Skyrim Together is a mod that would allow up to eight players to play The Elders Scrolls 5 together in co-op. But a battle of the mods is underway as the developers of the Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE) mod is accusing the Skyrim Together team of using their code without permission. Exacerbating the feud is the Skyrim Together team's Patreon, which pulls in over $33,000 a month.
A developer on the Skyrim Script Extender team published a post on the Skyrim mods subreddit accusing Skyrim Together of using SKSE code without consent. "Skyrim Together is stealing [Skyrim Script Extender] code, uncredited, without permission, with an explicit term in the license restricting one of the authors from having anything to do with the code," writes the SKSE developer.
SKSE is a useful tool in the Skyrim mod scene that allows modders to expand Skyrim's scripting capabilities, opening the door for more complicated mods. SKSE is under common copyright law, but according to the developer, after a Skyrim Together developer named Yamashi's "terrible behavior towards the script extender team," the SKSE specifically barred the Skyrim Online team from using SKSE.
"Due to continued intentional copyright infringement and total disrespect for modder etiquette, the Skyrim Online team is explicitly disallowed from using any of these files for any purpose," it says in the copyright for SKSE.
However, the Skyrim Together team is indeed using the SKSE code, admitting in a response post that it may still be unintentionally using SKSE code from an older build of the multiplayer mod.
"We have had disagreements with the SKSE folks in the past, I have tried to communicate with them but they have never replied," writes the Skyrim Together mod in a separate Reddit post. "So we stopped using their code. There might be some leftover code from them in there that was overlooked when we removed it, it isn't as simple as just deleting a folder, mainly our fault because we rushed some parts of the code. Anyway we are going to make sure to remove what might have slipped through the cracks for the next patch."
Aside from the bad blood between the two modding teams, there's also the matter of money. Skyrim Together currently has a Patreon page with over 28,000 members giving over $33,000 a month to the team. Recently, Skyrim Together launched a private beta for the multiplayer mod, but it's only accessible to contributors who put in at least $1 USD. Essentially, Skyrim Together is now a paid mod using unauthorized code. One caveat though: the devs are quick to remind players that the final version will be free.
"If you don't think we deserve your money we are not forcing you at all, you are free not to use our mod while in closed beta or event when it's released," writes a Skyrim Together modder. "I have been working on this for 8 years, and we are 10 people working on it right now, 35k after taxes for 10 people and years of work is less than minimum wage."
However, wages earned using stolen work from the SKSE team makes Skyrim Together's mod a shakier affair. And the feud highlights the drama in the modding scene where trust and cooperation has been paramount.