A creator of one of the most important Skyrim modding tools says that the upcoming Skyrim: Anniversary Edition will be "disruptive" to the community.
In a lengthy post on Reddit, user extrwi - part of the team behind Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE), a tool that expands modding capabilities - told users that the Anniversary Edition of the game, set to release next month - "is going to be much more disruptive to the modding scene than is commonly believed."
Extrwi explains that the modding code based around SKSE is around four years old, and in the time that it's existed, more code has been developed to make plugins work across different versions of the game, with a handful of different methods being used. According to extrwi, "all of these methods will break" when the anniversary update arrives, and the systems will need to be re-established "from scratch."
The primary reason for this is that Bethesda is using a newer version of the software used to build the 64-bit version of Skyrim. That means that the code is generated in a new way, which "forces mod developers to start from scratch."
Extrwi says that the change sholdn't impact SKSE too much, but it will likely take a few days to update the tool. Their primary concern, however, lies with "the rest of the plugins out there." They suggest that everyone who has written their own plugin in the past "will need to do at least some amount of work to support [the anniversary edition], but points out that several modders have left the scene, and left their work unmaintained. Extrwi claims that "this realistically means that the native code mod scene is going to be broken for an unknown length of time" from November 11 onwards.
For 'vanilla' players, the changes might have limited impact, but for those who have modded their version of Skyrim extensively over the years, certain add-ons might stop working in the days after the Anniversary Edition releases. Those actively involved in the modding creation scene should back up a number of files that extrwi outlines in their post, but there's still no guarantee of a smooth transition.
The change seems somewhat surprising, not just because of Skyrim's massive modding community - which has recently spawned its own very own games in the form of The Forgotten City - but due to the community focus of the new edition. Skyrim Anniversary Edition bundles in more than 500 pieces of community content, so changes that appear to impact modding so severely are pretty unexpected.
It's been a tumultuous time for the Skyrim modding community in recent weeks. While some are still doing their utmost to get the game looking as good as possible, another influential modder is removing his work from one of the biggest modding platforms.
Get them while you can - here are the best Skyrim mods.