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Skyrim Anniversary Edition mod compatibility: Will Skyrim AE break mods?

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition launches on 11th November to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the iconic open-world RPG, but numerous fans are concerned if the new version of the game will render all current mods useless.
Skyrim Anniversary Edition mod compatibility: Will Skyrim AE break mods?

Skyrim Anniversary Edition is finally here, bringing with it a slew of new Creation Club content, carefully curated by Bethesda and packed into a DLC upgrade.

The  Anniversary Edition is essentially the already existing Skyrim Special Edition (the previous version of the game) bundled up with 74 Creation Club mods; 48 of which were previously available plus 26 brand new ones, designed specifically for the Skyrim AE.

Skyrim: Anniversary Edition will cost you $49.99, or $19.99 if you already own Skyrim SE and purchase Skyrim AE as an update.

Skyrim Anniversary Edition mod compatibility: Will Skyrim AE break mods?
Skyrim owns its longevity to the thriving modding community. (Picture: Bethesda)

No matter if they are interested in Anniversary Edition content or not, many Skyrim fans who enjoy playing with mods (which is really most of them at this point), are worried about what will happen with the expansive library of Skyrim mods, in which numerous modders invested years of their work, and which now might get broken.

This already happened when the Special Edition replaced the old Skyrim back in 2016, making the current fears of fans justified. 

Will history repeat itself or do you have nothing to worry about? Let's see what we know.

Do mods work with Skyrim Anniversary Edition?

Do mods work with Skyrim Anniversary Edition
The popular Sky UI mod will have to wait for the updated SKSE. (Picture: Bethesda/SkyUI Team)

As we've said earlier, when it comes to the core game, Skyrim AE is the same one as the previous Skyrim Special Edition.

This means that, on paper, every mod that works with Skyrim SE should also work with Skyrim AE. That sounds like good news, but unfortunately, it's not that simple.

As explained by Nexus Mods, a website dedicated to the modding scene and one of the main authorities on the topic, the issue stems from free DLC content which will be added to Skyrim SE: Fishing, Survival Mode and the Saints and Seducers mini DLC.

This additional content is rather minor in terms of technical changes, but that's enough to break the current version of Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE), a tool that is vital for numerous popular Skyrim mods, including Sky UI, Race Menu, XPMSSE, True Directional Movement, and many others.

All mods that depend on Skyrim Script Extender will stop working until there's a new SKSE version, compatible with the latest edition of the game. The SKSE dev team has already announced they are planning to work on a new version as soon as Skyrim AE releases and they learn what changes are needed to be made.

Skyrim Anniversary Edition mod compatibility
Race Menu is another popular mod dependent on SKSE. (Picture: Bethesda/Expired)

To our understanding, as soon as they have a new version of SKSE up and running, most of the mods depended on it will be back online, but there might be some mods that will require some additional programming by their creators to make them compatible with Skyrim AE.

That's about everything we currently know about this issue. As you can see, there will be no "modpocalypse" but there will be a period after the release of Skyrim AE during which SKSE-depended mods will stop working.

If you want to play your favourite mods during this period of uncertainty, we advise you to backup your SkyrimSE.exe file before updating the game, or roll back the update, by downloading the older EXE file from a Steam depot using the Steam console.

On Nexus Mods you can read detailed instructions on how you can continue playing mods following the release of Skyrim AE.


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