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 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 has been commonly featured at several national tournaments, such as the Zenith series, The Big House series, and Apex 2014, and is the only mod to have reached national tournament-level popularity. Starting around 2012-2013, Project M saw a rapid rise in its popularity as more characters became playable and the mod has been 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.
On December 1, 2015, the mod's development team announced that it would end further development.
Project M 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, Kirby, and 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. Furthermore, a leaked development build indicated that development on four new characters was in progress at the time of the project's cancellation, leading to a planned total of 45 characters; these characters are Knuckles from the Sonic universe, Lyn from the Fire Emblem universe, Isaac from the Golden Sun universe, and Sami from the Advance Wars universe.
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 thus be canceled into themselves. Turbo Mode has been compared to the Marvel vs. Capcom series, because it enables skilled players to perform extensive combos.
Turbo mode can be selected from the Special Brawl menu, or temporarily granted by the "Turbo" item, which replaces Superspicy Curry. While in Turbo Mode, characters emit faint purple flame effects (compared to the red flame effects of Curry).
Notable Turbo-related resources:
The PMDT did not publish an official tier list. On March 26th, 2014, CLASH Tournaments published a preliminary tier list for version 3.02, 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. Many fighters that generally did poorly in Melee and Brawl have seen large improvements in their tier placings, such as Zelda going from a low tier to an upper-mid tier.
No tier list was ever released for version 3.5, though it was generally agreed that only two characters could be considered "bottom tier"; Olimar, whose recovery was too unreliable, and the Ice Climbers, who suffered from a physics glitch that often caused Nana to self-destruct. As of version 3.6, both of these issues have been fixed.
On July 21st, 2016, a new tier list for version 3.6 was released, shown below.
Released February 8, 2011
Released April 17, 2012
Released May 23, 2012
Released December 29, 2012
The following are in the release, but not limited to:
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
The mod officially leaves the "Demo" development and is now an official mod. 3.0 also marks the first version to contain the entire Brawl roster, along with Roy and Mewtwo, and becomes the final roster onwards.
Released January 11, 2014
Released January 13, 2014
Released November 14, 2014
Various character changes to adjust game balance, most especially to nerf recoveries and burst movement options that were seen as overpowered in previous versions.
Released June 24th, 2015
Released August 16th, 2015
Due to Project M's focus on the competitive aspect of the game, the mod experiences some minor errors regarding non-competitive aspects:
The mod can be downloaded here and requires only a SD card, non-PAL Wii or Wii U, and a non-PAL Brawl disc.
The team has dissolved after the ending of development of Project M, but they are of course still credited.
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.
As of December 1, 2015, the Project M Development Team ultimately decided to conclude developing the mod, shutting down their official page and removing the download links from the site, leaving a farewell message on the main page where the developers feel their work and last version of Project M complete and therefore pursue original ventures. Reasons for the conclusion weren't clearly specified, but according to a tweet, legal issues were not the cause with the cease of the mod. Later on, a statement from a former member of the development team explained that it was a preemptive measure for fear of potential legal issues against Nintendo in the future, in which the team voluntarily finished the development of Project M altogether.