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Video Game / Project M

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By far the biggest and most polished mod for a console game ever.

Please secure your wrist strap to safely contain hype.

Project M is a mod of the popular Nintendo Mascot and Platform Fighter Super Smash Bros. Brawl, inspired by competitive-style Super Smash Bros. Melee and designed to add rich, fast-paced, and technical gameplay to a well-balanced cast of characters. It was created by a group of tournament-style Super Smash Bros. enthusiasts known as the Project M Development Team (PMDT) (previously known as the Project M Back Room, PMBR), some of whom were involved in Brawl+, the previous attempt to modify Brawl into a better-balanced and competitively-oriented game. Importantly, it isn't just a copy of Melee; the goal is to tweak all 39 characters in Brawl's roster (and Melee fan favorites Roy and Mewtwo) to be viable yet fair fighters against the likes of the best characters Melee has to offer. Ultimately, the project is meant to create the ideal version of Super Smash Bros.: one that is well-balanced, is energetic, and supports a dynamic balance between offensive and defensive playstyles, yet overall slightly favors offense. Simply put, it's a fan-made sequel/remake/improvement/conceptual expansion of Melee.

Public reception was extremely positive, landing Project M front-page coverage and wiki support from the major gaming news website IGN. The final public version before the project's end was 3.6 Full.

Sadly, development ceased on December 1, 2015, with the website being completely shut down in the process (including removing download links). The official reason originally given was that the development team felt their work was complete and they wanted to pursue original ventures, but a team member later explained that it was a preemptive measure for fear of the potential legal consequences. They sought counsel after discovering a potential issue and were told that the mod's scope gave Nintendo grounds to sue instead of just sending a Cease and Desist if they continued.

On July 15 2017, a new dev team named Wavedash Games (which includes PMDT handiwork between main members and contractors), revealed their original work, Icons Combat Arena, a platform fighter with original characters.

Following Project M's cancellation, mods of it are available often using version 3.6 as a base. These mods are Legacy XP (previously called Legacy M), Legacy TE, and Project+ (which was built off of Legacy TE). While not continuations of Project M and the developers themselves have said that they don't plan on continuing Project M's development, they can be seen as Spiritual Successors. In 2020, a massive unofficial mod known as PMEX Remix was released, which upped the playable fighter count to 98 and added many veterans from post-Brawl Smash games as well as newcomers. However, PMEX Remix lacks much of the polish and balancing that made Project M a modding hit.

For information on the characters, see the character sheets: Melee Veterans and Brawl Newcomers.

Compare to Rivals of Aether, another game project inspired by competitive-style Melee. Read our Forum discussion about it here.

This game has examples of:

  • April Fools' Day: It was a yearly tradition to make fake update videos on April 1.
  • Art Evolution: As the mod had gone on, the aesthetic has gotten much cleaner and more like a mainline Smash series game.
    • 3.6's "Retro Suit" Samus costume looked less bulky and is slightly more desaturated than 3.5's, presumably to bring it more in-line with the rest of the game's aesthetic. Zero Suit Samus and her alts are also completely redesigned for the bugfix version of 3.6, altered to be more polished and colorful, while being given more detail and accuracy.
    • 3.6 gave the OoT Ganondorf outfit his sword from the Spaceworld 2000 demo in his taunt, instead of the Sword of the Sages from Twilight Princess.
  • Artificial Brilliance: There have been slight tweaks to the characters' AI, including all CPU-controlled characters being able to wavedash, some characters being able to recover more efficiently, and all characters being capable of L-cancelling.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Since it's largely Brawl AI, the CPUs are incapable of fully utilizing the advanced techniques and technical potential of the game (e.g. chaingrabbing and DACUSnote ). This has largely been fixed with 3.0, although there are still some issues (such as an extremely suicidal A.I. prior to the 3.02 patch).
    • Despite this, a CPU will still tend to airdodge away from a ledge that it's about to grab if it notices a player charging an attack toward it.
  • Ascended Glitch: Wavedashing, though technically not a glitch, has a similar case in that it was an odd side effect of mechanics in Melee, and is now a fully intentional mechanic in Project M, meaning the game is actually designed and balanced around it.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • One of the co-op events is named "Where You At?". It's a recreation of the infamous "Wombo Combo" highlight during the 2008 SCSA West Coast Circuit.
    • In the Community Build for 3.5, one of the notices that appears when you first start up the game mentions "No johns".
  • Attack Reflector: Everyone could achieve this if they perfect shield, though it's much harder than using a relevant special move to do so.
  • Backstory: The project has two Game Mod precursors: Brawl+ (which is generally considered a failure), and a subsequent small project to replicate Falco's Melee functionality as a custom character for regular Brawl (which soon expanded to the goal of making the entirety of Brawl like Melee, but better).
  • Battle Aura: Every character has this in Turbo Mode.
  • Beta Test: Aside from maintaining public interest and support, the purpose of the public demos is to beta test PM on a large scale, thus making bug-searching easier and character-balancing decisions statistically reasonable.
  • The Bus Came Back: This was the first use of the Clone Engine — bringing back characters that had been cut out of Brawl.
  • Call-Back: The game loves to do this, adding a number of references to older games; aside from the classic stages and classic characters, most of the alternate costumes give characters their appearances from specific games, even if said appearances have never been officially rendered in 3D before, such as Wolf's Star Fox 2 inspired costume (which was just a communicator headshot sprite in its original appearance).
  • Call-Forward: Thanks to its long development, it also features costumes that first appeared long after Brawl, such as Fire Peach.
  • Canon Foreigner: The dev team alluded to creating new characters with the Clone Engine, although with the caveat that they won't be from the Wii U/3DS game and would have needed to be based on Trophies and/or Stickers.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: Sonic, Lucario, and Pokémon Trainer's team were given more obvious recolors, as the ones in Brawl were too alike each other to be considered suitable for hectic tournament play.
  • Combos: Although comboing is a mainstay of the Fighting Game genre, this is the first time in Smash that combos of such complexity are intentional and integral to the gameplay.
    • The infamous Turbo Mode grants on-hit-cancel to every attack in the game, a mechanic usually exclusive to most of Lucario's attacks. note  Turbo Mode makes it possible to cancel any attack… into any other attacknote , allowing the most extensive combos ever seen in a Smash game. The result is gameplay that looks like it's from Marvel vs. Capcom, and it is glorious.
    • The 0-to-Death mode added in 3.6 makes combos and follow-ups a necessity. After a short time without taking damage, players will reset back to 0%. If you want to win, you've got to get your knock-outs in one continuous string.
  • Competitive Balance: It's one of the fundamental ideas of the game.
  • Composite Character: Most fighters are based on their Melee incarnation (if they have one), but anything interesting from their 64 and/or Brawl incarnations, where applicable, are implemented as well.
    • Mario is stated to combine the best of Mario and Dr. Marionote .
    • Toon Link is a combination of elements from his incarnation in Brawl, Young Link from Melee, and Link's incarnation from the original game.
  • Decomposite Character: The Pokémon Trainer has been removed completely, so his three Pokémon are playable individually. In addition, Wario Man and Giga Bowser are both available as standalone characters as well as Final Smashes.
  • Demoted to Extra: As the Pokémon Trainer's Pokémon are now separate, he no longer appears as a fighter but still has a presence in the game. He appears as a trophy, in the Sound Test, and in each of his Pokémon's character roll calls and congratulations videos. In The Subspace Emissary, his role in the story is unchanged, but his absence in gameplay turns him into a story-only character.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • If an outside modder tried to access the unfinished characters in Demo 2.6 and earlier by adding and using a fully-unlocked character select screen, the game simply loads Mario instead, both to prevent access to said characters and to prevent potential crashes. (Compare to Copy Protection.) Back then, the game wasn't anywhere close to complete, so the PMDT wanted to keep its work generally proprietary.
    • If Classic or All-Star mode is completed with Roy or Mewtwo, then Mario's trophies are rewarded.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Zigzagged to accommodate whatever is necessary: Lucas has had his special moves overhauled to make him more different from Ness, but many changes made in Brawl, like Falco's kicked reflector and Mario's FLUDD, have been undone.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Dracula's castle was a stage in versions prior to 3.6, but was removed as a legal precaution, replaced with Delfino's Secret.
  • Fan Remake: Though with occasional tweaks, PM contains stages, physics, and character mechanics derived from Smash 64 and Melee.
    • Some character aspects that were in the characters' source material games, but not native to the official Smash Bros. games, such as animations, were remade and implemented.
    • In general, the purpose of this mod is to recreate the technical and fast-paced experience of Melee, and then make the game even better, technically and aesthetically.
  • Fan Sequel: To Melee, since Smash as a series has general subsequent installments rather than direct sequels (in terms of gameplay)note  - unlike Brawl, PM was created with the intent of playing like an actual successor to Melee.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: As a side-effect of the first Subspace Emissary cutscene replacing the generic "Congratulations montage" to prevent crashing when one beat Classic Mode with a character that's not supposed to be there, it's not possible to start a new file on the Emissary — the game crashes when the time comes to select your character. Can be worked around, though, by loading a previous save made in Vanilla Brawl.
    • In version 3.5+ Subspace is assessable, but upon entering the Pokemon Trainer area, the game crashes due to Pokemon Trainer not existing anymore.
  • Game Mod: And there is even room for Game Mods for this Game Mod.
  • Gold Makes Everything Shiny: Roy has his golden costume from Melee once again, and Mewtwo has this as a bonus recolor for his armor.
  • House Rules: Averted in that the conventional competitive set (which was previously customized from Smash's options) is now default, which saves players the trouble of ever needing to set the rules manually. 4 stock, 8 minutes, and team attack turned on. Same goes with the crew mode; what was once house rules is now a basic feature.
  • Iconic Outfit: Expanded thanks to the Alt. Costume Engine: Now, Wario isn't the only character to have a second outfit with its own set of palette swaps. See the character pages for details.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Smash 64's Taunt Canceling was brought back.note 
  • Knockback: Restored to Melee standards thanks to the Knockback Stacking fix. Suppose a player is knocked more than once in a row. If the player is hit within 10 frames after an initial attack, the second hit's knockback would completely replace the knockback and hitstun of the first attack. However, if a player is hit after those 10 frames (yet still in knockback), the hitstun would still be replaced, but the knockback vectors for the two moves would be added together when they are in opposing directions (and the greater of the two is used when they are not). This huge breakthrough adds to the "Meleesque" feel of many combos.
  • Knockback Evasion: Teching, which has always been a mainstay of the Smash Bros. series.
  • Letter Motif:
    • The letter "M", obviously.
    • Stages occasionally get this treatment. The stage that's essentially the upper-left chunk of Temple was referred to as Temple:M before being reskinned as Skyloft. There's even a reskin of Pokémon Stadium 2 with a Master Ball motif.
  • Level Editor: Disabled out of technological necessity — the custom stage list needs to be empty to run the game due to the nature of the exploit that allows Wii hacking. However, a patch exists for those who run the Homebrew Channel version (and thus only needed to use said exploit once).
  • Manipulative Editing: The developers spliced soundclips of other characters to get the announcer to say Mewtwo and Roy's names. Averted in 3.6, with the team replacing the announcer from Brawl with their own.
  • Meteor Move: Footstool jump is one of the few techniques retained from Brawl. Essentially, it gives every character a downward-pushing movenote . Unlike in Brawl, where it's executed by pressing a jump button while on an opponent, it's done with a separate input from the regular jump, so it can be mapped to a different button on the controller (any of the d-pad taunt buttons by default), and it can't be done accidentally.
    • Spikes have returned, greater in number. In Brawl, the Melee veterans' spikes were nerfed to be meteor smashes.
  • Moveset Clone: Some of the moves introduced in Brawl to differentiate clone characters from their sources were swapped with their Melee counterparts. However, Falco is the only clone character that was completely functionally reverted to his Melee movesetnote . Characters like Ganondorf and Roy have entirely new moves.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The team's trailer makers are known for using gimmicks that aren't in the official release builds:
    • Mario's Turbo Tuesday video makes it look as if Mario could switch between being Plumber Mario and Dr. Mario instantly. This isn't mechanically possiblenote  and is simply clever editing of splicing two variations of the same clip via Brawl's replay feature.note 
    • Mewtwo's Turbo Tuesday video shows Pokémon Trainer throwing a Poké Ball at Mewtwo, only for the latter to reflect it and launch the trainer. Pokémon Trainer is not playable.note 
    • Contrary to Diddy Kong's demonstration video, the boombox victory animation can't be used during a battle.
  • No-Sell: Characters that relied on tether recovery in Brawl suffered from extremely easy ledge-hogging; when a character was occupying the ledge, the tether couldn't detect the ledge, so the user wouldn't be able to recover. In PM, tethers are no longer dependent on ledge occupation, so the tethers can work without being blocked off. Therefore, multiple characters could grapple to the same ledge at once, with an additional character occupying the ledge. When a tethering character pulls up while the ledge is occupied, he/she ledge-jumps instead.
  • Nostalgia Level:
  • Obvious Beta: Not really a beta, but the first demo plays this trope straight. Compared to later developers' builds and the second demo, the first demo is very outdated, and it inversely shows how much "Melee-ifying" the team has accomplished in months.
  • Original Flavor: Zigzagged. A number of characters are given new moves and properties to bring them more in line with their canon counterparts (Wario gets a variety of Wario Land inspired moves, Snake has a playstyle and arsenal closer to his game series, and Ganondorf obtains a deflector attack, for example), but a few have abilities they can't properly use in canon for either pragmatic or gameplay reasons (Pit's upward shield bash and Lucario being more combo-centric).
  • Our Fairies Are Different: One of Jigglypuff's new costumes gives it cute little fairy wings. Fitting of its Fairy typing.
  • Power-Up: Along with the ones present in Brawl, a new item (replacing the Superspicy Curry) has been added in 3.0 that activates Turbo Mode upon being picked up.
  • Promoted to Playable: A development build leak revealed that Isaac, Sami, Lyn, and Knuckles the Echidna were all planned to be playable, the characters originally being two Assist Trophies, a Sticker, and a Trophy + cameo in the Green Hill Zone stage. The characters are incomplete, Isaac and Sami being particularly unpolished, whereas Lyn and Knuckles were roughly 80% complete.
  • Retraux: The N64 stages, at least before they were updated. Taken to its logical conclusion here.
  • Running Gag: The number 47 tends to pop up in most, if not all, videos the team puts out. Nobody really knows what it means, though. This doesn't stop the insane amount of speculation though.
  • Scenery Porn: Let us count the ways, shall we?
    • Skyloft is notable not only for being the first of the Dev Team's completely unique stages, but looking just as detailed (if not more so) than its Wii U predecessor.
    • The updated Melee Final Destination and Battlefield gives these stages their own beautiful aesthetic that sets it apart from both their original and Brawl counterparts.
    • Bowser's Castle, full stop. In addition to the numerous eye catching visuals with multiple Mario references, it also has Thwomps as stage hazards and a destructable stage!
    • Stages that debuted in the first game started receiving the "HD" treatment starting in 3.5, and each one looks astounding. Special note goes to Metal Cavern and Saffron City, not only for being a massive step up compared to their N64 counterparts, but also for backgrounds that respectfully reference stages from Mario 64 and the first generation Pokémon games. Project M 3.6 allows you to play on the old Nintendo 64 versions of those stages as well by just holding L as you select them. This option also allowed the PMDT to stuff an almost unwieldy number of stages for the casual Smash audience into a stage select screen designed to be intuitive for tournament play.
  • Scunthorpe Problem: To prevent discussion of this mod on Miiverse, Nintendo issues bans for any post containing "PM" in it, even if you're using it to refer to the time or Paper Mario.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: Many characters were given both functional and aesthetic changes that reflect their incarnations in their previous games. A good example is Wario, who was given several new attacks and animations to make him more of a Wario Land Wario.
  • Stylistic Callback: Several of the alternate costumes.
  • Tournament Play: This game is made especially for the competitive Smash enthusiasts, so several features were added to give competitive play more professional tools.
    • The game has an idle mode; if the game is left on without input for three minutes, the audio will fade, thus making tournaments less hectic with unoccupied game setups.
    • The Crew Mode was added to facilitate the process of setting up a crew battle, specifically by making the game automatically detract stock so that suiciding before a match starts is no longer necessary.note 
    • The stage select screen has been redesigned to be more systematized, aesthetically pleasing, and functional. The stage picture is much larger, and is backed with the Project M logo. The stage icons are grouped by their properties (such as platform layout, hazards, and series franchise), and arranged in tier rows to reflect how complex their layouts are, as well as to separate the starter stages (which occupy the entire bottom row) from the counter-pick stages (for example, Dracula's Castle is on the top, Lylat Cruise is in the middle, and Final Destination is on the bottom). Stages can now be crossed out. Crossing out stages will remove them from the random select as well.note  Also, the stage pages can be switched by pressing the L or R button.
  • Training Stage: This mod patches one of these over the Wi-Fi Waiting Room from Super Smash Bros. Brawl — it's big, it has a huge boundary to practice the all-important Offstage Game, and because of the stage it's patched over, it even has Sandbag to smack around to your heart's content.
  • Truer to the Text: Snake's new taunts (including one where he smokes), attacks, character physics, and emphasis on field control brings him much more in line with the Metal Gear games.
  • Wrap Around: Starting from version 3.5, Stamina Mode has been reworked to allow different sub-modes to have the standard blast lines function as this; players can pass through an opposite side of a screen instead of getting KO'd at the cost of losing 5 HP while passing through.