Over the course of the past month, a Super Smash Bros: Ultimate modder created a mod that changed the game in only the smallest of ways. An integer change here, a couple of tweaks there, and Ultimate was playing more like Melee. Dubbed Project NX, the mod has received both hate and hype from the fanbase, with some tagging Nintendo in posts on Twitter in hopes of bringing the mod to an early end. To understand the how and the why of this mod, I spoke it its creator, Nyxtheshield.
One of the most astounding things about this mod is the speed at which it’s been produced and then further developed. It’s only been about a month since the release of Ultimate, and there’s already players changing the game? How did they even manage to do that so fast?
One thing to keep in mind is that players have already had access to the game’s data files. In fact, data mining in Super Smash Bros: Ultimate has already led to leaks of potential upcoming DLC characters from jam1garner, another prominent Smash modder. In fact, it was this user that Nyx spoke to at first when he came across unexpected lines of code in screencaps of data mined script. “I saw lines of code like walkspeed, run speed, so I messaged the user (jam1garner) about changing the values and he guided me through the process.” says Nyx.
His original changes, which were posted to his Twitter on Jan 4, were simple but had a profound impact on how the game could be played. By changing some of the global values in the game, like landing lag, Nyx was able to add a Melee-esque version of wavedashing into Ultimate. Soon enough, he was uploading clips to Twitter of Falco wavedashing and wavelanding. Since then, he’s been working to add more Melee mechanics, and at the time of writing, dash-dancing a-la Melee is the latest change. According to Nyx, the changes aren’t stopping there either. “All the changes I have done so far are global, but now the game is really unbalanced,” said Nyx. “some (characters) are way too fast or way too slow or have stupid combos, so a lot of that is going to need fine tuning.”
When I talked to Nyx about the mod and the comparisons that have been made so far between it and Project M, a Brawl mod that made the game play like Melee, he made one thing extremely clear. “I’m making this for me. I’m not doing this mod to replace Ultimate, I’m doing it for myself.” he explained.
Some fans REALLY have an issue with this mod, and are trying hard to get it shut down
However, replies to his posts on Twitter are continually flooded with players railing against Project NX, with some tagging Nintendo’s official twitter. They believe that it’s far too early to be messing with Ultimate, or that the mod is too much like PM and will only divide the Smash community even more. For Nyx, the outrage is unbelievable. “I’d say the reaction has been 70/30 so far.” says Nyx. “I don’t know why, I believe people should let people play what they want.”
In fact, comparisons to PM are the exact opposite of what Nyx wants, especially when you consider the fate of that fan-made mod. Development was halted shortly after its creators were served a cease and desist order by Nintendo due to its popularity, and the tournaments being run with it got shut down.
Despite the hate online and the constant - if not faraway - threat of a letter from Nintendo’s lawyers, Nyx is persisting in his quest to make Ultimate better for him. “I like Ultimate,” said Nyx, “but I can’t move or press a lot of buttons, which is why I like Melee more. This is just better for me.”
Although there is no plan for releasing Project NX, you can still follow its development at Nyx’s twitter, @Nyxtheshield.