A patch for Skyrim Anniversary Edition is here to fix black screens and break your mods

Skyrim armor guy
(Image credit: Bethesda)

A patch for Skyrim means different things to different people. For some the reaction is "Oh good, this should fix that issue I've been having." For many others it's "Oh no, this is gonna break absolutely everything."

Today's patch for Skyrim, version 1.6.323, is mostly to address the black screen issue occuring when some players tried to launch the game or load modded saves. But the same patch may wind up sidelining your mods, just like the Skyrim Anniversary Edition did when it launched on November 11.

The problem is, since Skyrim Anniversary Edition isn't a separate entity to Skyrim Special Edition, but is instead an "upgrade," that means if an Anniversary Edition issue is patched, that patch is also applied to the Special Edition. And any Skyrim patch means some mods will have compatibility issues until they're updated for the new version. So even if you didn't buy the Anniversary Edition upgrade, today's patch might bust your mods. Again.

Reaction to today's patch is pretty mixed, with many players not wanting the update at all because once again it renders the ever-important Skyrim Script Extender, incompatible with the new version—until SKSE gets updated again, which will hopefully be soon. At least a few people stated it does actually fix the black screen issue, so that's a plus. 

If you want to play Skyrim Special Edition without applying the patch (presuming you've already set Steam to not update Skyrim automatically), you can launch it through Skyrim Script Extender or through Nexus Mods Vortex launcher with the "don't update automatically" setting selected. Or if you want to avoid this mess altogether and "downgrade" Skyrim Special Edition back to version 1.5.97, there's a mod for that. And yes, the mod's been updated today and should work with Skyrim version 1.6.323.

What a pain in the ass all of this is, huh? This probably would have been much easier if SAE and SSE were just two entirely different games (as Rockstar recently discovered). The patch notes are brief, but here they are:

  • Fixed a problem preventing some doors in Rielle from opening properly.
  • Fixed an issue where Russian and Polish notes were not displaying text properly.
  • Fixed an issue where German and French players were given incorrect menu text when leveling up.
  • Fixed an issue where players were experiencing a “black screen” and upon launching.
Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.