Ahead of Skyrim Anniversary Edition's launch, a developer behind a vital modding tool warned that the release might also break mods for Skyrim Special Edition, badly. Well, Skyrim Anniversary Edition is out now, and as expected it has broken many mods. But, good news: the person who warned of this is making better progress on fixes than expected.
That modder is "extrwi", who works on the Skryim Script Extender (SKSE). This tool doesn't do anything fancy in itself but does let other people make mods which change more of the game than the official tools allow. Many mods require SKSE, including near-mandatory ones like SkyUI. Thankfully, extrwi has already managed to release a preliminary build with support for the Anniversary Edition update.
"In an attempt to avert the part of the modpocalpyse that I can control, I've been spending all of my free time for the last week and a half or so getting this ready, and just made it about an hour before the update was pushed," they said on Reddit in the wee hours. "Thanks to Bethesda for giving me early access to AE so I could get this ready."
I'm very glad to hear Bethesda shot them the game early. A decade after launch, mods are a huge part of how people play Skyrim.
It's typical for SKSE and other methods to be unintentionally broken when Bethesda update the game, simply as a side-effect of how they work. However, the Anniversary Edition was expected to do more damage because it rebuilds the game in a new compiler, threatening to break the known routes to hook deeper into the gameguts. This even affects Skyrim Special Edition players who didn't buy the Anniversary Edition, because the AE is technically released as an add-on so Bethesda updated the SE too.
You can download this preliminary build from the SKSE site. Things are certainly not hunky-dory yet, mind. The new version isn't fully tested, and the plugin manager is currently disabled. But SkyUI seems to work, for one.
"Due to the large amount of manual code rewrite required for this release, the possibility for bugs is higher than usual," extrwi explained. "That said, things seem to be working better than expected."
If you don't want to fiddle with untested and maybe-wonky software, the other option is to simply not download the new Skyrim patch until mods and such are fixed. Hopefully you turned off auto-updates when you heard about this. But if not, perhaps start Steam offline to safely disable that now.
If you did download the patch and wish you hadn't, another option is using a tool like the Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Downgrade Patcher to revert it. Though I see that tool has since been broken by a wee patch. Classic. Presumably that'll be updated too.
As a £16 upgrade, the Anniversary Edition offers all the items, quests, and such released via Bethesda's Creation Club so far. If you don't buy it, you can still get a little newness, as Bethesda have released bits including fishing free for Special Edition players too.