Skyrim Anniversary Edition 'modpocalypse' partially averted by a key modder getting early access

Skyrim Anniversary Edition - A player in gold Dwemer armor rides a mechanical Dwemer hrose through Skyrim
(Image credit: Bethesda)

The latest named version of The Elder Scrolls V is now out in the wild as Skyrim Anniversary Edition. Which means that everyone can now get on with piecing back together their custom version of the game complete with all their favorite Skyrim mods installed. Mostly, anyhow. Skyrim Script Extender, one of the cornerstone mods required by many, many other Skyrim mods, was preparing for a full-on "modpocalypse." Fortunately, Bethesda gave early access to the Skyrim Anniversary Edition to the developers of SKSE, who say that the outlook for the Skyrim Special Edition modding scene is now "better than expected."

Last month, SKSE developer Extrwi posted a warning that the Skyrim Anniversary Edition would be "much more disruptive to the modding scene than is commonly believed." As is often the case with game modding, Skyrim mods can be an intricate Jenga tower. Your favorite mods may very well be the middle blocks in a tower of dependencies that rests atop the Skyrim Script Extender mod. Some major favorite Skyrim Special Edition mods such as SkyUI and Legacy of the Dragonborn both require SKSE, for instance.

Anticipating the modpocalypse, Extrwi predicted that they would be able to rush through a stopgap update to SKSE within a few nights, but that this wouldn't entirely solve the situation.

That's precisely what happened, it turns out, though fortunately it's been prior to the Skyrim AE update rather than after. Extrwi says in a new post that Bethesda gave them early access to the new version and that they've been spending all their free time for the last week and a half preparing for the Skyrim AE update.

Skyrim Anniversary Edition - A player rides on a white unicorn

(Image credit: Bethesda)

"Due to the large amount of manual code rewrite required for this release, the possibility for bugs is higher than usual," they say. "That said, things seem to be working better than expected."

This is still a quick fix version, and Extrwi reiterates from last month's post that other plugin mods are still going to require work from their own creators to remain compatible.

"If you have an existing mod setup on pre-AE that you would like to keep working, this is not a sign that you should upgrade and start using this version of SKSE," Extrwi says. "However, if you have already upgraded to AE and are feeling adventurous, then try this out."

The preliminary build script extender for Skyrim AE is now available over on the SKSE website. As Extrwi previously advised, the safest solution for dedicated modders is to stop your Skyrim Special Edition from downloading the free game update that's already begun happening today. If you didn't manage to prevent that update, the good news is that the Skyrim Special Edition modding scene is already taking steps towards stabilizing.

Lauren Morton
Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor in 2021, now serving as the self-appointed chief cozy games enjoyer. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, has strong feelings about farmlife sims, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.