Smash Players Thought They Were Friends With A Reclusive ‘God’ Developer, But Now Suspect She Duped Them

September 17, 2017 - Super Smash Bros

Illustration by Jim Cooke

Over a march of 3 years, an impostor assured a Smash community—as good as her friends, housemates and girlfriend—that she was a reserved and worshiped programmer behind a famous Smash mod, Project M, several sources tighten to a emanate say.

The ostensible impostor, who goes by many names and who we’ll call Katy for clarity, denies that she impersonated a Project M luminary, nonetheless 4 people have all told Kotaku a same story, and a sum line up. For 3 years, those people say, Katy assured western pockets of a Smash community that she had entrance to Project M’s formula and growth secrets. Katy even changed into a residence full of Smash players who believed that Project M was her baby, and now contend they are doubt a genuine temperament of their housemate, who has been blank from a residence given these revelations unfolded final week.


Those people contend that Katy has spent a past 3 years masquerading as one of Smash’s many private heroes and aggregation all a amicable poke that came with it. When a law came out, it was a harmful explanation to a village of players who once devoted this foreigner and, now, are left wondering usually who a ruin they let into their lives.

Jace Boostman is an irascible 22-year-old contest organizer who, in his executive Missouri hometown, once ran a weekly Smash event in his internal hobby shop. It was 2014, and amid Warhammer figurines and underneath a wall built high with Magic: The Gathering packs, Boostman and about 20 Smash fans competed during a Smash mod Project M. A fan plan designed by a sly group of developers, Project M was a Smash connoisseur’s anticipation after 2008’s Super Smash Bros. Brawl failed to broach on a critical rival intensity that a predecessor, Super Smash Bros. Melee, offered. The mod, that was downloaded over three million times, fueled a village of players whose tournaments drew in hundreds of entrants, including Smash celebrities like Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman and Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma. Project M’s ghastly authorised standing fit a developers’ low profiles.

The Project M Team, credit: a PMT

To emanate Project M, a Smash fans had to reconstruct Nintendo’s blockbuster height warrior from a belligerent up, calibrating a physics, characters’ support information and stages to their specifications. Its developers stayed secretive, mostly regulating usually their Smash gamer tags and forum usernames, out of regard about Nintendo’s lawyers. Although a developers of Project M gave it out for free, a mod used Nintendo’s egghead skill in ways that could positively consequence a stop and terminate letter. Of all a sly developers on Project M, one remained a many obscure: Magus, a luminary programmer of a crew.


One day, late in 2014, a new actor showed adult during Boostman’s Smash event, selecting a warrior Ganondorf. After a small conversation, Boostman remembers, a actor emitted that she was, in fact, a good Project M programmer Magus. As they talked some-more and got closer over a months that passed, Boostman recalls how this Magus (or, for clarity, Katy) would trip into stream-of-consciousness recitations of a frame-rate or dash-back differences between Project M and 2001’s Super Smash Bros Melee. Sometimes she’d recite Ganondorf sequence squeeze percentages that, online, had been notation in ancient forum posts by a Project M development team. Boostman, who admits he can’t keep a secret, widespread word that he’d met Magus, generating hum opposite Missouri’s Smash community. What finished this news surprising, though, was that nonetheless Magus’s praises had been sung opposite a country, he was famous as a recluse.

The genuine Magus built his repute by creation and modifying many of Project M’s code, producing a engine and several of a game’s biggest coding breakthroughs. “The ‘M’ in ‘Project M’ should mount for ‘Magus,’” pronounced a Project M developer who goes usually by a name David. “He was a talent wizard.” Although he had no other amicable media presence, Magus would swoop into a Project M IRC plead channel “whenever someone pronounced something wrong, like there was a Bat Signal,” David recalls. And then, with a develop of his hand, he’d solve some unsolvable problem. Then, he would disappear again. Nobody on a Project M development group knew who Magus was or how to hit him solely for one or dual people. His life was a finish enigma. People suspected that he competence live in New Jersey or Pennsylvania.

“It’s crazy how his life is a poser to everyone, nonetheless he’s this god,” David said. “He’s famous. But he doesn’t like amicable interaction.”

In Dec 2015, Project M shuttered. Its developers contend they sealed emporium since they feared Nintendo’s wrath. “We saw them going after Pokemon fan games, Metroid fan games,” David said. “It was always a thing in a behind of a heads.” Players presented choice theories—had Nintendo threatened authorised action?—but nobody found justification ancillary them. The usually certain thing was that Project M was passed and, soon, a aptitude would shortly hiss out, too.

The Balcony/image pleasantness of Jonathan Hale

Boostman eventually left Missouri to pierce into a Project M house—a arrange of Smash frat—in Southern California. That house, referred to as a “Balcony” (because of a college inside joke), was co-run by California State, Fullerton students Alex Wallace and Adrian Nieto, dual Project M fanatics who met study film. They had usually started laying a grounds for their initial vital production, an review into because Project M was made, how it amassed such a strong following, and what led it to die out. Often, they discussed these questions among friends during home. And it was transparent that, to get to a bottom of Project M, they’d have to lane down a game’s closed developers.

“On day one of preproduction, we kept bringing adult Magus,” Nieto told me. From a subsequent room over, where he was examination anime, Boostman overheard. “Shit. we know Magus,” Boostman remembers saying. “She’s in Missouri.”


Over Facebook, Wallace contacted Katy. She responded fast nonetheless was, during first, demure to plead Project M’s growth or her purpose on it. She wanted to be friends first. So, for months, a span got to know Katy. “We were perplexing to get her to trust us and clamp versa,” Nieto said. When Katy mentioned she was relocating to SoCal in a summer of 2017, Nieto and Wallace charity her a room in a Balcony. Katy accepted.

The Balcony/image pleasantness of Jonathan Hale

For over dual months, Katy lived during a Balcony, personification Smash with visitors and roving with Wallace and Nieto opposite a nation for their documentary. In games, she mostly chose a Project M warrior Ganondorf, famous to be one of Magus’s cherished creations. Wallace and Nieto remember that Katy’s Smash tag was a specific set of Kanji characters—Japanese lettering—seen in a few YouTube videos that exist of a genuine Magus personification Project M. Katy, however, denied regulating that Smash tab when contacted by Kotaku.


At home, Wallace and Nieto contend that Katy would spasmodic uncover off formula she was operative on. She’d also publicize other mods she was editing, they said, like a Zelda skin that envisioned a princess lonesome in blood from conduct to toe. Although she would not recognition to an talk for a documentary utterly yet, Katy would hold specific sum about conflicts and breakthroughs in a growth of Project M. She seemed to know about a private, excruciatingly exhilarated IRC discuss over how Zelda should be designed. (David, a Project M developer, pronounced he has no suspicion how Katy had that information.) Katy also, according to Wallace and Nieto, would explain that Nintendo member communicated privately with her about a authorised standing of Project M. Katy also denied that she had finished that.

In a tail finish of this summer, things started to unravel. Wallace and Nieto trafficked mostly to film Project M players and figureheads for their documentary, which, in Jul 2017, brought them to New York. In a behind room of a New York Smash tournament, Wallace and Nieto sat down with David, who was a genuine get for their documentary. That’s when they mentioned to him that they’d been vital with Magus.

“I hadn’t talked to Magus in 3 years, so we had no suspicion what was going on in his life,” David said, “but what they told me was strange.” David did not doubt them, nonetheless felt like something was off. “The initial red dwindle was that they pronounced their Magus was outgoing,” he said. Also, their Magus lived in SoCal. To his knowledge, a genuine Magus had never even visited southern California.


Wallace and Nieto didn’t consider most of it until late Aug when David, who was still assisting with a documentary, common a design from a 2012 Smash tournament with a documentarians—a singular shot of a whole Project M team together in genuine life. Second to a right was a tall, long-faced lanky male with straight, brief hair and glasses. 2012’s Magus looked zero like a Magus who was vital with Wallace and Nieto. Katy was transgender, while a genuine Magus was apparently a cis man, according to David and other Project M developers.

Wallace and Nieto got in hit with Project M devs, as good as Katy’s Missouri friends and long-distance partner to review notes. Where was Katy from? What was she doing before to Jace Boostman’s Project M tournaments? Where was she vital during Project M’s development? What was her authorised initial name? Furious Googling and fact-checking among Katy and Magus’s friends suggested that contribution about Katy’s life did not line adult with what small was famous about a genuine Project M developer.

In a meantime, Wallace and Nieto were attending Los Angeles Smash tournament Gods and Gatekeepers, where they hoped to assemble with Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman, a mythological Smash player. Zimmerman was famous to have corresponded with Magus—they both lived in New Jersey—and a few YouTube videos uploaded by a Magus420 criticism uncover Zimmerman competing opposite a Project M developer, who played Ganondorf. (Knowing Zimmerman was something Wallace and Nieto remember Katy spasmodic bragging about.) After holding home initial prize, Zimmerman went backstage, where Nieto met him with a design of Magus and a lot of questions.


Nieto pronounced he showed Zimmerman his 2012 sketch of Magus and, then, a sketch of Katy. Zimmerman was certain, according to Nieto, that Katy was not Magus.

“I didn’t unequivocally have a reason to not trust it,” Boostman said. “There was unequivocally a suspicion early on, ‘Is it unequivocally Magus? That’s so crazy that Magus is here [in Missouri].’ Someone could be creation this up, nonetheless that sounds stupider, really.”

Wallace was a one to confront this foreigner who had been vital with them for scarcely 3 months. “I exploded,” Wallace recalled. “I asked her, ‘Dude, who a fuck are you?’” Within minutes, it became transparent that a chairman who they had suspicion for months was Magus, a pivotal to their documentary and a staggering figure in Smash lore, was indeed a totally different person.


“I deliberate this chairman one of my best friends,” Wallace said. “We have no suspicion who a fuck this chairman is. . . Everyone in Missouri suspicion it was Magus. There is things this chairman knows that would be irrational for someone not concerned with a growth of Project M to know.”

Wallace and Nieto

Wallace told Katy to get out. That night, she and Nieto stayed in a hotel, shocked that a crony they’d been pity dishes with, roving with, and brushing their teeth subsequent to was indeed a finish stranger. When they got behind to a Balcony, Katy was gone, and nonetheless a feign Magus’s automobile is still in their parking lot, Wallace and Nieto do not know where she is.


Katy declined steady requests to criticism for this article, nonetheless she was peaceful to get on a phone for a fact-check, during that she pronounced she was not Magus and insisted that she had not claimed to be a developer on Project M.

But dual members of Project M’s growth group and even a genuine Magus have reliable that a feign Magus did penetrate a Project M community underneath a guise of a famous developer.

“It wouldn’t be too tough to burlesque him,” David said, “because nobody unequivocally knows anything about him. He’s been a spook this whole time. “The altogether greeting to this among a dev group is, ‘Who a ruin could this be?!’”


While stating for this piece, we reached out to a genuine Magus on a Smash forum where he has been posting for over a decade underneath a hoop Magus420, charity notation sum about Project M’s development. Knowing how still and reserved he was, we didn’t design to hear behind from him. After all, if anyone could simply strech out to him by private message, how could an impostor dope everybody for 3 years? If he was permitted by DMs, because wouldn’t someone in a Balcony have contacted him by now?

Then we saw a new private summary in my inbox.

“Hadn’t listened of it until usually this week,” pronounced a message, created by Magus420. “Pretty uncanny we suppose, nonetheless nowhere nearby as unsettling as those directly concerned in those scenes I’m sure. Someone pulling that off for as prolonged as they did while looking zero even remotely like me kind of says something about my participation outward of my segment though, lol.”

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