Obsidian's Fallout: New Vegas director, Joshua Sawyer, has piped up to try and explain the technology problems currently plaguing the PS3 version of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
Sawyer, whose game ran on seemingly similar base tech to Bethesda's epic RPG, has told fans on Formspring that the game's PS3 lag issues are likely an "engine-level issue" that would take a "large time commitment" to fix.
Sawyer explained that, on Bethesda's tech, the size of save files "can easily be a big problem, especially if you're on the PS3.
"The longer you play a character, the more bit differences on objects (characters, pencils on tables, containers, etc.) get saved off and carried around in memory," he explained. "I think we've seen save games that are pushing 19 megs, which can be really crippling in some areas."
Asked by a user if the engine problems are exclusive to PS3, Sawyer answered, "As with Fallout 3 and Skyrim, the problems are most pronounced on the PS3 because the PS3 has a divided memory pool."
He added: "The Xbox 360 has a unified memory pool: 512 megs of RAM usable as system memory or graphics memory. The PS3 has a divided memory pool: 256 megs for system, 256 for graphics. It's the same total amount of memory, but not as flexible for a developer to make use of."
Skyrim's problems are "an engine-level issue with how the save game data is stored", he claimed.
"We're talking about how the engine fundamentally saves off and references data at run time. Restructuring how that works would require a large time commitment."
Sawyer of course had no involvement in Skyrim's development - and it's not even clear how similar that game's technology is with its Fallout predecessor - but it's interesting to hear his insight at least.
In a blog post last week, Skyrim developer Bethesda promised it will treat future game updates with more care.
For Skyrim tips, consult the Skyrim guide.