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Modding Bethesda Games on Game Pass - What we know so far


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#1
Pickysaurus

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As you might have heard, Microsoft has recently added some of our most popular games to their Game Pass subscription service including Skyrim Special Edition, Fallout 4, Oblivion and Morrowind. So we've put together this handy article with some details about what's new or different when it comes to modding these Bethesda titles on Game Pass for PC. 


Do all mods work with Game Pass?

No. Unfortunately, mods that rely on the popular script extenders (SKSE, F4SE, etc) will not currently work with Game Pass. In a conversation with Ian Patterson of the Silverlock team, he said they are experimenting with a few possible solutions at the moment. Sadly, despite their efforts, there are still some hurdles to overcome due to the complications introduced in these new versions, but they haven't given up yet so there's always hope. This may prevent visual presets such as ENBs and ReShades from working correctly, too. 

Mods that offer replacements to files from the vanilla game such as video replacers may also be unsupported. This is related to the Xbox app preventing edits to these files. However, in testing, this seems to be a somewhat intermittent problem so your mileage may vary. 

Don't worry though, there are still plenty of mods that will work just fine!


How do I install mods on the Game Pass version?

Out of the box, the ability to install mods to the game is disabled. In this state, none of the game files can be modified by your user account. You will need to enable modding in the Xbox app by clicking the "Enable Mods" button shown below.

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Once enabled, you will be able to make changes to the files in the game-specific folder found at C:\Program Files\ModifiableWindowsApps\. 

You'll be pleased to know our Vortex devs are already hard at work on updating the extensions for Skyrim SE, Fallout 4, Oblivion and Morrowind to include support for the Game Pass versions. Keep an eye out for an update!


What about modding tools like xEdit?

Any tools you are used to using to mod your game will likely not support Game Pass without being updated first. Please make sure you check the mod page for the tool you are trying to use to see if the author has added any information about Game Pass before asking them. 


As a mod author, do I need to update my mods?

There shouldn't be any need for mods to be updated for this version of the game. However, if your mod does rely on script extender functions and you want to support the Game Pass release, you could consider making these functions an optional requirement. I've personally already done this in Icecreamassassin's Legacy of the Dragonborn back when SKSE was not yet available for Skyrim Special Edition. I'd be happy to offer advice to anyone who is interested.


What else is different? 

Based on a combination of our own research and some information from the team behind Wryebash, we've compiled a list of notable differences in important file paths for each of the Game Pass versions. All of these games must be started through the game launcher via the Xbox app and it may not be possible for mod managers to detect the game from a "cold start" of the system due to the game files needing to be "mounted" for it to be detectable. The fix for this is just to open and close the game once before managing mods. 

Skyrim Special Edition
Game Pass Publisher ID: 3275kfvn8vcwc
Game Pass ID: BethesdaSoftworks.SkyrimSE-PC
Mod Install Location: C:\Program Files\ModifiableWindowsApps\Skyrim Special Edition (PC)
INI/Saves Location: C:\Users\{USER}\Documents\My Games\Skyrim Special Edition MS
Plugins.txt Location: %localappdata%\Packages\BethesdaSoftworks.SkyrimSE-PC_3275kfvn8vcwc\LocalCache\Local\Skyrim Special Edition MS\Plugins.txt


Fallout 4
Game Pass Publisher ID: 3275kfvn8vcwc
Game Pass ID: BethesdaSoftworks.Fallout4-PC
Mod Install Location: C:\Program Files\ModifiableWindowsApps\Fallout 4 (PC)
INI/Saves Location:  C:\Users\{USER}\Documents\My Games\Fallout4 MS
Plugins.txt Location: %localappdata%\Packages\BethesdaSoftworks.Fallout4-PC_3275kfvn8vcwc\LocalCache\Local\Fallout4 MS\Plugins.txt

Note: The Fallout 4 version on Game Pass does not include any of the DLCs, they can be purchased separately. 


Oblivion
Game Pass Publisher ID: 3275kfvn8vcwc
Game Pass ID: BethesdaSoftworks.TESOblivion-PC
Mod Install Location: C:\Program Files\ModifiableWindowsApps\Oblivion GOTY (PC)
INI/Saves Location:  C:\Users\{USER}\Documents\My Games\Oblivion
Plugins.txt Location: %localappdata%\Packages\BethesdaSoftworks.TESOblivion-PC_3275kfvn8vcwc\LocalCache\Local\Oblivion

Note: Oblivion installs several different language versions of the game in separate folders. The mod installation location will vary depending on which version you are trying to play. 


Morrowind
Game Pass Publisher ID: 3275kfvn8vcwc
Game Pass ID: BethesdaSoftworks.TESMorrowind-PC
Mod Install Location: C:\Program Files\ModifiableWindowsApps\Morrowind GOTY (PC)
INI/Saves Location:  C:\Program Files\ModifiableWindowsApps\Morrowind GOTY (PC)

Note: Morrowind installs several different language versions of the game in separate folders. The INI and mod installation locations will vary depending on which version you are trying to play.


Repairing your installation

In the event that you delete or damage some of the core vanilla game files, you can actually reverify the game files similar to how it works with Steam. This option isn't part of the Xbox app itself but can be found in your Windows settings. Open your Windows settings, go to Apps, then find the game in the list of installed apps. Click on the game entry and it will allow you to select "Advanced options" where you can repair or reset your game installation. 

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Did we miss anything? What do you think about the Bethesda games being available on Game Pass? Let us know in the comments below. 

#2
StopGap11

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I'm not entirely sure what this announcement means as I'm not particularly familiar with Microsoft's game stop system. Does this mean that we will now be unable to use mods with the games we paid for unless we now pay extra for for a new service? I hope some one who is more familiar with their services can tell me that interpretation is wrong here.  Of course, if that is the incorrect  interpretation ( and I really hope it's incorrect) I'm not blaming anyone at Nexus for this, they didn't have anything to do with this, they're just the messengers here.

Edited by StopGap11, 21 March 2021 - 12:53 PM.


#3
irinotecan

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In response to post #91947883. #91948623 is also a reply to the same post.


Spoiler

This only applies to people who purchase the games in the Xbox/Windows store ("Game Pass").  If you bought the game(s) through Steam, GOG, or physical disc, this does not apply to you, nothing has changed.

Also, you can continue to purchase these games through Steam et al., and avoid the modding headaches associated with an Xbox/Windows store purchase.

Edited by irinotecan, 16 March 2021 - 04:40 PM.


#4
Pickysaurus

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In response to post #91947883. #91948568 is also a reply to the same post.


Spoiler

I'm not really sure what you're upset about here? The games are already out on Game Pass and it does not have any kind of impact on Steam/GOG installs. It's just another option for people who want to play these games. If you're worried about game updates causing problems in your setup there are plenty of guides/tools around to prevent that or back up your current version. 

#5
gyrofalcon

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In response to post #91947883. #91948568, #91948623 are all replies on the same post.


Spoiler

I am confused as well. This "change" from Microsoft, does it force all current owner of Skyrim SE, to also have the game on GamePass?
Or can current version of Skyrim SE, be modded and played the old fashion way, that we do now?
If all futured copies sold, only are available with MS GamePass, (no new sales on Steam, etc) it will be a shot in front of the baug to the community, but I do belive old-fashioned Skyrim (and Oldrim) will survive.
Edit: Answered by others in thread. "My" Skyrim will not change. :) So moral is; Stay away from MS GamePass.

Edited by gyrofalcon, 16 March 2021 - 04:45 PM.


#6
Fyrcynn

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In response to post #91947883. #91948568, #91948623, #91948758 are all replies on the same post.


Spoiler

Might be a naive question, but does this even impact that many people? I'd think Steam is by far the larger platform with Microsoft's barely being used. Anyone who'd experience the joys Windows Live would stay away from them as a rule.

#7
Saggaris

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In response to post #91947883. #91948568, #91948623, #91948758, #91949048 are all replies on the same post.


Spoiler

Well StopGap, I felt a bit like a doom monger myself when I jumped miles ahead with some 'what Ifffff's'

What if Microsoft only allow the future of Bethesda games on Game Pass?
Then..
What if Microsoft close the holes and disallow modding/manipulation of their content?
Then...
What if Microsoft then provide a range of customisable features... for a price?

Oh hell, I'm glad I'm old and senile so's not to have to suffer 'naked' games for too long.

#8
SKK50

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"This solution has no dependencies on extenders or DLCs and does not change any existing base game scripts, assets or objects. It is 100% pure new Creation Kit forms and scripts which means that it works on PC, Xbox and GamePass with no load order dependencies."

Clear consumer guidance.

Edited by SKK50, 16 March 2021 - 04:59 PM.


#9
Blackread

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In response to post #91947883. #91948568, #91948623, #91948758, #91949048, #91949223 are all replies on the same post.


Spoiler

Judging by the number of gamepass related questions on r/skyrimmods recently, I'd say this does affect a fair number of people. Obviously the majority of modders will be on Steam still.

#10
StopGap11

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In response to post #91947883. #91948568, #91948623, #91948758, #91949048, #91949223, #91949548, #91950453, #91959448, #91963258, #91966083, #91966758, #91967388, #91967558, #92067498 are all replies on the same post.


Spoiler

Cool! I'm glad my first interpretation was wrong. Honestly, I'm totally unfamiliar how Microsofts game stop service works, though we'll have to see where this goes in the future. 

Edited by StopGap11, 21 March 2021 - 12:59 PM.





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