Why Skyrim Didn't Play Nice With the PS3

It's no secret that PlayStation 3 owners have had more than their share of problems with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, but other than a general understanding of how the system utilizes its available memory and some speculation related to save game file sizes, we haven't truly understood what the underlying issues were. That changes today, though, as Kotaku is sharing some comments made by Todd Howard during the recent D.I.C.E. Summit on what sort of problems they've ran into and what they've done to fix them:
"The way our dynamic stuff and our scripting works, it's obvious it gets in situations where it taxes the PS3. And we felt we had a lot of it under control. But for certain users it literally depends on how they play the game, varied over a hundred hours and literally what spells they use. Did they go in this building? [And so on.]"

One popular theory was that the lag on PS3 was due to a gamer's large save files.

"No it's not," Howard said. "That's the common misconception. It's literally the things you've done in what order and what's running. Some of the things are literally what spells do you have hot-keyed? Because, as you switch to them, they handle memory differently."

Howard said his developers knew that the PS3 was going to run into a "bad memory situation" and tried to tweak their code to prevent it from happening. He believes only "a small percentage" of gamers would run into this issues, but it was enough for Bethesda to want to fix things post-release.

"The 1.2 patch [released in November] took care of a lot of it," he said.

Problem solved? Gamers all relieved and in the clear? Not after that 1.2 patch. "There were clearly people that weren't," he said. "We didn't know why. So they sent us their saved games." Gamers submitted save files throughout December and Bethesda pored over them, trying to find the situations that screwed up the PlayStation 3's memory usage.