Bethesda has released a new and quite chunky update for Skyrim Special Edition, which in itself isn’t all that remarkable. Sure the game is several years old now, but it is still very popular with players, so why not give the game a boost if it needs it.
However, this particular update has gone down rather badly with Skyrimmers, as it has reintroduced a paid mod platform into the game.
To get you up to speed as to why this has been controversial, all the way back in 2015, Bethesda partnered with Valve to bring paid mods to Skyrim via Steam. However, it was incredibly unpopular with both players and mod makers, and the publisher removed the option to sell Skyrim mods on Valve’s platform shortly after this idea made its debut.
Then, in 2017, Bethesda launched Creation Club, which similarly offered add-ons for the same. This was available for Fallout 4 and, once again, its Skyrim Special Edition. The difference was that the club was an invite-only situation for modders, and there were some tight guidelines those invited had to follow. They couldn’t mess with Skyrim lore, for example. Several Creation Club items were also created by Bethesda themselves, making it a middleground of sorts between paid mods and paid DLC.
Fast forward to today and Bethesda has essentially released an evolution of its Creation Club for Skyrim Special Edition as part of its latest update. This update adds Bethesda Game Studios Creations to the game, which the company describes as “an enhanced platform for building and sharing community-made content”.
At its most basic level, Bethesda has merged its Creation Club and Mods tab in the Skyrim Special Edition menu. Creators can upload free mods as before, but also, the doors are open for anyone to apply to become part of a Verified Creator Program. Verified modders will then have the ability to charge for their mod creations.
There are fewer limitations now on what these mods can offer, as Bethesda’s FAQ explains. Unlike Creation Club items, paid mods no longer need to “be lore friendly.” A modder could add modern day guns into Skyrim and charge for it, for example, despite this type of weapon being wildly out of place in a fantasy mediaeval world.
Reaction online to this update hasn’t been enthusiastic, with plenty lamenting Bethesda’s decision to tread the paid mods route once again.
Meanwhile, this update also broke several pre-existing mods, notably those which were dependent upon the Skyrim Script Extender (a community made modding toolkit that allows for deeper levels of in-game customisation).
SKSE’s creators have since updated their mod, so users should no longer notice any issues if they download the latest version. However, Bethesda has certainly ruffled a few feathers. Many are additionally concerned about what this recent Skyrim update means for Bethesda’s latest release, Starfield.