Does Skyrim have a problem with textures and freezing?

By Alan Ng - Nov 11, 2011

Upon reading several of the reviews that went live for Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, it appears that the game may suffer from some texture and graphical issues. This is evident in the fact in Bethesda already sending out a day one patch to help fix the issues, but is the problem a lot worse than first believed?

Before you all say that the game looks amazing and you are having no problems, that’s fine. We would agree with you that the game looks beautiful to look at, but it doesn’t mean that everyone feels the same way.

Joystiq’s review sticks out in particular, as they have clearly stated that their game froze up as many as five times during review. Here is a quote from what they had to say about these issues: ”I can’t extend the same pass to the game’s wholly unsurprising yet still pretty disappointing technical problems. I don’t mind a little jank in a world this big, but five hard freezes, a mask that made my face disappear for much of the game and an entire dungeon where I inexplicably had unlimited magic? It’s too much.”

Destructoid, who are usually very critical when it comes to review scores dished out an impressive maximum score for Skyrim, but there was still a brief mention of the same freezing problems occuring in the game. Here is a line from Jim Sterling: ”Some will get stuck attempting to perform an action, and if the player doesn’t notice they’re missing, they could be lost forever in the sprawling world. Other potential allies will still recognize the player as having someone with them, meaning lost comrades won’t be replaced until a quest calls for a specific follower, automatically dismissing the lost one (though he/she will still remain lost). I’ve also had the game freeze once or twice, but one can never be sure if that’s a fault of the game or the console trying to run it. ”

We spoke about this earlier in our review roundup, as VentureBeat’s review is the lowest score we’ve seen so far and that is still an impressive 89/100. They too however had a few issues with the game, as they said ”There are some very rough patches in the graphics throughout the vast world. The much-touted animations can be particularly wonky, but there are also some extremely notable textures that stand out, not just compared to the rest of the game, but compared to all other games from 2011 as well.”

A few users have also been on to Twitter to share their texture problems with Bethesda’s Pete Hines. Here is a Twitter exchange between one user and Pete, discussing the potential texture problems:

User: ”@DCDeacon So texture issue questions will go completely unanswered. Nice PR there. Answers my question I guess, no fix. Sweet. Later Pete.”

Pete: ”@MalfisqewSlorth I don’t know what texture glitches you are talking about. Game runs same off disc vs. HDD. We don’t see any differences”

User: ”@DCDeacon There have been tons of complaints that they aren’t loading properly when installed on 360. Are these just rumours?”

Pete: ”@MalfisqewSlorth I. Don’t. Know. Maybe legit, maybe not. We haven’t seen it. We’ll see what folks say when legit copies are out in release.”

It’s interesting that Pete said the words ‘legit copies’ there, perhaps some of the alleged texture problems on the Xbox 360 version of the game are specifically related to the pirated version of the game? Too early to tell yet anyway as Pete says.

While it is clear that Skyrim is an amazing game, it is also clear that it may suffer from the same graphical problems that Oblivion did. We will be publishing our own review on this shortly so we can give our own take on this. If you have already played the game, let us know if you have spotted any texture-related issues, or if the game is freezing frequently for you.

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Also See: Bethesda E3 2017 event date with games list hype

  • Guest

    Honestly, I love this game; it’s amazing all around & I’m willing to ignore the few glitches I’ve ever come across because frankly they were minor, silly things. Granted, there is the level 30 limit that sucks away all of the fun of progressing any further in Skyrim. I find whenever I reach that level, looting is impossible because if you loot from the wrong object or person you might as well kiss your progress goodbye because it is going to freeze. Now I don’t know if it’s the same for everyone, but that’s how it happens for my Xbox 360 version. What makes it worse is you don’t know what person or object it’s going to be that’ll freeze it. Really, I’ve come to the point where it’s frozen on me on two different characters, an orc & a argonian, & I can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous this is. I really am at the point of wanting to abolish it despite how fun it may be up until that level. I think a lot of recalling should be done & this game would do nicely for some major fixing, but lets face it, there’s hardly a chance on that & that’s what depresses & pisses me off most.

  • skyrimarcher

    Fallout, oblivion and skyrim all freeze after you make any progress in the game.  I just reached level 35 in skyrim, and the damn thing freezes every other minute. Fallout had the same issue, as soon as I hit level 20 I had extreme lagging issues. I don’t care how “beautiful” skyrim is, the freezing thing is absolute bullshit.

  • Seekwellxprt

    Here’s my 2 cents worth folks,

      Got Skyrim, gorgeous game, well thought out details and amazing graphics,…………..BUT, and yes, it’s a big but, it freezes just as much, if not more(1 week and over a dozen freezes and counting) than Oblivion and Shivering Isles had. In fact, Shivering Isles had bugs that even Oblivion did not. For that matter, I have more than 1 copy of fallout 3 too(original and goty edition) and they freeze up about the same as Oblivion does. Considering all of this, AND the fact that I’ve played Oblivion and Fallout on no less than 4 different PS3s, I think I can rule out blaming the console and put the problem right in the hands of Bethesda. I’m a software developer and I can tell you that if my company put out a product that clearly couldn’t pass Testing and QA, we’d be out of business, as would anyone else. The really sad part is that even with all the freezing I’ll still play their games, just because they are fantastic games, even if they DO make me wanna put the controller through the plasma screen as hard as I can, because of the bugs. I think that’s where most of us can classify ourselves as addicts.



  • marshall blaise

    hi guys ironclad here! i just gotta say first off the game is beautiful!!!!!!! couldnt get much better than this, just got mine x-mas day. i couldnt wait to play this when i knew it was hittin market, the time came and ive been hurt big time! im a long time gamer on the xbox 360, ive played hundreds of games includen all the elder scrolls games now before i even herd of skyrim, i rocked oblivion to the ground!! i went 48+ hrs straight on that one and had no issues!! i play on a both new and used mehcines! ive had plenty of things happen with freezes, crashes and minor stuff that was fixable and continued playn like nothin happend! now comes my issue of late with skyrim! loved it, booted it up, got to the first dung, and bammmmmmmm! freeze!? turned the system off and booted up again! freeze 10 mins into the game and i cant even get across a fkn river without a freeze up of some sort every time i boot up!!!? lol its not the mechines, its not patches, its a delibral issue that needs a recall period!!!!!! this is devastation to me, why of all games!!! the freeze issue needs fixing with either a heavy duty patch or a new version period!! $70 dollars is worth it, but when u have this many freezes on one game, theres something wrong! i just want makers of the game to acknowledge the fact theres an issue that needs fixing pls ppl dont let me down!!!!

  • Dru1440

    game freezes a ton.  just froze on me after I completed a quest so therefore I got no save.  If I had known the game had issues I wouldn’t have wasted money on it

  • Legioncain

    I have been playing Skyrim for almost 90 gamer hours and it seems after I play the game for more than 1 hour or less it starts to freeze alot I thought mybe something was wrong with my ps3 but I started playing other games on it for 8 hours or more they work fine and now it seems like it got worse when I updated the patch I hope they can fix this problem soon or I dont think Im going to buy anymore Bethesda’s games cause I not spending $60 on something I want to throw out a moving car int traffic. 

  • I have always been a fan of Bethesda’s games. However my recent purchase of Skyrim has proven to be very frustrating. It was bought for the PS3, and after the first hour of play had huge issues. the biggest one to note, I have not seen anyone else post on. The Whiterun town seems to be floating 10 ft off the ground, with only the doors and windows rendered. With that problem, constant freezing. The game will bug out when you reach a cliff that you can not explore further (repeating that message in all directions) causing a reload to the last save point  I cant but help feel betrayed by Bethesda. Who would want to pay $60 for that headache.

    After reading reviews on current issues people are having. I have not found a review that describes all of the bugs I am having rolled in to one big nonsense soup-sandwich, for about an hours worth of aimless game play. I hope I’m the only one having it, but if not, and likely so. post something to help others, if nothing more than to let them know they are not alone.

    Now I am no programmer, developer, engineer, or IT guru, but i know some stuff about things. with that said i wonder if the PS3 and Xbox360 are not powerful enough (i.e. insufficient RAM) to run the game at its current graphics scale. And if the generation of the console has any part to play in these problems.

    We can only hope Bethesda corrects these issues in a timely, and adequate manner.

  • I’ve had the same problem as Joystiq has had, except the unlimited magic…

  • I have a PS3 version, and it will play fine for a bit then it starts to slowdown and get VERY laggy. i have had it freeze on me about 10 times now.  there are even in some instances where areas wont load properly, and I have had people vanish into thin air on me. one final problem i have and i think it has something to do with the graphics but i put some clothing on a maniquin in one of my houses and the whole thing like turned invisible. i can still activate it and get my stuff. but the Manniquin is not to be seen

  • Maxwell2005

    Bought it for 360.Not to say there is too much trouble with this one: gamedesign looks amazing, map is huge, gameplays feels great.About technical issues.I played it from HDD for the first time and noticed that laggy textures.Then played off the disc – became better. Playing from USB seems to be a solution to me))And of course framerate is awesome(after Oblivion both on 360 and PS3)!!!

  • Anonymous

    mine freezes pretty much everytime i enter a dungeon or a cave.. oh well

  • Xbox 360 version has huge issues.  From trying to create a character, to the first dragon landing (and all other dragons after that).  Also, loading times and texture loading times.  I don’t have it installed, but from what I’m hearing, that doesn’t matter.  It has also frozen on me multiple times, and these “freezing periods” can last from 10-29 seconds while it loads the world/area or it will completely freeze the system and I have to turn it off after that.  

    I am very disappointed overall.  6 years in the making, who the hell was testing this game, and what were they testing it on?  To have all these issues somehow overlooked, is inexcusable.

  • Shakez92

    the ps3 version has horrible texture issues just like the xbox version, plz spread the word people, i need bethesda to correct it too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD!!!!! my texture glitches are horrbile.

    • JunkRobot

      I agree some textures are having trouble loading properly on the ps3 I did sent out a e-mail to Bethesda about this twice so hopefully they saw it…who knows….

  • jb808

    I’ve had three hard freezes within 7 hours of gameplay on the PS3.. It’s usually when I’m picking something up or changing my weapon out.


    Attempted to play several times but lagging is horrible and freezing is worse. I have plenty of space on the xbox so I know that that’s not the problem. Glad I didn’t purchase the collectors edition.. spending that much money on something that we’ve all waited patiently for then being extremely disappointed.. at least this was on $60.

  • Markgreen74

    played 2hours on my ps3 and had 4 hard freezes this sucks. anyone else getting this problem?.

  • Dynasty2021

    Skyrim is having varying performance (fps) figures across PCs around the world at the moment.  Lower spec’ed PCs are reporting higher FPS figures at higher details than PCs twice as powerful. 

    Shadows seem to be a major influence, setting those to ‘low’ shows a huge FPS increase, and with everything else set to max, the visual change isnt really noticeable, but the performance IS.  The shadows still remain, just less smooth and ‘detailed’.  Luckily, it’s not something alot of gamers care about.  Never heard anyone say ‘look at that amazing shadow detail!’.

    Also, Crossfire (2 graphics cards) is the biggest problem, as quite simply, it doesnt seem to be working with Skyrim.  People with 2 cards are reporting around 30fps. 

    And I’m sure the modding community are currently all over Skyrim as we speak, to improve performance and increase details.  Well, if Oblivion is anything to go by.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for the useful information again Dynasty!

    • Blah

      No construction set is out yet.

  • Guest

    I play it on the Xbox 360. The game froze once, during the load screen after I died a couple of times. The textures became better when I installed it to an USB flash drive instead of to the hard drive. But I don’t know if installing it to an USB is better than playing it of the disc because I never tried that. Installed it to the hard drive, noticed the blurry textures and looked online for fix and installed it to an USB flash drive.

  • Roger Kennedy

    I bought the PC version and have a texture glitch where certain tree types are not rendered properly and casting fire magic on creatures renders blotchly black squares instead of the expected flames.  The rest of the game is visually amazing… so far.  However, this is detracting majorly from my enjoyment of the game, so I am gonna put off playing until the next couple of “fixits” come out.

  • im on twelve hours of playing time and have only found two graphical glitches (very minor) and one where they all were talking to nobody but no game freezing ones. Must be lucky 🙂

    • Dtopouzis

      I’ll buy your copy for 200 bucks!! Mine froze 3 different times at load screans today, PS3 is BRAND NEW, bought less than 2 weeks ago… fml

  • Guest

    After reading the Ign review for the pc version, it seems as if the pc has far fewer issues overall. Many of the issues may have something to do with the hardware limitations of the pc. Or, as the article states, it may be due to the pirated versions being unstable.

    On a side note, I bought fallout: new vegas (pc) on day one and proceeded to play for six hours straight and, despite the tales of extreme bugginess, ran into only a few minor graphical issues, so on the pc side, it seems to ben largely dependent on the hardware setup that one has.

  • Sam

    It’s a huge game and it’s a bethesda game too. So yeah there will be plenty of bugs and complaining, that’s the way of the gaming world now. Fortunately I’ll be playing it on PC, so bugs are usually easier to avoid/fix or work around.

    • Ronnie Hedlund

      Many bugs are still there on the PC… And for me it got from acceptable to horrible (after the last forced update maybe?), now freezes within 10-20 minutes, unplugged the USB-flash because i read somewhere that might be the cause (as a programmer i felt that it was good that that did not solve the problem, to be able to keep respect for the fellow programmers, but they must solve this soon…)
      If it is a problem with steam it is not excusable, because it is a forced part of the deal.

      Easier to fix – yes, but more likely to be fixed – no. More people are using consoles than a PC for gaming – sadly.

  • Byusheldonpearson

    A dungeon with unlimited magic!?  And they complained about that?  That is a glitch I could live with!

    • Anonymous

      Haha, I thought the same thing.