Fallout 4’s New Update Removes Graphical Settings On Steam Deck

Image: Bethesda / Valve / Kotaku
Image: Bethesda / Valve / Kotaku

Fallout 4’s “next-gen” update has removed the settings menu from the game on Steam Deck and reportedly made it worse to play on Valve’s portable PC, upsetting many players.

When Bethesda announced plans to release a new, big “next-gen” patch for Fallout 4, people were excited. The open-world post-apocalyptic RPG, originally released in 2015, would run and look better on consoles. Some old bugs would be fixed, too and Bethesda was adding new content to the large game from its Creator Club store. The studio also promised that Fallout 4 would be Verified on Steam Deck after the update, which many assumed would be a good thing. But now that the update is out in the wild, it’s become clear that Fallout 4 is actually worse on Steam Deck as a result. Oops!

On April 25, Bethesda released a new update for Fallout 4. According to multiple posts on Reddit, Steam forums, Twitter, and elsewhere, players who downloaded the new update on Steam Deck have discovered that, in an effort to get the game “Verified” by Valve, Bethesda has removed the game’s launcher. This was a somewhat annoying pop-up on Steam Deck, but it was also the only way to change the in-game visual settings in Fallout 4 on PC. Now, with the launcher gone, players are stuck with whatever the game defaults to when booted up, leading to crashes, poor performance, and other problems.

Another issue is that the update doesn’t fix a problem players have dealt with on Steam Deck OLED, which has a 90hz screen instead of the 60hz screen found on the OG model. Players have reported that Fallout 4 still runs at half the FPS intended when playing on OLED and its 90hz screen. Worse, mods built to fix some of these Steam Deck issues and visual problems don’t work anymore because of the update. Players are also reporting that a previous FPS fix involving an .ini file isn’t working anymore after the update.

There is a partial workaround that adds the Fallout 4 launcher back to the Steam Deck version of the game. Players need to add “SteamDeck=0 %command%” to Fallout 4’s launch options in the game’s settings on Steam Deck. But it’s wild and not great that players have to do this just to change visual settings while playing on Valve’s portable PC.

It’s not all bad news. Players on OG Steam Decks have reported that the game runs better, which Kotaku was able to confirm. And many players on desktop PCs say the game now runs at a locked 60 with improved visuals and frame pacing. Hopefully, Bethesda can update the update to either add a settings menu to Fallout 4 (unlikely at this point) or add some way to access the launcher without adding a special command for Steam Deck players.


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