The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition: A Re-Release Without Working Mods

The re-release that is meant to celebrate the tenth anniversary of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will not allow all the mods we grew to enjoy in the previous re-release of Skyrim, dubbed Special Edition.


Extrwi, Skyrim Script Extender’s developer, revealed on Reddit how the free update for PC users would break many, if not all mods when it arrives. The reason behind it can be traced back to mostly laziness: “The native code modding scene around Skyrim Special Edition will have been around for about four years when Anniversary Edition comes out.

During that time, code has been developed to make many plugins portable across different versions of the game. Most plugins use the Address Library by meh321. Other plugins use code signature matching, which finds functions that “look like” a specific pattern. SKSE uses an offline tool I developed a long time ago based around position-independent code hashing. With the Anniversary Edition update, all of these methods will break, and addresses will need to be found again from scratch.

This is because as part of the AE update, Bethesda has decided to update the compiler used to build the 64-bit version of Skyrim from Visual Studio 2015 to Visual Studio 2019. This changes how the code is generated to force mod developers to start from scratch, finding functions and writing hooks. Class layouts are unlikely to change, luckily. I didn’t ask specifically, but the most probable reason for this is that the Xbox Live libraries used for achievements on the Windows Store are only available for 2017 and later. Some games have worked around this limitation by building the code that interacts with Xbox Live into a secondary DLL that is dynamically loaded by the game, but they didn’t choose this option,” the modder wrote.

Unfortunately, Extrwi adds that almost every native plugin will require some work to function in the new Skyrim version: “Doing this work takes a reasonable amount of time for each plugin. I can probably sit there over a few nights and bang out an updated version of Skyrim Script Extender, 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. Everyone who has written a native code plugin will need to do at least some amount of work to support AE. This realistically means that the native code mod scene is going to be broken for an unknown length of time after Anniversary Edition’s release.” Until then, don’t launch the game from Steam. Do it from the mod manager or Skyrim Script Extender.

The situation becomes funnier if you remember that Phil Spencer, the Xbox boss, previously claimed that he’d enjoy if there were a modding scene around Microsoft’s games as active as if we were in the 90s…

Source: WCCFTech

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