Popular Smash Bros. Mod "Project M" Immediately Halts Development

Popular Smash Bros. Mod "Project M" Immediately Halts Development

project M mod

The official Project M website has been stripped of all download links to the mod.

Project M, the ambitious Super Smash Bros. Brawl mod that adds dozens of balance changes, customization options, and even new characters, has suddenly and immediately halted all development, and cancelled the upcoming 3.61 patch. The official website for the mod has been completely stripped bare, removing all videos, download links, and screenshots related to the mod, and instead offering up a simple notice explaining the situation.

"We've made a difficult business decision: We're ready to finish development here and move on to bigger and better ventures," said the team. "We realize that this will come as a shock to many of our fans. Please, forgive us."

"As the PMDev team will be formally disbanded, please forward all official communications regarding Project M to video game attorney and business consultant Ryan Morrison," it added.

This news should indeed come as a shock, as Project M, despite altering a Nintendo property without the consent of the original developer, has been so far immune to any legal action or cease and desist letters from the company. Quite impressive when you consider it has been in development for six whole years.

Of course, quite a few conspiracy theories have sprung up suggesting that the big N has finally decided to bring the hammer down on Project M behind the scenes, which is what led to this sudden cancellation.

We may never know the full story behind Project M. While I personally didn't care much for it, I certainly wholeheartedly support the modding community and their right to modify video games.

Source: Project M

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Would be pretty cool if he's doing this because they gave him a job.

This sounds rather like the end of Mechwarrior: Living Legends development.

Oh high guys we've decided to through away a bunch of years work for no reason and destroy it all. This was in no way predicated by contact from lawyers making very nasty threats we totally decided to do this for ourselves.

If they all suddenly turn up in development positions elsewhere or put out a fighting game of their own then it will make sense, but such an abrupt and total decision sounds awfully like the deployment of lawyers.

While I recognize modders put a lot of time and energy into their work, and sometimes create amazing things, even things that shadow their fully commercial bases- six years is an awful long time to go around tip-toeing past the parents' bedroom in the hope they don't hear you. Especially when the parent company has created their own sequel and is selling DLC for it. Hello?

There comes a point where you need to stop hand-waving and murmuring, "Well, it's all technically kind of a gray area" and actually ask the creators if they're okay with you continuing to build on their efforts. And in that regard, anything past about the one year mark is just asking to add a sob story of flushing your efforts down the drain to your resume.

I don't know, of course, if Nintendo finally actually cleared their throat or Project M looked up one day and realized they could be making something commercially saleable instead of a mod for a game that's about to become two system-generations obsolete. But in either case, at the risk of sounding unsympathetic, it sounds like high time they moved on. Maybe they should have done a better job of warning their followers that this was coming, but it's difficult in either case for me to think the blame for that belongs anywhere but on them.

Ticklefist:
Would be pretty cool if he's doing this because they gave him a job.

They made him an offer he couldn't refuse alright.

They just wanted to start work on their new mod: Project Other M

If only..

I'm still going to go with 'Nintendo pulled a Nintendo'.

Nintendo: We Hate Gamers Almost As Much As We LOVE Conflict Minerals.
;)

It's so sad to see my childhood ruined by facts and questionable business practices.

Tanis:
I'm still going to go with 'Nintendo pulled a Nintendo'.

Nintendo: We Hate Gamers Almost As Much As We LOVE Conflict Minerals.
;)

It's so sad to see my childhood ruined by facts and questionable business practices.

The scary thing: Shit like this is tame compared to what Nintendo used to pull back in the 80s and early 90s, when they pretty much had a monopoly on popular gaming.

Dictating to developers what they could or could not produce, and when they could publish, for starters.
Their anti-modding position even goes back to those times, when they sued Galoob (and failed, thankfully) over the Game Genie, trying to get it pulled from the market.

There's a reason I call them the 'Disney of Gaming'; beneath the family-friendly exterior is a corporate machine as cold and cynical as any other.

Well, while development of the game has ended, I'd say that even if Ninten-Ninjas had something to do with it, this is one of those cases where I can't get too mad at them.

It's not like other mods of games people have been looking forward to, where the damn thing was in the middle of development and then got one-shotted by the license holder JUST before the game came out (Lookin' at you, Square. Lookin' at you, Hasbro). Project M is finished and has been getting patches, character inclusions, modes, costumes and stages for 6 whole years. This game is pretty much as complete as it'll get, it has managed to entirely separate itself from Melee and Brawl in the best way, it's already in heavy circulation among the fanbase (so it'll never, ever truly die) and tournaments of it will continue to be held and streamed. In fact, since continuing development has stopped, and no more balance patches will be introduced, the metagame for tourney level play can now have a chance to really evolve, just like Melee's has.

As abrupt as it is, this isn't a loss for Project M, because they'd already fuckin' won years ago.

image

Didn't even realize Project M was still ongoing. I thought it was just a single mod. Granted, I was never interested in it to begin with (why ruin Brawl by making it more like Melee, and not in the good ways?), but still.

...please tell me Brawl- is still safe.

Well they were messing with Nintendo, everyone already knew from the start this shit will happen, as long as you can make it out with all limbs attached in these encounters you got off easy.
And I presume the mod can still be found around the interwebs even if the creators aren't permitted to upload.

Eh, not sad to see something that wasn't even good go the way of the cassette player. Wouldn't be surprised if we saw a "Microsoft Everybody - Conflicting Melee" or something in the future from 'em.

praisegrima

I never bothered to check it out, but Project M, or rather its concept, always sounded interesting. I always like the concept of customizing products, because sometimes what's on the market just doesn't suit your needs or desires.

My only hope is whatever really caused them to stop will not affect the hacking communities for some older games. There's a lot of games (and styles, for some franchises that somewhat changed genres) that many companies (including our friends at Nintendo) haven't made proper sequels to in years. I'd hate for fear of the shift in leadership at Nintendo or that demonic TPP to kill off a lot of creativity that breathes new life into old games. It wouldn't surprise me if many others followed the Project M dev team, though.

KoudelkaMorgan:
They just wanted to start work on their new mod: Project Other M

If only..

Now that's a game that could use some "minor" adjustments. Ah, if only...

BX3:
Well, while development of the game has ended, I'd say that even if Ninten-Ninjas had something to do with it, this is one of those cases where I can't get too mad at them.

[snipped for length]

As abrupt as it is, this isn't a loss for Project M, because they'd already fuckin' won years ago.

That's a good point. Chrono Resurrection, and the fan-sequel, Crimson Echoes, were passion projects for a pretty much dead franchise, but Square killed them off.[1] (Hasbro was probably just doing the typical "protecting the image of its IPs" deal. I think they like doing that a lot with MLP.)

Nintendo let a mod to a recent game on their, at the time, current system go on for years. That is surprising for such a protective company to let something like that continue (especially with the other Wii hacking and DS R4 cart issues going on around that time). It might even set a precedent, one that Big N may or may not be currently trying to destroy before it is fully set.

[1] BTW, fuck you, Square. A pretty much finished Crimson Echoes got leaked, so fans can enjoy a new Chrono game, while you only pump out re-releases of your classics.

I didn't even know what this was, but...I kind of like these ambitious projects. It's a shame to see them vanish.

Johnny Novgorod:

They made him an offer he couldn't refuse alright.

He woke up with Epona's severed head next to him.

fix-the-spade:
This sounds rather like the end of Mechwarrior: Living Legends development.

Oh high guys we've decided to through away a bunch of years work for no reason and destroy it all. This was in no way predicated by contact from lawyers making very nasty threats we totally decided to do this for ourselves.

If they all suddenly turn up in development positions elsewhere or put out a fighting game of their own then it will make sense, but such an abrupt and total decision sounds awfully like the deployment of lawyers.

Actually it wasnt even lawyers that contacted the MWLL guys... they had a "sit down" with the MWO devs who told them that "it would be a shame if you split the community, right? *wink wink, nudge nudge*"

That way they still could claim to not having pressured the MWLL guys with legal action while shutting down the one direct competitior they had left since the mektek guys had given up long ago.

This case does smell something fierce of corporate shenanigans, dont know if it was nintendo or something else but such drastic measures usually have legal backgrounds. Especially taking down ALL download links without any warning.

Given it took Nintendo 6 years to get round to it, might mean Isaac won the character poll? He was in Project M Ithink

Gonna blame the Smash Bros community for trying to make a competitive game out of a party game on this one.[/sardonic]

Wait, so, I'm confused. Nintendo pulls a super fucking shitty move on the levels of Konami... And everyone here's just shrugging and saying oh well? As if it's no big freaking deal? The PM community is HUGE now. WTF. They just destroyed a beloved mod and a community and everyone's just like, "Oh well."

Not to mention, I'm sure the modders here were doing this for a fucking living and now, they're out of work because of Nintendo. And no one even bats an eyelash.

#FuckNintendo

image

From now on, Nintendo is not getting anymore of my money for a very long time.

Arnoxthe1:
Wait, so, I'm confused. Nintendo pulls a super fucking shitty move on the levels of Konami... And everyone here's just shrugging and saying oh well? As if it's no big freaking deal? The PM community is HUGE now. WTF. They just destroyed a beloved mod and a community and everyone's just like, "Oh well."

Not to mention, I'm sure the modders here were doing this for a fucking living and now, they're out of work because of Nintendo. And no one even bats an eyelash.

#FuckNintendo

image

From now on, Nintendo is not getting anymore of my money for a very long time.

The reason is most likely because the theory of Ninty having something to do with it hasn't entirely been confirmed yet. Maybe they did can it. Maybe the PM develpers just want to move on to another project. Maybe Ninty ate them and now they have jobs there. No one truly knows at this point, it's mostly just guess work.

And in any case, this news doesn't mean the mod has been killed, it means that the developers will no longer be updating it. Like I said in my earlier post, Project M will never die, because it's already being circulated.

Ticklefist:
Would be pretty cool if he's doing this because they gave him a job.

Nope, that would make sense and if we've learned anything from gaming media it's that these bastards don't have any of that to spare past finding their own assholes to wipe.

BX3:
The reason is most likely because the theory of Ninty having something to do with it hasn't entirely been confirmed yet. Maybe they did can it. Maybe the PM develpers just want to move on to another project. Maybe Ninty ate them and now they have jobs there. No one truly knows at this point, it's mostly just guess work.

And in any case, this news doesn't mean the mod has been killed, it means that the developers will no longer be updating it. Like I said in my earlier post, Project M will never die, because it's already being circulated.

Yes, they totally wanted to move on. Which is why they shut down all official download channels, killed all the official videos and screenshots, and shut down the ENTIRE forum and site and all their years of hard work without ANY prior notice whatsofreakingever, and the goodbye page points to an attorney for any further inquiries... This has legal action WRITTEN ALL OVER IT. Heck, just google "Project M" and look around a bit. You'll see a bunch of leaks including the then-about-to-be-released 3.61 version as well. They totally did NOT want to do this.

Nintendo stepped in and decided to be bitches. That's what it is. I don't blame the PM team in the slightest. They did what they had to do. Nintendo got all pouty and decided to be a fucking asshole. No if's, and's, or but's about it. I'd stake solid money on it.

image again to Nintendo.

Arnoxthe1:
Not to mention, I'm sure the modders here were doing this for a fucking living and now, they're out of work because of Nintendo. And no one even bats an eyelash.

Thats not exactly legal, you know. I don't think there's ever been a case that went to court but there's definitely a lot of gray area for people getting paid for making mods, whether the mods have a cost to download or there's some sort of donation process to the creator. Patreon itself is a whole other category where it could be fairly said that they're being to make mods of a property that they don't own, especially if they include donation awards that are mod content. Thats the same reason that Patreon artists are getting in hot water over Rule 34 creations.

Arnoxthe1:
Yes, they totally wanted to move on. Which is why they shut down all official download channels, killed all the official videos and screenshots, and shut down the ENTIRE forum and site and all their years of hard work without ANY prior notice whatsofreakingever

While I'm of the mindset that Nintendo lawyers probably were involved I should point out that even if this was voluntary they have a good reason to shut the project down and all of its materials, as keeping it hosted will still make them vulnerable to lawsuit. Even if they weren't continuing to update it they would still be hosting it, possibly for some sort of profit. Its a smart move to cover their arses and if they actually gave a warning that they were shutting it down it potentially could show up as evidence against them in a court case later on.

MarsAtlas:

Arnoxthe1:
Not to mention, I'm sure the modders here were doing this for a fucking living and now, they're out of work because of Nintendo. And no one even bats an eyelash.

Thats not exactly legal, you know. I don't think there's ever been a case that went to court but there's definitely a lot of gray area for people getting paid for making mods, whether the mods have a cost to download or there's some sort of donation process to the creator. Patreon itself is a whole other category where it could be fairly said that they're being to make mods of a property that they don't own, especially if they include donation awards that are mod content. Thats the same reason that Patreon artists are getting in hot water over Rule 34 creations.

Arnoxthe1:
Yes, they totally wanted to move on. Which is why they shut down all official download channels, killed all the official videos and screenshots, and shut down the ENTIRE forum and site and all their years of hard work without ANY prior notice whatsofreakingever

While I'm of the mindset that Nintendo lawyers probably were involved I should point out that even if this was voluntary they have a good reason to shut the project down and all of its materials, as keeping it hosted will still make them vulnerable to lawsuit. Even if they weren't continuing to update it they would still be hosting it, possibly for some sort of profit. Its a smart move to cover their arses and if they actually gave a warning that they were shutting it down it potentially could show up as evidence against them in a court case later on.

The question isn't if what the PM team did is strictly legal. Copyright law is super murky and sometimes super stupid which favors the companies. Nevertheless, the mod was strictly free. No one had to pay a cent for it. The question isn't whether Nintendo CAN sue them. It's whether they should. And they DEFINITELY should not have. It was super douchey of them to do. The community may survive through this but it's just been dealt a serious blow. Of which blow Nintendo should never have thrown.

And really, what good does this do at all in an even strictly cold calculating sense? Do they honestly think fans of PM are just going to shrug and start buying more Nintendo products? No! They're gonna fucking rage. And they should. It wasn't doing any harm to Nintendo. A lot of PM fans were actually fans who bought the new SSB too. So no real business was lost... And normal SSB fans were fine with PM and just left it alone.

Look, Nintendo didn't need to do this. It was a dick move. They shattered a community and bust apart an amazing dev team with serious talent. That's all there is to it. And I don't know about everyone else but I'm doing my own personal boycott.

I played Project M shortly after Samus was released. It was leagues better than Brawl, and lightyears ahead of Melee, but I don't see the point. I have Smash Bros.: Rumble (In the Bronx) on my 3DS, and that's honestly much better than Project M.
Hell, I can even use my 3DS as a controller if I want the ideal control scheme when playing Smash Bros.: Rumble (In the Jungle) on my friend's WiiU. Project M just doesn't have a reason to exist anymore.

Arnoxthe1:
The question isn't if what the PM team did is strictly legal. Copyright law is super murky and sometimes super stupid which favors the companies. Nevertheless, the mod was strictly free. No one had to pay a cent for it.

The owner of the property still has the right to order a cease-and-desist though. There's even some legitimate points to be made, such as a fan creation using the property damages the property. That one is generally hard to pull off for anything that isn't in the same medium as the original property, but since Project M is a game like Smash Bros is there's a case to be made.

The question isn't whether Nintendo CAN sue them. It's whether they should. And they DEFINITELY should not have. It was super douchey of them to do. The community may survive through this but it's just been dealt a serious blow. Of which blow Nintendo should never have thrown.

Oh no question there. There's often an argument on the side of the property owner that it creates disinterest in officially licensed products and while anybody interested in Project M probably got the new Smash Bros that defense wouldn't hold up in court because thats not really the sort of thing you can actually prove in court.

And really, what good does this do at all in an even strictly cold calculating sense? Do they honestly think fans of PM are just going to shrug and start buying more Nintendo products?

Yes. It makes more sense to do this now too, given that they've finally released a Smash Bros that has post-release content being produced and sold. One could reasonably make the point that interest in Project M drives attention away from Smash Bros U/Smash Bros 3DS.

Look, Nintendo didn't need to do this. It was a dick move. They shattered a community and bust apart an amazing dev team with serious talent. That's all there is to it. And I don't know about everyone else but I'm doing my own personal boycott.

Oh, absolutely not. Lets not pretend that there isn't a reasonable underlying point to it besides just being zealous about copyright, though. This happened with a title already mentioned in this thread, Mechwarrior Living Legends, when they decided to release a new Mechwarrior game. They've done this with various AvP fan titles in anticipation of officially licensed AvP titles. They're not entirely wrong in doing this because, to a degree, it does draw attention away from licensed products. Like some of these previously mentioned titles, having an established community actually opens the door to making a title of their own that they can actually sell and make a business out of so its not like its the end of the road for them either.

Arnoxthe1:
Yes, they totally wanted to move on. Which is why they shut down all official download channels, killed all the official videos and screenshots, and shut down the ENTIRE forum and site and all their years of hard work without ANY prior notice whatsofreakingever, and the goodbye page points to an attorney for any further inquiries... This has legal action WRITTEN ALL OVER IT. Heck, just google "Project M" and look around a bit. You'll see a bunch of leaks including the then-about-to-be-released 3.61 version as well. They totally did NOT want to do this.

Nintendo stepped in and decided to be bitches. That's what it is. I don't blame the PM team in the slightest. They did what they had to do. Nintendo got all pouty and decided to be a fucking asshole. No if's, and's, or but's about it. I'd stake solid money on it.

image again to Nintendo.

For what it's worth, your interpretation seems likely to me as well. If they weren't acting under some sort of duress, they would have provided at minimum a link to the code in development. And the fact that the only contact information provided is an attorney only reinforces that conclusion.

Fortunately, the code is widely-enough circulated at this point that a new development community will (hopefully) rise from the ashes and carry on the project.

Mortuorum:
Fortunately, the code is widely-enough circulated at this point that a new development community will (hopefully) rise from the ashes and carry on the project.

Well... Believe it or not, this actually could be a good thing for the PM community. As it was, the PM team often put out balance patches at a steady rate. This unfortunately though had the problem of not allowing the meta game to grow at all. But now that development has finally stopped, that can start now, uninhibited by anymore big changes to the balance.

However, I am for one more build to be released. A bug fix build that could possibly have more alt costumes for the characters. That's really about it though and I also think that we should wait for even that before we release it.

 

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