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Howard: Skyrim bug issue "not nearly as bad as it seems"

Game director admits to problems but says "vast majority" unaffected

Bethesda game director Todd Howard has spoken about the bugs affecting Skyrim, particularly on PS3, admitting that many gamers saw problems but that the trouble was "not nearly as bad as it seems".

Speaking to Industry Gamers, Howard said that the 1.4 patch, released at the weekend, should solve many problems experienced by gamers, but that many issues were impossible to predict.

"Statistically, it is not nearly as bad as it seems," says Howard. "Meaning, by all the internal and external data, this is our most solid release."

"It's also our most popular by a large factor, so we do have a lot of people on the PS3 who play the games a lot and their games are at a state that the game is just taxing the PS3 enough. That's a fact; so, it really wasn't until we were able to get save games from the users - because, literally, how they play the game over 100 hours - some of it, very little of it, we were able to reproduce and take care of on our own and a lot of it that you're seeing now, we weren't.

"So over the course of, like, December, the community helped us. We got their save games. We'd literally have to look in and say, 'What quests do they have running, what order? Oh, he's doing this. He's got these dragons here. This script is running. Why is it kicking out this many things?' And the 1.4 update is coming out today on the PS3 and it should - in our internal tests on those games - it fixes it, it takes care of it. But, going through this, we now know, there will still be - a smaller set, but there are probably still people we don't have their saved games and they have [other problems]."

Whilst the size and intricacy of Skyrim lead to obvious potential for conflicts and difficult to test issues, it's unlikely that Howard's comments will go down well with gamers who experienced the game breaking issues which afflicted the PS3 SKU.

Users reported stuttering, broken questlines, texture issues and other bugs, with many considering the game unplayable after a certain point. Howard, however, insists that they were in the minority.

"People will say, 'When your save game hits this size [you're affected]' but that's totally not true, because you have a much larger set of people who are fine. So it's not that. It has to do with how many things have you done in the game in what order. What's running right now? And because the game is so dynamic, it does tax the PS3 in a different way. Obviously, we wish we had all that information beforehand. Some of that is just very difficult to get."

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Dan Pearson