I wouldn’t normally bother writing about a game patch, because aren’t there better things to bother you with? But I’m still playing Skyrim, and I know a bunch of you are, too, and that as miraculously playable as Skyrim turned out to be at launch, it has its share of buyers struggling with the game’s undocumented technical monsters.
One of the more important fixes in the patch involves the way textures scale from low-res to high-res for Xbox 360 owners, who’ve had to choose between playing direct from the disc (high-res glory but also high load times) and installing direct to the 360’s hard drive (quicker load times but frequent low-res textures). What a weird bug, and how that bypassed quality control, who knows, but three cheers that’s incoming, because I’ve logged a lot of standby-load time with this thing.
Another welcome remedy, if you’re a PlayStation 3 owner, involves “improved occasional performance issues resulting from long term play.” Memory leak? Caching issue? No idea, but fixed now.
And if you’re a PC player, they’ve fixed several bugs (audio crashing, a mouse sensitivity issues, button remapping glitches) and added at least one welcome new feature: the option to use the ESC button to exit menus.
Here’s a list of the general fixes that apply to all platforms:
Fixed issue where projectiles did not properly fade away
Fixed occasional issue where a guest would arrive to the player’s wedding dead
Dragon corpses now clean up properly
Fixed rare issue where dragons would not attack
Fixed rare NPC sleeping animation bug
Fixed rare issue with dead corpses being cleared up prematurely
Skeleton Key will now work properly if player has no lockpicks in their inventory
Fixed rare issue with renaming enchanted weapons and armor
Fixed rare issue with dragons not properly giving souls after death
Bethesda says that after the update, dubbed v1.2, it’ll continue to track issues, so this isn’t the end of the line if your problem’s not on that list. If, on the other hand, you’re holding your breath for more abstract gameplay adjustments, say radiant A.I. fixes where you do something and the game doesn’t acknowledge it the way you think it ought to, I’d advise keeping your eye on Skyrim Nexus (and other mod sites). Assuming you’re playing the PC version, that’s where the future of this game really lies.
I’d love, for instance, to see a mod that gave Skyrim’s denizens better spatial and temporal awareness of life and death. So if you kill someone (while hidden) and the body’s later spotted, passerby freak out. Or if you kill someone in their home, friends or relatives come looking after so much time’s passed. Or if you’re crouching around behind people, they try to get away or call the guards instead of ignoring you (forcing you to plan better approach paths). Imagine how much more interesting stealth-based missions in Skyrim could be if they operated on the principles established by games like Thief, Splinter Cell, or Assassin’s Creed.
In any case, it sounds like the PS3 patch is already out in North America, and that’ll be followed on Wednesday November 30th by the Xbox 360 and PC patch.