When Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, the highly anticipated fantasy RPG from Bethesda Studios, finally hit store shelves late last year gamers everywhere rejoiced. But, among those who were slaying dragons and powering up their shouts, a large segment of PS3 gamers were experiencing a huge problem, one that, as it turns out, developer Bethesda was very much aware of.
This problem, if you haven't heard by now, involved the PS3 version of Skyrim quickly filling up the game's cache after about one hour of playtime. After that the game began to slow down significantly, and the longer the Skyrim play session lasted the laggier the game became.
There's still no root cause indicated by Bethesda as to what brought the PS3 version to its knees, but Todd Howard, Skyrim's Director, was on hand at DICE to talk a little bit about the issue.
According to Howard, they were very much aware that gamers might run into problems with the PS3, but thought they had alleviated most of those issues prior to launch. One preconceived notion Howard put to rest was the fact that it was the game's save file that was causing PS3 slow down.
In fact, it was the order in which players completed certain tasks, which spells they had hot keyed, and things of that nature that determined how much headache a player was bound to have. Several patches have been released since then to squash those bugs, yet a small (albeit smaller) segment of gamers are still having issues.
"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?"
To reiterate, Bethesda did not ship a game they knew would be broken on the PS3, they simply knew of a problem that they thought was eliminated at launch. As it turns out, the PS3 version was still prone to the slow down, and that caused a big problem for gamers.
When it’s a game like Skyrim, a game that is so highly anticipated and moves so many units, there is bound to be a larger backlash when there are problems. But, as Howard points out, Skyrim was Bethesda's most solid release regardless of platform. And it's a great gameplay experience to boot.
How do you feel about Bethesda being aware of an issue with the PS3 version of Skyrim and not being 100% sure it was fixed? Have you still been encountering problems with the game?