The dedicated fanbase of the Super Smash Bros. series was left hurting after last December's cancellation of Project M, an increasingly popular mod of Super Smash Bros. Brawl that combined Brawl's breadth of content with Melee's popular fighting mechanics and sprinkled new stages, music, and characters skins on top. Its fanservice was comparable to, or perhaps even greater than, that of the official Smash games themselves.
"Super Smash Bros. Legacy XP" may be able to fill that void, at least for some. Unlike Project M, whose team custom-developed its content, Legacy XP is a new project built on top of Project M by various hackers within the Brawl hacking community which distributes their content in a single package, with a sprinkle of Legacy XP's own custom-made content on top. We've previously seen individual mods that add fan-favorite characters like Waluigi, Ridley, and Geno to the playable fighter roster, as well as individual stages, character skins, and more. But with Legacy XP, players can get all of this content in a single unified build of Smash.
The team behind the Legacy XP modpack revealed a trailer for their project today, which you can see above. It highlights new characters like Geno, Waluigi, Metal Sonic, and Ridley, the five of whom join Brawl's roster alongside Lucina from Fire Emblem Awakening and every veteran fighter from Super Smash Bros. Melee, including Mewtwo, Roy, and even Pichu. There are fifty character slots in all, and many characters come with many alternate costumes that each have their own set of palette swaps. Some costumes will be familiar to Project M players, like Mewtwo's armor from the first Pokémon movie, Ness' pajamas from EarthBound, and Toon Link's garb from the outset of The Wind Waker; but others show an even deeper reverence for Nintendo's history, including multiple different outfits for various incarnations of Link, Zero Suit Samus, Captain Falcon, and more.
Legacy XP includes 78 "stage slots" that aren't so much individual stages, as they are in most Smash games, but rather categorical menus with as many as six variations on a stage, all accessible through a single slot. These variations can range from aesthetic tweaks, like weather effects or visual overhauls, to changes in the stage layout not unlike the Omega stages in Smash Bros. for Wii U and for Nintendo 3DS, and even to entirely different stages within the same universe. One of the project's leaders, David Kimball, tells me that between alternate layouts and aesthetic themes, there are over 700 stages in Legacy XP.
Though Legacy XP is largely built from where Project M left off, the announcement post on Smashboards explains that it is "not tournament-viable," and the trailer stresses that Legacy XP "is not attempting to continue Project M's development. Modpacks like this are simply made for fun."
It then teases the logos for two other Smash Bros. projects: "Retro Mode," which brings characters' skins and movesets from the original Smash Bros. into Brawl, and "Project Ganondorf," which gives Ganondorf two new movesets and dozens of alternate costumes. Kimball says both of these projects are in talks to join the Legacy XP bundle in future updates.
It's unclear just how authentic a Smash experience the new content in Legacy XP will provide when it launches, as eagle-eyed viewers will notice in the trailer that Lucina has at least one voice clip taken directly from Marth, and one of Pichu's taunt animations was made for Jigglypuff.
Authentically replicating the whole of the Smash experience may in fact be Legacy XP's greatest challenge in attracting new players. There seems to be an unprecedented breadth of content for stages and characters, but the means of accessing different types of content are determined on an individual basis. Kimball explained how this works on Smashboards, but told me that these methods are really more like "loose guidelines." He explained that some stages, for example, will load an Omega version when you hold Z, as it says in his Smashboards post. Holding Z on others, though, will load an aesthetic redesign. On some, holding B loads an aesthetic redesign, but holding B on Jungle Japes loads Melee's Kongo Jungle, a different stage entirely. Sometimes holding B, or Y, or X does nothing. Holding L always does something, but what that is you may not know until you've tried it before.
There's enough organizational logic that it's not chaos, but will players nevertheless be able to keep track of it all for 700 different stage options? "Probably not," Kimball said when I posed this question about the stage selection screen, "but it's all [there] and people can just explore." It's not exactly an encouraging comment, but the trailer does tell viewers to "expect on-going updates," so the team will likely have the opportunity to see how players react to these systems and improve them accordingly if necessary.
Super Smash Bros. Legacy XP launches "soon," says Kimball. Keep your eye on Gamnesia for more news as it comes in the following days.