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Skyrim Anniversary Edition black screen: How to fix

Skyrim Anniversary Edition black screen crashing issue seems to bother a number of players since the release of Skyrim AE. This mostly has to do with modded versions of Skyrim, and if you are playing with a lot of mods, here's how can you fix this and stop Skyrim Anniversary Edition from crashing.
Skyrim Anniversary Edition black screen: How to fix

With the launch of the Anniversary Edition, one of the biggest concerns in the Skyrim community was the fate of countless beloved mods, many of which are considered essential to play the game in a satisfactory manner.

Skyrim Anniversary Edition mod compatibility was, fortunately, resolved with a happy ending, as it was revealed that the modding team behind Skyrim Script Extender, which is a cornerstone of many popular mods, was granted early access to the Skyrim Anniversary Edition build by Bethesda so that they can work on a new version of SCE, and release it alongside Skyrim AE launch, and hopefully make the transition as smooth as possible.

Nonetheless, many players are still reporting issues with Skyrim Anniversary Edition black screens and crashes, particularly when trying to boot up a modded save in Skyrim Anniversary Edition.

If you are among these players, read on to understand why is this happening and what can you do to fix it.

How to fix Skyrim Anniversary Edition black screen

Skyrim Anniversary Edition black screen crashing
Lucien companion is one of the mods causing black screens. (Picture: Bethesda/Joseph Russell)

If you enjoy Skyrim stuffed with all kinds of mods, you might have encountered issues with the game following the release of Skyrim AE.

You either get a black screen immediately after loading the game (while sound can still be heard in the background) or your game randomly crashes at some point.

As you may have guessed, this is related to how Skyrim Anniversary Edition and mods interact with each other after the update. And while you may think this has to do with compatibility, it actually has to do with the extra optimisation the game has received following the update.

As spotted by a developer behind the Lucien mod, modder Joseph Russell, it seems that many mods are having issues simply because the game is now running much faster than a previous build.

It turns out that the game now loads significantly faster and Lucien's assets don't have enough time to properly load, thus causing the game to crash.

"I theorised that what was happening was the script was running faster than it used to. This meant that when the player loaded the game, Inigo's esp was detected, so the game tried to grab his reference to put into the alias," Russell explains. "However, as the script was running so fast, Inigo's reference hadn't had time to load, so the script was attempting to fill the alias with a NULL, causing a crash."

Skyrim Anniversary Edition black screen crashing
Inigo is another companion mod that was crashing the game. (Picture: Bethesda/Joseph Russell)

With the latest update, Skyrim Special Edition now uses Visual Studio 2019 rather than Visual Studio 2015, which is good news in the long run but also bad news for some mods which now break the game as they don't have time to be loaded properly, or as DJ Khaled would say, Skyrim AE is "suffering from success".

Russell updated Lucien to a new version which now works perfectly, simply by adding more time for it to be loaded, but unfortunately, there is no universal fix on the players' side, rather modders will need to make new versions of their mods which will allow for more time to fetch the assets into the game. It's not much work but it has to be done.


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Featured image courtesy of Bethesda.