Visual novel developers take swipe at Pocketpair over ‘derivative’ Palworld April Fools’ joke

Pocketpair released a video of a Palworld-themed dating sim in honor of April Fools’ Day, but visual novel developers didn’t appreciate it. In fact, they found it offensive and hurtful for the genre.

April Fools’ Day is a bizarre time in the gaming world, with fake news and release announcements left and right. Pocketpair used this opportunity to drop a video of a dating sim featuring characters from its smash hit Palworld. The “trailer” took fan-favorite Pals like Chillet and characters like the Black Marketeer and threw them into a high school setting where romance will inevitably blossom. 

Palworld: More than just pals dating sim annouced for the April's Fools
If Palworld was a dating sim. Image via Pocketpair

The Palworld characters took on different roles commonly found in dating sims and anime—Zoe was a tsundere giving mixed signals, Chillet was a shy boy, and Katress gave violet yandere vibes. We also can’t forget Lovander, who was already known to chase after humans with love on the brain, according to its Paldeck entry. Fittingly, the pink Pal became a “flirty senpai who wants all the boys” in the dating sim. At first glance, everything about the trailer (except the Black Marketeer) seems like a legit game.

But, according to interviews with Inverse, visual novel developers are not having it with all these April Fools’ jokes centered around dating sims. Pocketpair is far from the only game developer to use a dating sim parody as an April Fools’ joke, making it both repetitive and disappointing at this point. It’s one thing for developers to take light jabs at each other, but it feels like more of an attack on the visual novel genre when constantly used as the butt of the joke. 

Multiple developers who have worked on visual novels share the same sentiment in the interview—it feels like the gaming community is looking down on them and gamers don’t view visual novels as “real” games. And it only gets worse when other developers pile on the overused dating sim April Fools’ jokes. It’s kind of like how romantic comedies are often underappreciated and torn apart by book and movie snobs when those opinions really come down to preference. There’s no reason to constantly take jabs at media that explore romance just because it doesn’t satisfy your need for epic battles and mythical creatures. Visual novel developers simply want their content to be given the same respect as any other game.

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