The remastered special edition of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim launched at midnight Friday morning, and it represents a unique opportunity for console players to experience user-created mods. Those have long been part of the legacy of Skyrim, adding tremendous value to the newly released game. But there’s a conspicuous difference from how Sony and Microsoft have allowed those mods to be supported on their consoles. The result is that there’s fewer mods — nearly two thirds fewer, in fact — available on PS4.
There are currently 47 mods available for PS4 users, in comparison to 124 on Xbox One. The amount of mods available will continue to grow as the Skyrim Special Edition gains more players who invest more time into the remastered release, of course. That there’s already a big difference between what PS4 players can add to the game in comparison to the options for Xbox One owners is also not a huge surprise; Skyrim originally wasn’t going to receive mod support on PS4 at all, which Bethesda blamed on Sony’s rigid guidelines for the feature.
Sony changed course just weeks ahead of Skyrim’s release, but at a cost: The PS4 version’s space for mods is limited to just 1 GB, while the Xbox One has 5 GB reserved for add-ons. Xbox players can also tap into a variety of assets (like scripts, textures and sound files) while PS4 users can’t upload any external assets at all.
Reddit users went more in-depth on the differences between the two console’s modifications, which suggest other reasons for the relative paucity of PS4 mods.
“Mods that add new types, or drastically alter existing gameplay? No deal,” wrote user Thallassa in a guide to modding Skyrim Special Edition. “Those require scripts. Quest mods? No go, those require scripts (except for the absolutely simplest of mods, like "go fetch this sword." Anything cool requires scripts for various stages). New characters? No go. ... No new weapons or armor. No retextures or graphics mods.”
The mods currently available on PS4 are simpler in nature. A popular one adds dynamic shadows to certain spells, while the more ambitious Phenderix Magic Evolved adds hundreds of unique spells to the game. Xbox One users, on the other hand, get to add things like “immersive indigestion” and music from Toejam and Earl to their games.
Skyrim’s limitations on PS4 could mar the experience for those looking to get back into the role-playing game for its modern console debut. In its original release on PlayStation 3, Windows PC and Xbox 360, players created all kinds of impressive add-ons, some of which transformed Skyrim into a completely different game.
The new remaster of Skyrim does have benefits for all players on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC, where it’s available as a free upgrade for those who owned the original. The game received graphical improvements overall, which you can check out in our gameplay footage below.