Skyrim Anniversary Edition Will Break Special Edition Mods, Dev Warns
The Anniversary Edition of Skyrim will break mods despite serving as an updated rerelease following the recent Skyrim Special Edition. Developer Bethesda is celebrating Skyrim’s 10th anniversary by releasing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition, an updated version of Skyrim Special Edition – the latter of which already includes many additional features with over 500 Creation Club mod elements. Bethesda also announced that Skyrim Anniversary Edition will include a new fishing mechanic for the Dragonborn to use along bodies of water. Anniversary Edition will integrate these new additions on top of the graphical updates introduced with Skyrim Special Edition.
Mods are a huge part of why Skyrim has remained relevant almost a decade later. Vanilla Skyrim already offers hundreds of hours of content, but mods have propelled that figure into the thousands. Because of the quality of some of these mods, Bethesda has hired their mod authors for positions at the company. Other creations have taken a life of their own outside of the game. Examples include The Forgotten City, a quest mod, and Enderal, a standalone game built within Skyrim.
According to Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE) developer extrwi on Reddit, Skyrim Anniversary Edition will break many of Skyrim Special Edition’s mods – and they will remain broken for an unknown amount of time. The SKSE is a tool that aids Skyrim mods by increasing scripting capabilities and game functionality, and has been frequently used for native code modding Skyrim since its release around four years ago. As a result, many of the game’s mods use this code; and if Skyrim Anniversary Edition isn’t compatible with the SKSE, then these mods won’t function properly. The issue lies with the code of Skyrim, which Bethesda updated for Skyrim Special Edition and will be updated again for Skyrim Anniversary Edition. While the code switch updates the game’s compiler, it also eliminates hundreds of readable functions for Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE) – meaning that modders must rewrite from scratch if their mod uses SKSE.
A vast majority of Skyrim mods on Nexus use SKSE – or another script extension mod called “Address Library” – to function. Seeing as those mods will become unusable once the Skyrim Anniversary Edition releases, extrwi said they have been in contact with Bethesda since the announcement of Anniversary Edition. According to them, the developers have not offered any solution yet. As a result, extrwi suggested players stop automatic updates on Steam or elsewhere to prevent the mod-breaking update next month.
Forcing the rewriting of mods again is likely to frustrate both players and modders. Additionally, it is possible some mod authors have already moved on from modding or aren’t willing to update their creations. As it stands, Bethesda could potentially eliminate thousands of Skyrim mods or more with the new update; and fewer mods could potentially hurt the appeal for some players to return to Skyrim yet again.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition will release on November 11, 2021 for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and PC.