"Mod it till it breaks" is a phrase that often gets used around The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
It's not hard to see why: Bethesda's 2011 RPG has an incredible amount of modding potential, and over the years players have been able to build visual overhauls, new quests, and even entirely new games from Skyrim. Many players have stuffed their Skyrim saves so full of mods that, occasionally, the game will completely break.
In an ironic twist of fate, Skyrim is now threatening to turn around and break the mods. On November 11, Bethesda will release The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition to celebrate the game's tenth anniversary. This enhanced package will include all the visual tweaks and improvements seen in Skyrim Special Edition, plus a bunch of pre-installed mods that range from new pets, quests, and weapons to all-new game modes.
It's certainly as a good an excuse as any to return to Skyrim, but one of Special Edition's developers has warned on Reddit that Anniversary Edition is going to be severely disruptive to the modding community, and has urged modders to start backing content up now.
"Bethesda has decided to update the compiler used to build the 64-bit version of Skyrim from Visual Studio 2015 to Visual Studio 2019," extrwi explained on Reddit. "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.
While this isn't a guarantee, it's still a troubling possibility that could end up wrecking many Skyrim save files. Fortunately, it is possible for Steam users to revert to earlier builds of games using DepotDownloader, so it should be possible to carry on playing an older version of Skyrim until somebody comes up with a permanent fix. If I know Skyrim, it'll end up being another modder rather than anyone at Bethesda.
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