Project M is a gameplay modification of Super Smash Bros. Brawl designed to make the gameplay more closely resemble that of Super Smash Bros. Melee mainly, and also Super Smash Bros. to a lesser extent. This means that the speed of gameplay has been generally increased, with many Melee mechanics being restored. The development team is partly descended from the original developers for Brawl+, now known as the PMDT, or Project M Dev Team (formerly the PMBR, or Project M Backroom). It has members from over ten countries, though as of now, only an NTSC version has been released. Project M's character roster notably includes Mewtwo and Roy, two characters from Melee that are not playable in Brawl, with altered graphics and movesets.
Project M is commonly featured as an event at tournaments including several national tournaments, such as the Zenith series, The Big House series, and Apex 2014. Starting around 2012-2013, Project M saw a rapid rise in its popularity as more characters became playable and the mod was featured more commonly at Smash tournaments; the number of entrants for Apex 2014's PM singles event notably surpassed the amount of entrants for the original Brawl.
Project M currently has two different versions: Full Set and Wi-Fi. The former has Stock Control and Input Assistance as new features, which allows newer players to use advanced techniques better and have a stock advantage over experienced ones. However, Replays and online play do not work properly as a result of L and R button light-presses causing online desynchronization. The Wi-Fi version allows these two things to work properly, and while it keeps the former version's battle features, these are not implemented for online play, likely because Stock Control would have caused potential griefing within matches (by the distant opponent always choosing the maximum amount of stocks). If a Project M replay is viewed in regular Brawl, it may cause malfunctions when beginning a match, possibly because of the stage replacement.
Both versions heavily alter the original Brawl gameplay to more closely resemble that of Melee, along with other changes to make the game more competitive in general, while keeping certain Brawl techniques such as crawl, wall cling, and DACUS.
Melee based changes
The following mechanics have been altered to match their Melee forms:
Brawl based changes
Aside from Melee restorations, the following techniques and mechanics from Brawl have also been changed:
Other changes and gameplay tweaks
In addition to the many universal changes, each character received several individual adjustments in order to properly balance the game. The roster was largely buffed overall, creating a broad collection of viable characters with varying play-styles, strengths and weaknesses. However, certain moves were nerfed to further flesh out some fighters and break their dependence on repeated use of a single move or small set of moves. Some Project M characters are based on their appearances in Melee (such as Captain Falcon and Jigglypuff) while others are modified from their Brawl versions or a mixture of their iterations from both games.
The sourcing of previous versions of a character depends largely on previous attendance and performance, with high tier Melee characters being mostly reverted to their past formats (with some adjustments to add more balance for the other characters). This includes both normal and special moves, properties such as gravity, weight, run-speed and air mobility.
Aesthetic changes such as sound effects and costumes were not included until more recent versions such as version 3.0, and were revamped in 3.5 and 3.6.
The entire cast was revamped to match the physics of Melee. Characters that suffered from poor attributes and movesets in both Melee and Brawl (such as Bowser or Kirby or Zelda), had their positive attributes from each game merged and were given entirely new and original buffs. Some returning characters, like Ganondorf, were given an entirely revamped moveset to further reference their abilities from their home series and to distance themselves from characters they were cloned from. New characters, such as Sonic and Snake, were given completely original buffs, nerfs and even entirely new moves in order to increase their variability and versatility.
Based on the Brawl roster of 39 characters, Project M gives Zero Suit Samus, Sheik, Squirtle, Ivysaur and Charizard their own slots on the character selection screen (the latter 3 replacing the Pokémon Trainer) while including Mewtwo and Roy (who were both absent in Brawl) for a total of 41 characters.
List of characters
* Characters not in Brawl
As of version 3.0, the Curry effect is replaced with a new one - Turbo. In Turbo mode, players are able to cancel any successful attack, upon hit or shield, into any other action except the same attack, and all aerial attacks auto cancel when landing, if they hit. Certain moves, such as Farore's Wind, consist of multiple actions and can be canceled into themselves. Turbo Mode has been compared to the Marvel vs. Capcom series, because it enables skilled players to perform extensive combos.
Notable Turbo-related resources:
While an official tier list has yet to be published, a preliminary tier list for version 3.02 was posted by CLASH Tournaments on March 26th, 2014. It was then followed by a finalized tier list on November 14th, 2014. Mewtwo notably received a perfect score of 10 out of 10, putting it in its own tier, the God Tier.
Though an official tier list was never released for version 3.5, it was generally agreed that only two characters could be considered "bottom tier." These characters were Olimar, whose recovery was too unreliable, and the Ice Climbers, who suffered from an unintended physics glitch that often caused Nana to self-destruct. As of version 3.6, Olimar has received a new recovery, and the glitch that plagued the Ice Climbers has been fixed.
Released February 8, 2011
Released April 17, 2012
Released May 23, 2012
Released December 29, 2012
Released January 6, 2013
Released July 17, 2013
The PMDT announced Project M 2.6 along with their new website design.
Released August 15, 2013
Released December 9, 2013
Released January 11, 2014
Released January 13, 2014
Released November 14, 2014
Project M version 3.6's beta was released on June 24th, 2015. It featured many changes, including:
Though originally planned to be a simple bugfix patch for the beta release, Project M 3.6 features a handful of new features as well:
The PMDT has claimed that Project M will receive future revisions and additions that improve gameplay modes and adding new cosmetic features. The primary goal revolves around establishing a perfectly balanced cast of anywhere from 41 to 46 characters.
The development team have also discussed the possibility of adding brand new characters, as the clone engine allows for a maximum of seven characters for the roster, meaning there are five characters left that the engine can create. Guidelines for new characters state that the character must appear in Brawl in some way (Mewtwo appears as a trophy and Roy appears as a sticker, for example) and cannot be a newcomer to Smash 4 (like Little Mac, Bowser Jr., Palutena, and Villager, despite their cameo appearances in Brawl). One of these slots has been hinted to be reserved for Knuckles the Echidna, as the official Project M Twitter account has posted a hypothetical "Project M & Knuckles" logo. Knuckles's inclusion has also been hinted in an April Fool's post on the /r/ssbpm subreddit, wherein Project M is described as "the best Playstation All-Star Battle Royal & Knuckles clone possible for the Apple Pippin."
Development of the Japanese version of Project M seems to have been cancelled indefinitely, as the few members of the PMDT that had developed the Japanese version are no longer a part of the team. As such, version 3.02 remains the "final" release of Project M in Japan. The PAL version of PM 3.5 was initially scheduled to release shortly after the NTSC version, but a blog post from the PMDT later announced that development of the PAL version would be put off until Project M's final release.
Future versions of Project M will include a few new art assets. Such examples show thus far include an alternate costume for Roy based on his Fire Emblem: Awakening design, Jigglypuff's green fighter headband from Melee, and a revamp of Zero Suit Samus that makes her Zero Suit less sexualized and more accurate to its original appearance in the Metroid series.
Despite having numerous updates over time, Project M currently experiences some minor errors outside the regular Versus modes, due to the mod's focus on the competitive aspect of the game over single-player aspects.
Project M can be downloaded here and requires only a SD card, non-PAL Wii or Wii U, and a non-PAL Brawl disc.
Applications to the Project M Dev Team can be made at the application subforum.
Response from Nintendo
Nintendo has not given an official response to Project M; however, it is largely assumed that the company does not approve of the mod. One policy Nintendo has taken has been issuing bans for mentioning Project M by name on any of Nintendo's Miiverse channels, because it allegedly constitutes "criminal activity". This includes using the abbreviation "PM", which can result in erroneous bans when talking about other games or series with the same abbreviation (such as Paper Mario, although this is allowed on the Paper Mario Community), or when used for miscellaneous purposes (such as denoting the daily time-span between noon and midnight).
In October 2014, it was announced that Project M would be dropped from the lineup of Apex 2015, with many qualifying tournaments also suspending their Project M events. While some qualifiers did feature Project M tournaments, no official online streams were available for such events apart from B.E.A.S.T 5 which was streamed on VGBootCamp; commentators on streams provided by VGBootCamp were also reportedly instructed to not mention Project M while on air. As Nintendo had previously begun involving itself with the competitive community, such as through the Super Smash Bros. Invitational at E3 and a video presentation from Nintendo of America's president Reggie Fils-Aimé at the conclusion of EVO 2014, it was strongly suspected this was due to Nintendo being involved with the event. It was later announced in January 2015 that Apex had officially partnered with Nintendo for Apex 2015, giving credence to this theory.
Since Apex 2015, many major tournaments have dropped Project M from their game rosters. In addition, VGBootCamp, which became well known for popularising the mod, later announced that they would no longer stream PM, and subsequently removed all PM content on their channel. All of these are generally attributed to either behind-the-scenes intervention by Nintendo or fears of encountering legal issues for featuring the game.