So my brother is streaming DDLC right now, and I realized that I actually know very little about it, only what I've seen here on memes. So, partially out of concern for him, and mostly out of my own curiosity, I dove in. I've been up all night going down various rabbit holes, and I think I know almost everything about the game without playing it. But what surprised me the most was what I found out about the man behind the game, Dan Salvanto.
This is Dan Salvanto. He's made a variety of cool stuff in the past, including some mods for Smash. And what I could never have seen coming was that this man was a member of the Project M Dev Team.
See, Project M is probably my favorite game of all time, even though it doesn't deserve it. As many of you can probably relate to, my high school experience was... sub-optimal. I had some friends, but the whole "gifted-but-slipping" thing was strong with me. Very little excited me, and it all seemed pretty pointless. When I learned about Project M late in my freshman year, it became something I adored, practically an obsession. Everything they did to it was great, and every time something new came out it blew my mind.
On top of that, it brought me to the outskirts of a community. I never really joined in, but even lurking and reading the threads on r/SSBPM was all kinds of fun. I was learning a lot, getting better at a great game, and having a blast.
I still remember when 3.0 came out -- a cold winter day that much of the country had off. I was stuck in school with my imagination working overtime, unable to concentrate on anything. It had that much of a hold on me.
Keep in mind, this was long before Sm4sh, and Brawl was still a frustrating mess. A game that fixes all of that, adds back in Melee favorites, and adds so much flair it's blinding was the hottest **** I'd ever seen. Unfortunately, it was not to last.
Dec 2, 2015. Project M suddenly ceases development entirely, right on the cusp of some amazing new ****. Nobody knows why. The team makes it clear it is NOT a C&D, but the thought that they all simply lost interest is unthinkable. The subreddit I had called home changes too, with the mods cracking down on any discussion, even changing the rules in response to a question to make that question bannable. When some of their unfinished code is leaked, the vitriol by the people I had respected shocked me.
Even to this day, that time is a sore subject for me, and judging by pic related, it might be for Dan Salvanto too. (this is a screen that may replace the standard opener for DDLC)
Of course, equal to what I saw as betrayal by the dev team was the pain of losing this amazing thing. Some of this stuff they were working on was going to be incredible, and having it all go up in smoke hurt more deeply then it had any right to.
Of course, we eventually found out what the hell had happened -- a legal vulnerability was discovered that the PMDT knew, but those who could use it perhaps did not (source: https://www.gamnesia.com/news/the-real-reason-project-ms-developers-cancelled-the-smash-bros-mod-was-fear ). If they released anything else, instead of simply being hit with a C&D, they could be out millions of dollars. Their only hope was to vanish off the face of the earth and hope that none of the companies thought to look too deeply into their legal options. Their rage at the leak and their attempts to cover everything up were simply them lashing out in fear.
Most of the team is off doing their own thing now. Few things made me as sad as how Nanobuds mocks the Community Complete team (trying to make that leaked code into something) for their ineptitude, or seeing those talented modders finish their work and show it off but refuse to release it, but regardless of how I feel, the dream is dead. Though it saddened me, I tried to put it behind me, because it hurt too much not to.
This brings me back to DDLC, and to Dan. I heard he had done an AMA, and figured I'd read through it -- get his perspective and all. When I saw this answer though, I was hit hard -- all the sadness at the loss came flooding back. "You have to find a stopping point and move on." While Project M never truly got that luxury, I still have to do that -- I have to let it go, totally. I have to let the memory live, but the burden of my expectations die.
I know the whole "a poem is never actually finished, it just stops moving" line is far more relevant to DDLC, but right now all I can think about is the game that made some of my worst years more fun, and how even the community that loved it is fading. The poem may not be finished, but the game is and the community is slowing, and soon it will die.
Hold me FJ. I don't know how to deal with this.