply as Pals and capture them inside, well, ‘Pal Spheres’.

It vigorously rang a bell inside many of our heads alongside echoes of a certain Pokemon jingle, and then blindsided us yet again with both humans and Pals wielding what looked to be actual guns. This cutely animated world with collectible creatures and destructive explosions prompted two questions: What in the world were we witnessing, and how long would it be before Nintendo brought down the gavel to legally erase this eccentric concept from existence?

The so-called “Pokemon with guns” game known as Palworld showed off what looked like an incredibly colorful and fun experience in a world full of giant castles, rolling green hills, crystal blue lakes, and most importantly Pals of every make and color. From the small Lamball to the gigantic Jormuntide, they weren’t just there to look cute and cool, they could be used for all manner of tasks and adventures.

Clips in the initial trailer featured Direhowls pulling wagons of supplies, Mozzarinas harvesting wheat, Pengullets stacked atop each other to haul up lumber for a house, Teafant and Kelpsea watering crops, all of them helping the player’s character build a sanctuary and survive in this mysterious land.

Palworld how the original trailer portrayed the game
Image Source: Pocketpair

Of course, a factor of that survival comes in the form of…surprisingly realistic artillery. Handguns, rocket launchers, miniguns, you name it. This was perhaps what helped Palworld differ itself just enough from its Pocket Monster cousin, because you certainly never found adolescent-age trainers brandishing a glock in one hand and a Pokeball in the other.

Palworld was the new kid on the block to put a bold new spin on the ‘creature capture’ genre that has long been dominated by, well, one very famous entity. Despite the universal presumption that this new game would get legally shot down before even releasing, people were still genuinely curious about it and seemed to want to try it.

Two years passed with nothing but crickets from Nintendo’s corner, and thus that curiosity from the player community grew dramatically leading up to Palworld’s anticipated release in mid-January. The game leaped up into the top five most wishlisted games on Steam, and that wouldn’t even turn out to be remotely the most impressive statistic.

On January 19th, Palworld rolled out the Early Access welcome mat for everyone for a very modest price of $30 USD, and what transpired would end up rattling the entire industry to its core.

Palworld how did the game's release turn out
Image Source: Pocketpair

Palworld’s servers, which were well-prepared for a decent enough crowd, instead became absolutely overwhelmed in a matter of minutes by not just thousands, but hundreds of thousands of players. While those going on solo adventures faired better in terms of server stability, those who wanted to embark on one with friends faced bigger challenges.

Multiplayer instances crashed repeatedly, leaving a number of players barely able to play the game at all. Thus began the true test for the team at Pocketpair, who themselves likely underestimated how wild and ambitious Palworld would truly become.

As the hours passed, the player count went higher and higher, with many in Palworld’s blossoming community surprisingly patient and assured that the gameplay experience would smooth out. That faith would pay off in spades, as Pocketpair worked resolutely around the clock to stabilize the server infrastructure and polish several bug issues, providing consistent updates on such via their official Discord.

Not only that, they also marked some truly incredible milestones, first announcing that the game had sold over one million copies in just 8 hours. Palworld’s concurrent player count on Steam peaked at a staggering all-time high of 2.1 million players, surpassing every other game on the platform for a time including the likes of Counter-Strike 2 and Baldur’s Gate 3.

By the end of the month, in just under two weeks, Palworld achieved over 19 million players who have wholeheartedly embraced this astonishingly fun new addition to the creature-capture niche.

Palworld how successful did the game become at release
Image Source: Pocketpair

With the game now about to be a month old (definitely feels longer than that by now), some players have been taking the time to reflect on the roller coaster experience they’ve had with Palworld thus far. One person going by the name of ‘Unhappy_Panic_1875’ took to Reddit to put a spotlight on how surprisingly different the game turned out to be, at least by comparison to the very first trailer that appeared in 2022.

In fact, all of the screenshots we’ve shared so far are from that trailer. The Early Access version of Palworld we’ve gotten deviated substantially from the original aesthetic, changed the look of some Pals while others we haven’t even seen (yet?), and either did away with certain Pal mechanics entirely or changed/refined them.

Palworld what mechanics are no longer in the game
Image Source: Pockepair via Twinfinite

For instance, the game’s overall environment changed from a sort of alternate medieval setting with castles and villages everywhere to a diverse island archipelago known as Palpagos, filled with mysterious ruins and very simplistic villages built with wood and metal instead of stonework. Palworld also migrated from Unity to Unreal Engine 4 during development, which opened up new doors for the team to make a more immersive, engaging, and modern experience.

It likely made traversing the entire world map without loading screens (save for dungeons) possible. Pals like Teafant and Mozzarina saw their designs changed (better, honestly), and various crafting mechanics like farming saw impressive upgrades.

Meanwhile, other things noticeably dropped off the development conveyor belt, such as Direhowls pulling carriage carts (seen above), Lamballs being shaved for wool instead of shaking it off in a Ranch pen, flying Pals transporting cages full of smaller Pals, lassoing Pals to capture them, space rocket building (for what??), more advanced syndicate hideouts, fishing with Pals as bait, ship travel, gigantic base locales, and more.

The concept of Pals wielding and manufacturing weapons even got uplifted from its initial, red-hued dystopian vibe to a more lively, action-packed one, with Pals eager to fight alongside you rather than looking more apathetic than Depresso.

Image Source: Pocketpair

It goes without saying that the Palworld we have now is very different than the prototype we saw two years ago, but that obviously didn’t shake anyone’s opinion in the game’s rock-solid community one bit. It soared astronomically past all expectations, broke Steam records left and right, had famous streamers far and wide broadcasting their experiences, and above all, it excelled beyond the scrutiny of its aforementioned moniker as “Pokemon with guns”.

The long-winded discourse of its undeniable similarities to the Pocket Monster universe has since gradually deflated. People know, but frankly, they honestly don’t care. If anything, the game has become a proverbial soap box to give Nintendo a very loud wake-up call about what players actually want.

The next big question is whether some of these differences and changes to the game will emerge in future updates. On top of doubling the current Pal count, we know for certain that Pocketpair wants to integrate more interactive content such as PvP, a Pal battle arena (which was featured in the original trailer), expand Pal trading between players, more new island areas, bosses, and more. They’re also putting serious amounts of money into their server infrastructure, to ensure that no more crash-laden catastrophes happen.

They’re definitely in it for the long haul, and we can’t help but wonder if perhaps other things we saw two years ago will make a comeback. Some things like bizarrely building rocket ships and hauling distressed Pals in cages were definitely left behind with good reason, and with the ability to mount Pals and fast travel to various locales, having Direhowls haul carriages seems pointless. The ability to give them belly rubs however would be an adorable touch.

Palworld can we bring back Direhowl belly rubs
Image Source: Pocketpair

At this point, Palworld’s future is exceptionally bright, and millions of players are anxiously waiting to continue their adventures with more new content. Whether Nintendo will follow up with any sort of tangible response to its first-ever true competitor remains to be seen, but regardless of what happens, Palworld has made its rousing mark on the gaming world.

It’s outstandingly achieved what other, far larger companies have seldom done, all without battle passes, microtransactions, or bait-and-switch gimmicks. Pocketpair has given us so much for a price that’s frankly too low, but nevertheless, it speaks volumes when a team creates something genuine, with all the heart and soul you could ever ask for.

About the author

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Stephanie Watel

Stephanie Watel is a freelance writer for Twinfinite. Stephanie has been with the site for a few months, and in the games media industry for about a year. Stephanie typically covers the latest news and a variety of gaming guides for the site, and loves gardening and being the bird lady of the neighborhood. She has a BA in Writing from Pace University in NY.

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