GameInformer is currently reporting that Bethesda knew about potential PS3 problems before Skyrim was launched. The problems the PS3 has been facing since launch include dips in the frame rate to almost unplayable levels. Because many had seen their file sizes go up along with the slow down, it was assumed that the save file size was the culprit, when in fact it was a memory leak causing this problem.
The effects of this depended on how long one played the game, what spells players used, and a variety of other factors, but the save file was not the catalyst for the lag problem. Earlier this week, a staff member made this comment on the Skyrim forum:
“In advance of the game’s release, we spent a lot of time implementing code to resolve memory concerns we had before release and were confident it would work. Based on feedback we received from players, we’ve put a lot of effort into optimizing the game, including the 1.4 update released last week.
We appreciate all the assistance and support you’ve provided. We’ll continue to do everything we can do support you guys.”
Todd Howard, game director and executive producer at Bethesda, released a statement today to better clarify this situation surrounding the PS3:
“All of our internal and external data show that Skyrim is our most solid release, including the PS3 version. The percentage of people that have a problem on any particular system ends up a low percentage, but the raw number ends up being larger than we would have expected.
We saw some of [the issues] that we were able to solve very quickly, but we eventually had to go to the consumer and ask for their saved game files. You’re looking at saved games where, not everybody, but certain people played for 100s of hours. And lots of different reasons it was happening. Fortunately we were able to fix it with the latest update.
It’s hopefully a much smaller number now. When you put all this time into something and someone can’t play it, you feel terrible. They have every right to be pissed off. We already have more updates out for this than Fallout 3 and Oblivion in their lifetime, so we’re really committed to fixing everything. “
The latest update Todd is referring to is the 1.4 patch, which introduced various memory and performance improvements.
Analysis: This is obviously heartbreaking for many PS3 owners, and they have my sympathies. I hate going to play a game I’ve been looking forward to, only to have it not work in one way or another. I had my own issues with the PC version’s Surround/Eyefinity resolutions, but Bethesda said they’re never going to fix it. I’m fortunate, however, that the PC community has been able to make a mod to fix my problem. Unfortunately with the console version, you have to wait on both Bethesda and Sony release the fixes you need.
This whole situation has been a nightmare, even if it’s a small percentage of players for Bethesda. They, of course, can’t test the game in every way that it will be played by every gamer that purchased it for the PS3, and it’s silly to think that they could. The fact they knew about it before release, however, is troubling me to the core. The reason for this is that they didn’t say to PS3 owners from day one that they knew of a potential problem and would need the PS community’s help to fix it. This could’ve been done by collecting save data earlier, for instance.
This whole situation is hurting Bethesda’s reputation on the PS platform, and the prolonged extent of the issue is only further adding fuel to the fire. This recent revelation will be like gas being poured on a flame, so they need to fix this critical issue for PS3 owners quickly. Additionally, users need to inform the company what they need to do so or it’ll never happen quickly; and Sony needs to rush whatever Bethesda does release as well. Until then, all anyone can do is sit and wait or move onto another platform for Skyrim if want an immediate solution.