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You Can Transfer Your 360 Skyrim Characters to PC

A vast world of improved texture detail awaits you.

After playing Skyrim for several dozen feverish hours in the course of the review process, I figured it must be the mark of a truly special game that I immediately wanted to sink in several dozen more hours as soon as I had the time. It's just that good.

But the release-day discovery of the low-quality texture bug on the Xbox 360--the first version we got in for review, and the one I spent the bulk of my time with--gave me a good reason to hold off. One of these games only comes along every few years; might as well ensure it looks as good as it can while I see everything (else) it has to offer for the first time. I wasn't about to abandon my level-30 character to restart on another platform, so I grudgingly decided to wait for the issue to be corrected, which may still be as much as two weeks away from happening.

In a strange twist of fate, it seems like I might not have to wait after all, now that users over on Reddit have posted a set of easy steps to extract your save file from the 360 version of Skyrim and bring it directly into the PC version. I verified that the process only took about five minutes before I was up and running with my old Imperial mace-and-shield fighter from my original playthrough, except this time with a mouse and keyboard instead of a controller.

While the need to change platforms is probably rare, the PC version looks and runs dramatically better than its console counterparts, and of course features the much-ballyooed support for mods that's already yielded a Skyrim Street View feature, among other novelties. Due to those distinct advantages, some players might find themselves ready to try the PC version in a few weeks or months, maybe after the inevitable Steam sale.

The Xbox 360 is such a closed platform that the very idea this even works is sort of magical to me. Granted, the necessary tools can certainly be put to a more questionable purpose than this one, but like hardware mod chips before them, this seems like the rare situation where console modification lets you do something that's unique and ethically sound at the same time.

If you've heard about a way to do something similar with the PS3 version as well, I'm sure some readers would appreciate it if you posted your info in the comments.

Brad Shoemaker on Google+
149 Comments
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Posted by Stahlbrand

Love PC Skyrim. But I disagree with the prevailing support for using a controller.

I started with my wired 360 controller, played for 5-6 hours like that, tried M/KB for a whim and found that I GREATLY PREFER keyboard/mouse.

Posted by StingingVelvet

I have no need for this as I only have a PC, but this is really cool. More games should allow for this. It would be really awesome since we buy a "license" and not a game anyway if you could just get all versions of a game every time you buy one and play on your platform of choice, cloud saves following you the whole way.

Posted by Tebbit

@onan said:

@DrWhat said:

I highly suggest using a 360 controller for picking master-level locks, too. But other than that, it's definitely the best way to play. Watching the load times on the 360 is torture.

I haven't picked up the game yet, but the mod community has put out some incredible stuff, including something I'm sure Hardcore Dave would appreciate: Lockpick Pro. It shows your remaining lockpick health and the lock sweet spot.

... So yeah, you don't really need a controller.

So... where is the skill in that? Isn't it like an auto-lockpick pretty much?

Posted by sickVisionz

Modding game saves is probably the best thing about the USB drive support on the 360.

Posted by jessej07

Careful if you're tempted to transfer the save back to the 360. I'm sure if Microsoft can detect any modified save file they will likely ban the associated Live account.

Posted by Zapbrader

That is cool as shit.

Online
Posted by Tan

Damn, that's pretty great.

Posted by onan

@Tebbit said:

@onan said:

@DrWhat said:

I highly suggest using a 360 controller for picking master-level locks, too. But other than that, it's definitely the best way to play. Watching the load times on the 360 is torture.

I haven't picked up the game yet, but the mod community has put out some incredible stuff, including something I'm sure Hardcore Dave would appreciate: Lockpick Pro. It shows your remaining lockpick health and the lock sweet spot.

... So yeah, you don't really need a controller.

So... where is the skill in that? Isn't it like an auto-lockpick pretty much?

Without any force feedback, I'd imagine it's more luck than skill anyway on PC. And no, auto-lockpick attempts tend to break the lockpicks, so this would be better. :)

It's currently the #7 most downloaded mod right now on the Skyrim Nexus, so it would seem the majority of PC gamers don't share your qualms about "cheating" the lockpick minigame, in any case.

Posted by Tebbit

@onan: Ah, I forgot that it vibrated when you had a controller. I've just been guessing the entire time on the PC. Educated guesses, sure.

Posted by wolf_blitzer85
@project343 said:

@tekmojo said:

Yessir Brad, come to the Darkside.

We have sweet rolls!

Some asshat took my sweet roll.....
Posted by tekmojo

@wolf_blitzer85 said:

@project343 said:

@tekmojo said:

Yessir Brad, come to the Darkside.

We have sweet rolls!

Some asshat took my sweet roll.....

It's ok I got some honey nut treats and spiced wine.

Posted by yorro

A lot of people here think PCs don't have controllers.

Posted by Hurricrane

This kind of thing really should be much MUCH more common

Posted by Floppypants

I've been watching in disbelief of how poorly my friend's PS3 version runs in comparison to my PC version.  Ignoring mod support and better graphics, the PC version is vastly superior if only because of the difference in load times and frame rate.  It looks unplayable.

Posted by jasondesante

transfarring?

Posted by FunExplosions
@onan said:

@Tebbit said:

@onan said:

@DrWhat said:

I highly suggest using a 360 controller for picking master-level locks, too. But other than that, it's definitely the best way to play. Watching the load times on the 360 is torture.

I haven't picked up the game yet, but the mod community has put out some incredible stuff, including something I'm sure Hardcore Dave would appreciate: Lockpick Pro. It shows your remaining lockpick health and the lock sweet spot.

... So yeah, you don't really need a controller.

So... where is the skill in that? Isn't it like an auto-lockpick pretty much?

Without any force feedback, I'd imagine it's more luck than skill anyway on PC. And no, auto-lockpick attempts tend to break the lockpicks, so this would be better. :)

It's currently the #7 most downloaded mod right now on the Skyrim Nexus, so it would seem the majority of PC gamers don't share your qualms about "cheating" the lockpick minigame, in any case.

Nah, boyee. I'm playing on pc and can pick a master lock right outta Helgen. Then again, I was unusually good at picking lock in Fallout 3, and even in Oblivion.
Posted by MikeHawk

It's definitely worth it to transfer over to the PC. All of the other kids in my dorm are playing it on their 360s and it looks like garbage compared to it on my PC, even without my texture fixes. I honestly can't even read most of the loading screen texts because my load time never goes above 3 seconds.

Posted by Chop

I kinda want to do this just because the load times (I don't care about textures or mods), but I can't justify buying the game twice just for load times...bleh. 

Posted by AwesomeAquaman

That is pretty awesome, now if only ps3 can do that as well... SKYRIMJOB!

Posted by ThePhenomenal1

as cool as that is i would never use it. part of the fun of exploring and adventuring in this game is going into the unknown. all i know about where i need to go is where it is on my map, but not what it looks like on the way over there and what kind of situations occour during the trek. if i can just bring up a map and completely route my whole trip it wouldn't be nearly as exciting.

Posted by Cirdain

@jasondesante said:

transfarring?

Posted by p00rdevil

What I don't understand is why Brad, or Jeff, or Kasavin or anyone else with a decent gaming PC would buy and play this game on any console in the first place?

Edited by MrOldboy

@p00rdevil said:

What I don't understand is why Brad, or Jeff, or Kasavin or anyone else with a decent gaming PC would buy and play this game on any console in the first place?

Because its much more convenient and comfortable to play. I am playing the game on my HDTV with a 360 controller, the PC version. Greg Kasavin played the 360 version on the live show because it was the only version they had, same with Brad, Jeff, Patrick, everyone. Bethesda only sent out 360 copies. Maybe they felt the 360 gave them the best shot at high review scores, or maybe it's just easier to send out a bunch of retail 360 copies. Who knows, but to answer the question, they wanted to play the game early and give coverage to us, so they played what they had, the 360 version. Although I bet some of them with PCs would have still played the 360 version. Couch/bed + HDTV is a nice combination.

Posted by 1nfinitum

@p00rdevil: Developers seem to favor sending out the 360 versions of their games to review sites. Since steam games won't unlock early, that was likely the only way Brad could get his review done in time for the release.

Posted by Bakath

I do not like it with the controller myself nor do I like it on my TV. The first night I had the game I was getting tired but still wanted to play so I fired up the theater which is also connected to my PC and gabbed my 360 controller. First off even though my TV is properly calibrated the colors and refresh are not even close to my monitor nor is it as crisp. With 8ish hours in on mouse and keyboard the controller felt sluggish just just icky. I think I lasted 30 minutes trying to play that way before I just shut down for the night. I have not had an issue with the PC interface but I do hear a lot of gripe about how it is clunky, I think it work pretty good and I definitely do not get the play with controller argument at all. Witcher 2 the controller was great but Skyrim seems to work much better with M&K.

Posted by Bistromath

Once you experience 90-105 FoV, you can never go back.

Posted by McShank

@onan said:

@Tebbit said:

@onan said:

@DrWhat said:

I highly suggest using a 360 controller for picking master-level locks, too. But other than that, it's definitely the best way to play. Watching the load times on the 360 is torture.

I haven't picked up the game yet, but the mod community has put out some incredible stuff, including something I'm sure Hardcore Dave would appreciate: Lockpick Pro. It shows your remaining lockpick health and the lock sweet spot.

... So yeah, you don't really need a controller.

So... where is the skill in that? Isn't it like an auto-lockpick pretty much?

Without any force feedback, I'd imagine it's more luck than skill anyway on PC. And no, auto-lockpick attempts tend to break the lockpicks, so this would be better. :)

It's currently the #7 most downloaded mod right now on the Skyrim Nexus, so it would seem the majority of PC gamers don't share your qualms about "cheating" the lockpick minigame, in any case.

lockpicking is easy without this mod.. This mod is more for people who just dont want to spend the time playing the game the way it was released. Never fun to mod the game out the door until you beat it first at least -.-

Posted by Mystyr_E

this computer has an awful video card so Skyrim is not really unplayable just not ideal for me on PC. Once I get a new card, maybe I'll try this out

Posted by Teclo

@onan: I'm playing on PC and I find it easy, you just have to tap the A or D key and not be heavy-handed. The rumble doesn't tell you anything your eyes can't by just observing it. And as for "the majority of PC gamers", the mod has had 14,000 downloads, the game has sold almost a million on PC at retail and at least a quarter of a million on Steam. Those 14,000 people that downloaded that are a small minority, a little over 1% of players on PC. I guess that's the 1% of people that can't tell the difference between the lock trembling (and about to snap your pick) and the lock consistently turning in the same direction, or those that have slow reactions or fat clumsy sausage fingers.

Posted by Brad

@p00rdevil said:

What I don't understand is why Brad, or Jeff, or Kasavin or anyone else with a decent gaming PC would buy and play this game on any console in the first place?

We got the 360 version two weeks before it released and didn't have access to the other two until the game was on shelves, so you can probably figure out why.

Staff
Posted by ajamafalous

Holy shit, that's pretty crazy.

Posted by Superfriend

Played it on a friends PC a bit and I have to say: The one thing that is NOT that much better on PC are the Textures. On 360, you have a mixture of the high and medium texture settings the PC has. A lot of the textures (if you can avoid the texture bug) are actually pretty high quality.

The PC version has vastly superior loading times however. Even on a relatively slow Laptop HDD the game just loads a lot faster. You can also crank up the draw distance and the "fade" distance of individual objects, like trees, grass or characters. I was also surprised that it ran almost as good as Oblivion, performance wise. Even on an older PC with only a relatively recent graphics card the game will run real well and the framerate will be relatively smooth. The only downside of the PC version is the interface, which is very controller focused. One thing about the mods: I like to have at least one "vanilla" playthrough without any mods, as the developers intended. So I will get the PC version a little later, since I don´t want to pay full price twice.

Posted by Butano

This is pretty neat! Wish I could've done this with my Mass Effect saves from my 360 to my PC.

Posted by CashBailey

I put in that map mod and it worked for about a day. Then it would screw my map up and crash my game.

Posted by cap123

Well all this trouble makes me having to wait a month until my uni work calms down a little easier to take :)

Posted by Sogeman

And if you do it the other way around you totally break the TOS. I mean you break them either way but they can't really do anything against you taking your 360 save to the PC.

Modio overall breaks the TOS so only do stuff they can't find out (don't bring a save back from the PC that would give you an Achievement)

Posted by XtremePudim

@Superfriend: i just wanted to mention that, if you have a xbox controller, you can use it to play the game even though the game's store page doesn't mention anything about the game being controller enabled.

Posted by AlexanderSheen

@McShank: I'm with you. The lockpicking is easy. Maybe you break 4-5 picks on the master level locks, but hey, it's master after all. The skill in lockpicking lies in the sensitive motions. If you try it like a crazy caveman, the pick gonna break in less then a second.

Posted by PedanticJase

this is cool, not very useful but cool

Posted by AndrewB

Now if only Microsoft would allow mods for the 360.

The first console manufacturer that builds in support for such a thing wins.

Posted by Fistfulofmetal

I've been playing Skyrim on PC with my Xbox controller. The interface just works better with it, as does the dual wielding combat.

Hell, even Dave agree's. He said so much on the radio show last night.

Posted by Chris2KLee

@Fistfulofmetal said:

I've been playing Skyrim on PC with my Xbox controller. The interface just works better with it, as does the dual wielding combat.

Hell, even Dave agree's. He said so much on the radio show last night.

Yeah, I was doing fine with the mouse and keyboard, but the second I plugged in the controller it was like switching from a family van to a sports car. Way smoother.

Posted by Trylks

OK, some of you may not like this, but, is it possible to use a receiver for the 360 controller on PC (I know those exist) and play on PC with the same layout and in general without differences WRT control when compared with the 360 version?

Posted by Mailman

the textures on PC are garbage and not much better than xbox anyway (ie. http://skyrim.supermensa.org )

that said, the mods coming out now fix the problem Bethesda created

Posted by Majkiboy

@Mailman: really man? Trolling? Have you seen the low res ones?

Posted by ZAD

After I uninstalled my game on 360 and cleared my cache I have no more texture issues, I now have to wait longer at loading screens but at least when I'm actually playing the game the textures look great. Are the PC visuals really that much better?

Posted by mbr2

@AndrewB: An open source console? If the ever was an oxymoron...

Posted by Hitchenson

I did the exact same thing for Borderlands, I have 8 days of playtime on one save. No way in hell I was giving up all that loot.

Posted by Hef

@Mailman: As someone who has played over 30 hours and who owns a very powerful rig, I can attest to them not being garbage. After going back and watching Greg's first marathon Vid I noticed how much worse the shadows, aliasing and textures are on xbox.

My textures look nothing like website you link to. There is so much variation of specs and potential for downloads to screw up on PC that a few people getting crappy looking textures isn't a huge surprise.

Posted by Wandering_Idiot

@Trylks said:

OK, some of you may not like this, but, is it possible to use a receiver for the 360 controller on PC (I know those exist) and play on PC with the same layout and in general without differences WRT control when compared with the 360 version?

Well yes, or just plug a wired controller in directly to a USB port. Don't know why you'd bother trying to get a wireless one to work.

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