Skyrim Special Edition, also sometimes called the Skyrim Remaster, is coming out in just over five weeks.
And we still know almost nothing about it.
What we do know is pretty easy to summarize though:
- It will be 64bit and dx11. This *may* mean better memory handling (*if* they rewrote Skyrim’s faulty memory heap handler as part of the update), but it *definitely* means more than 3.1 GB of RAM available, and more than 4 GB VRAM available on Windows 8 and 10 (that was already the case on 7), and probably some snazzy dx11 features too.
- It will have new shaders based on dx11. Shaders are things like: How the water and lighting looks. Like what ENB and SweetFX and SKGE do (actually it looks almost identical to SKGE).
- They claim it will have new textures. There was no sign of new textures in the video. It may be that they’re just bringing the high res DLC to console.
- There will be no new content. Period.
- There almost certainly will not be any bug fixes, except for things that may have incidentally been fixed by recompiling the engine (such as the memory fix).
- It will be a new game on the steam store. It will not overwrite or touch the old game.
- All PC users who own all the DLC will get it for free.
- Existing saves (presumably they mean vanilla saves) will work.
What about mod compatibility?
- There will not be mods on PS4.
- XBOX users will get a paltry 2 GB of storage for mods. Mods must be things that can be packed up in an esp + BSA in the Creation Kit. No loose files, no patchers, no dyndolod, skse, etc. And nothing that relies on those. Or is bigger than 2 GB.
- “Old mods will mostly work” – they will need to be re-saved in the Creation Kit. Presumably this applies to mods that are an esp + BSA, and more complex mods may need reworking. We don’t know more than that.
- It is possible for:
- Havok to have updated (affecting all nifs with collision, HDT, etc.)
- Scaleform to have updated (affecting all mods that use the UI)
- Papyrus to have updated (not at all likely given that old saves will work, unknown impact)
- Any mod that injects code will need to be redone. That is, any mod with a .dll file will need to be redone, by the author (or someone else with appropriate permissions and a lot of skill at looking up addresses).
The scale of this redoing is summarized best by Expired (author of Racemenu, EFF, F4SE, a bunch of other things, contributor to SKSE and SkyUI, just generally our best hope for updating literally everything with a .dll), in this comment.
They may not have to totally redo all the code from scratch.
But they will have to, regardless, look up each and every address that each and every dll accesses, find the new address that does the same thing (if it exists), and update. Without any documentation.
The sky is not falling, but it’s going to be a lot of work, done by the very few number of people that know how to do that work.
And even though this doesn’t apply to console at all, because you guys can’t even use the mods that discussion is about (dll files physically won’t work on console), it will affect the conversion and progress of the mods you will get. Only PC gamers can make mods, and there’s not much incentive for PC gamers to mod SSE if all the mods we can’t live without can’t work.
Addition: I forgot to mention ENB. It’s technically included in the “anything with a dll” statement, but since Boris will only let Boris work on it, it’s kind of a special case. Boris was not happy with the dx11 changes made to the Creation Engine for FO4 and said he couldn’t really do anything interesting ENB on that game. He says this is probably also going to be true for Skyrim Special Edition. Without seeing it in person it’ll be hard to say how big an impact that’s going to be on getting a beautiful game. Certainly many people are perfectly happy with FO4 graphics. But if you’re in love with how your game looks currently… just understand that even if ENB does get updated for SSE, it’s never going to look quite the same.
Another thing to note is that SKGE (which Alenet has promised will be updated for SSE), technically allows replacement of the vanilla shaders with any custom shader. This means better performance than ENB’s post processing method, and potentially any shader that’s in ENB, could also be implemented through SKGE. But that means someone rewriting the shader for use in SKGE, which not many people have the talent to do (or rather, those with the talent don’t have the time). (and all of the updates above need to happen before SKGE can be implemented for SSE at all). However many people are now seeing the potential in SKGE and it’s possible the current (really terrible) shaders will get replaced with something that really can make a game beautiful. So it may be possible to get a beautiful game without ENB one day, but only time will tell.
SSE is releasing in just over five weeks.
It will not be reasonably moddable on PC for… I give it just over five months.
I’ll see you on 64bit in March, guys.
Update: It is now May and no sign of a vast number of my favorite mods being ported. GG – my estimate was the longest I saw and it’s taking even longer!