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This Pokemon Clone Is More Violent Than Monster Hunter

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the bigger a franchise is, the more likely somebody's going to rip it off. And, in the pantheon of beloved media IPs, "Pokemon" reigns supreme. From old-school Game Boy titles like the robot-focused "Robopon" to the modern monster-battling MMO "Temtem," there's no shortage of "Pokemon" clones out there. That said, these Poke-clones are usually just as innocent as the franchise from which they took their inspiration, featuring cuddly monsters and generally lighthearted themes. 

Maybe that's why a bizarre upcoming game called "Palworld" is causing such a stir. Billed as a "open-world survival crafting game," it takes the "Pokemon" formula, and throws in some casual forced labor and the ability to use cute critters as shields against bullets. No, seriously, though.

The game's trailer, which dropped on June 5, starts innocently enough, showing off the PocketPair-developed game's bright graphics and diverse environments — but it isn't long before the game's dark themes reveal themselves. What begins with a bunch of penguin Pals passing logs to one another in an effort to help their human buddy build a house soon transitions into a montage of teary-eyed Pals being imprisoned and forced to build realistic-looking guns in a factory. Another clip shows distressed-looking monkey Pals pushing wheels, followed by the playable character straight-up shooting — and, presumably, killing — a boar Pal. And you thought the mythology in "Monster Hunter" was grim.

It's pretty grim stuff, and it's incredibly jarring when combined with the trailer's jazzy, upbeat music and the game's cheerful, anime-style graphics. As one might expect, the internet has a lot to say about "Palworld."

Gamers are having a field day with the Palworld trailer

To be honest, it almost looks like the first trailer for "Palworld” was made with the internet's reactions in mind. After all, it combines two of the net's favorite things: cute animals and meme-worthy wackiness. As such, the web is already abuzz with some hilarious reactions to the game's first trailer.

One YouTube user commented that the game "looks like what PETA thinks Pokemon is like," likely referring to a now-infamous campaign in which the group vilified "Pokemon" for what they considered "virtual animal cruelty" (via CNET). Another commenter joked, "Finally, Pokemon Gun," the logical follow-up to the latest mainline "Pokemon" games, "Sword and Shield."

Perhaps best summing up the strange trailer, YouTube user TheDiego908 wrote, "This looks like a s***post made by someone too frustrated with modern pokemon that accidentally ended up in a game doc."

Whether "Palworld” is deliberately poking fun at the darker aspects of Pokemon — a series that has some truly creepy moments — or the footage shown in its first trailer is actually meant to be taken at face value, it's hard to argue that the game doesn't look pretty fun. After all, what gamer doesn't like a side of destructible environments, bombastic-looking combat, and cognitive dissonance with their cuddly monsters?

Gamers can start gunnin' when "Palworld" releases sometime in 2022.