When Skyrim: Special Edition launched several years ago, it introduced a hiccup to the game’s prolific modding scene on PC. However, vanilla mods would still work with some slight tweaks, which made the update safe-ish for modders. However, with the upcoming Skyrim: Anniversary Edition, it’s looking like all previous mods will be completely incompatible. In a Reddit post, Skyrim Script Extender developer extrwi broke the news to the community at r/skyrimmods, which has upwards of 330,000 members. They claim that the upgrade will be a patch that updates the Special Edition and that it will not be a separate install. It’s worth mentioning that extrwi is not affiliated with Bethesda and does not speak for the company in any capacity.
Extrwi goes into detail explaining precisely what all of this means. To put it simply, they say that the Skyrim: Anniversary Edition update will break all of the plug-in methods used by the Skyrim Script Extender to utilize mods, requiring addresses to be found again from scratch.
They attribute this to Bethesda updating the compiler that was used to build Skyrim from Visual Studio 2015 to Visual Studio 2019. This will apparently require developers to have to find entirely new ways to find functions and write hooks. To get around this, extrwi suggests that anyone with modded files block Skyrim from downloading the new update and that they only launch the game from the mod manager or SKSE loader, never Steam.
Skyrim: Anniversary Edition is looking like it’s going to break mods
Of course, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a fix for these issues in the near future. Extrwi is going to be making changes to Skyrim Script Extender to support the Skyrim: Anniversary Edition, but there’s no simple widespread fix for everyone. Anyone with a native code plugin will need to do additional work to make mods functional with this new version, and it’s unlikely that that will happen, making it possible that many mods will never be usable with this new version.
Extrwi also theorizes that this will all break the native code mod scene, so this isn’t looking to be a small shakeup at all. We’d suggest holding off on the update if you’re still running those mods, people.