Why the Internet mourned Project M

In a surprise announcement that shocked fans, the team behind Project M, a fan-made modification to Super Smash Bros

In a surprise announcement that shocked fans, the team behind Project M, a fan-made modification to Super Smash Bros. Brawl, shut its doors this week.

The reaction to the announcement was so tremendous that it reached the top of r/all on Reddit.


The development team didn’t give a reason for its sudden decision, but many theories point to mounting pressure from Nintendo. With the release of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U earlier this year, the game company began dropping all promotional and financial support for events that hosted the mod. It’s widely speculated that the company felt that its latest iteration of Smash had fixed the wrongs of Brawl. Regardless, fans all over the Internet have been paying homage to the modification.

Top professional Smash players from all corners of the competitive scene shared their thoughts on the closure over social media, grieving a game that had somehow endured even as it was forced to the sidelines. Earlier this year, for instance, Project M was dropped from Apex as well as other prominent Smash tournaments. Twitch made it so that streamers who streamed Project M would be unable to recieve a subscribe button, greatly limiting its ability to raise funds. Many Project M tournaments have had to look for other streaming options, turning to the likes of Hitbox.tv.

Others were less anguished and doubled down on supporting the game by continuing to host and compete in tournaments, even if it meant that updates would be coming to an end.

The most poignant piece of commentary came from Joey “Lucky” Aldama via a lengthy post on Facebook. He described Project M as the game with “unlimited potential” and sees its closure as a sort of true completion of the game. Aldama feels that players can fully explore its contours without being worried of major changes following a patch—a blessing in disguise. Lucky is a top Melee player from California who also had a storied career playing Project M.

I have viewed it as a Smash game with Unlimited potential… unfortunately I have been waiting patiently for the developers to find a balance of their own preference to announce that the game is completed before I devoted myself fully to it. For them to truly believe that the game was finished regardless of what the community said… however now that it will no longer be capable of being updated it brings me a new hope. It brings me hope that the community will give up on asking for a quick fix to anything that might seem overpowered or underpowered. It brings me hope that the community will truly dive deeper into the game more than ever before to truly find what the game is capable of In a version that will never be patched… let’s see where the Meta goes from here and look forward to the future of the game!

Beyond all the serious and mournful comments, there was a bit of fun to be had. It wouldn’t be the Smash community if there wasn’t any smack talk.

One of the most telling pieces of evidence of Project M’s demise was it being dropped from Smash Bros. streaming channel VG Boot Camp in February. The owner of VGBC, Calvin “GimR” Lofton, made a post on SmashBoards, the largest and most active Smash forum, explaining the decision. He discussed the game’s legal gray area, and how it could potentially impact the future of his company.

The Smash scene had been abuzz with a development build that was leaked on 4chan. It contained the addition of three new characters, all of whom had never been in a Smash game prior. It may have all started off as a joke when the official Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter account asked fans to add “& Knuckles” to everything.

The development build included Knuckles, as well as Lyn from Fire Emblem, and Isaac from Golden Sun.

Clearly there was intention to bring more to Project M. While its shutdown was unfortunate, there still is a very dedicated community that will continue to play and support the game. The growth of its community will be interesting to watch. It could go either one of three ways: grow, stagnate, or fizzle out. Considering the game has survived this long on grassroots efforts, we would not be surprised to see Project M tournaments continue for years to come.

Photo via Imad Khan