When Bethesda announced at the 2015 E3 that Fallout 4 would be coming with mod support, there was a loud cheer from the audience. However this might not be the great thing it’s cracked up to be.
Sure, it brings a whole new dynamic to your game but it is fairly limited and not only that, a badly made mod can break your entire game, or at least the one you have spent hours playing. On a PC this is relatively straight forward, as you can go into the file structure and manually remove offending mods or remnants of mods. On a console this is likely more difficult, you can’t just uninstall mods and hope everything is ok, there are often remnants left over. It is a volatile system at best.
That’s not to say that all mods are bad. Some are fantastic and can really enhance your game. There are some incredibly talented people out there. I’ve dabbled with modding myself and it isn’t easy, even if Bethesda have given you their creation kits to play around with. There are other tools involved and in some cases entire programs written for specific processes.
In my previous article I mentioned how Skyrim was the game that brought me back to the gaming world. I caught the modding bug fairly quickly, too. I was never really happy with how the characters looked. The faces being all blocky and I found a simple mod that redrew the face maps of the female face improving them immensely. I also found one for the male characters too. Then there were hair mods, clothes, armours, body shapes – all improved my enjoyment of the game.
As time wore on two very clever modders went further. The SKSE or Skyrim Script Extender allowed more complicated mods and the FNIS or Fores New Idles in Skyrim allowed for new animations such as different walking and running animations for each sex. It is simply mindboggling what you can do with mods.
Now Bethesda have gone one further and announced an updated version of Skyrim including mod support for consoles. Again, it was met with loud cheers, some of them mine, but Skyrim has thousands of mods already for PC and a lot of them depend on SKSE and/or FNIS so unless the console versions come with a version that allows these then modding won’t be nearly as much fun.
There is also the problem of mod theft. Already a real issue with the modding community. Many mods are being downloaded, opened in the Creation Kit and then being uploaded to Bethesda’s Mods page. In a lot of these cases the mod stolen has been acknowledged as stolen with a “Haha, well there’s nothing you can do about it.” I know this is really troubling the modding community and its still not an issue that has been resolved.
Now the thefts have only affected Fallout 4 which has been out just over a year. When Skyrim gets its relaunch there’s going to be ten times the problems. If this doesn’t get resolved quickly then many talented modders are going to down tools and that would be a sad state of affairs.
Another thing that has slightly saddened me about Fallout 4 mods is that it disables any achievements while you play a modded version. I can understand this for the more cheating kind of mods but not for the aesthetic ones. I don’t see why I should be deprived of achievements just because I want my character to have a different hairstyle or better face mapping
As I said there are pro’s and con’s with modding console games. I’m beginning to think it could open a real can of worms. I may feel different when Skyrim comes out again, and if it has immediate mod support, because for me, it is the perfect game to play, modded. I’m hopeful all the lessons are learnt with Fallout 4, but we’ll just have to wait and see.