Yeah, yeah, we all like to joke about Skyrim being the game that never dies and every year is re-released on some new hardware like your Samsung fridge. This year’s is a little different though, as the anniversary edition bundles a lot of mods from the Creation Club into one package, but it seems like the sacrifice will break pretty much most other mods.
The main problem with Skyrim Anniversary Edition is that it won’t be a separate game on platforms like Steam, instead it will be an update to the existing Skyrim Special Edition. The problem with that is it is completely changing the compiler used to build the 64-bit version, and as such breaks pretty much most mods available today.
The reason for this is that one of the most popular plug-ins for Skyrim is the SKSE (Skyrim Script Extender) will need to be updated. The creator of SKSE says that this isn’t much of a problem for them, but other mods and plugins? Some of them have been left alone as their creators have moved on, doomed to be incompatible with the latest version of Skyrim.
“Bethesda has decided to update the compiler used to build the 64-bit version of Skyrim from Visual Studio 2015 to Visual Studio 2019,” said u/extrwi on Reddit, one of the developers for SKSE. “This changes the way that the code is generated in a way that forces mod developers to start from scratch finding functions and writing hooks.”
“I can probably sit there over a few nights and bang out an updated version of SKSE, but my main concern is for the rest of the plugins out there. The plugin ecosystem has been around long enough that people have moved on, and code is left unmaintained. Effectively everyone who has written a native code plugin will need to do at least some amount of work to support AE.”
Basically, a lot of modders will need to start from scratch in getting their mods compatible with Skyrim again, which “realistically means that the native code mod scene is going to be broken for an unknown length of time after AE's release.” So don’t expect any of your downloaded mods to work with Anniversary Edition for a while after launch.
The good news at least is that you can always revert back to an old version of the game where your mods are compatible, and chances are if you’re already modding Skyrim then you’ve probably turned off the auto-updating feature on Steam already. But the situation is not a good look for arguably one of the most iconic games for modding.
What do you think? Are you excited for Skyrim Anniversary Edition? How often do you use mods for it? How many mods do you have? And how do you feel about ANniversary Edition potentially breaking most of them? Let us know!