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Bethesda’s new Skyrim mod program bans use of generative AI

Skyrim mods that use generative AI can't be part of Bethesda's revamped paid creations program for the game, as the Starfield maker says no.

Skyrim mod creations AI: a man in a robe and cultist mask using fire magic in his right hand

Skyrim mods are, in a lot of ways, on the cusp of technology. It feels weird saying that considering the Bethesda RPG came out in 2011, but it’s still one of the most popular games to mod, and many players adopt modern trends when making their stuff. One of the newest is generative AI, and with Bethesda revamping the in-game mod marketplace and how creatives can choose to be monetized for their work, the team says a blanket no to AI.

After spending way too long trying to make sense of what Creations means for the future of Skyrim mods, it needs to be noted that the new in-game hub for player mods and Creation Club content doesn’t impact external sites like NexusMods and Mod DB. If you get your player-created Skyrim goodies from these places don’t fret about the confusion surrounding Creations, but still, I love that Bethesda has put its foot down on generative AI projects in the RPG game, and making any sort of money from them.

The long and short of it is that Skyrim’s in-game mod marketplace is now the Creations hub, and Bethesda has reintroduced how mod creators can apply for, and sell, their mods if they so choose. You’ll need to apply for the Bethesda Game Studios Verified Creator Program if you want to sell your work for money, where you’ll then get royalties from the work instead of the Creation Club’s previous contract payments.

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Creations then need to be “vetted and approved” by the team at Bethesda, and they have some basic restrictions on the type of things you can sell. These restrictions are:

  • Creations must be standalone, so it cannot depend on other community releases, free or paid
  • Creations must be all-new to qualify for release. You cannot re-purpose older releases – or work by other authors, unless contracted
  • Creations cannot contain anything produced through generative AI

So Bethesda doesn’t want AI mods like ones that voice, write, or create images for Skyrim on the official marketplace. This doesn’t stop third-party mod hosting websites from letting people make them of course, as these places host mods on their own terms, not Bethesda’s.

Still, using AI in mods is commonplace these days, be that for changing the voice of a character, helping to write dialogue or new info, or even helping generate images like custom in-game icons. I’ll wager that Bethesda is just blanket banning all of this due to the ongoing copyright concerns over AI, as unless you completely train the model with your own work, it’s taking other people’s work off the internet and just using it.

I’m also certain that this Creations hub is what Bethesda wants to roll out for Starfield when full mod support arrives in 2024.

If you just can’t wait for the Elder Scrolls 6 release date then we’ve got you covered, as you can play a series of great games like Skyrim in the meantime.

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