The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was considered one of the best games of 2011 and won several game of the year awards. The game was praised for its dynamic environments and overall scale. Folks familiar with the franchise know something though, that with all that stuff comes the possibility for more issues and we can’t say that hasn’t been the case. The latest issue to come to the forefront are the lag issues that pretty much made the game unplayable for some players. We aren’t’ talking about the game runs a little slow, we are talking about soul crushing, throw your controller type lag. We have now found out some information that is very interesting to say the least.
Bethesda’s head game designer explained the situation last week at the DICE Summit and we will leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions.
“We did a ton more testing this time around, so the game is definitely our most solid release regardless of platform. The way our dynamic stuff and our scripting works, it’s obvious it gets in situations where it taxes the PS3. And we felt we had a lot of it under control. But for certain users it literally depends on how they play the game, varied over a hundred hours and literally what spells they use. Did they go in this building?
Initially a lot of PS3 players thought that the lag was caused by larger than normal save files but Howard says that’s just not true.
“No it’s not. That’s the common misconception. It’s literally the things you’ve done in what order and what’s running. Some of the things are literally what spells do you have hot-keyed? Because, as you switch to them, they handle memory differently.”
And now for the bombshell. Howard went on to say that his developers were reasonably sure that the PS3 was going to encounter a “bad memory situation”. To be fair they did try to make adjustments to the game to address the issue and prevent it from happening. However, with a game this robust there is no way for even the developers to account for every possible variation that players could create. At this point the team thinks that a “small percentage” of players are affected but when you move 7 million copies a “small percentage” could be several THOUSAND people.
The 1.2 patch from November was supposed to fix a lot of the issues but there were still a lot of players that it didn’t help. Bethesda was perplexed and so gamers sent them their save files for analysis. They saw a case where one guy “had seven dragons on the other side of the world, and a siege about to happen in this city and another 20 quests running. And, ok, this is what the game is trying to do and it’s having a hard time running that.” Bethesda spent most of December going over them and that dictated what went into the 1.4 patch. Of course those of you still affected know that it hasn’t completely resolved everyone’s issues but what you can take comfort in is that they are actively working on this to try and get it resolved. In the meantime, PS3 gamers are going to have to be patient.