Roll back Fallout 4's horrible next-gen update with this nifty downgrader mod (or trick Steam into thinking you got it with another)

 Fallout 4.
Fallout 4.

What you need to know

  • Fallout 4's long-awaited next-gen update came out last week, bringing performance and quality mode options as well as performance improvements to consoles and ultrawide support to PC, along with new free Creation Club content.

  • However, the update has proven to be quite controversial on PC in particular, as its ultrawide support horribly stretches out Fallout 4's UI and doesn't really change much else. It's also broken the community-made Fallout 4 Script Extender tool and all the mods that rely on it.

  • Thanks to a new mod called the Fallout 4 Downgrader, though, you can now easily and quickly roll back the update on Steam. There's also a mod that lets you trick Steam into thinking you got it already so you don't have to worry about accidentally updating Fallout 4 again.

  • You'll find links to where you can download both mods below, along with some additional information about them and how they work.

The long-awaited next-gen patch for Fallout 4 released last week, and thanks to all the buzz from Amazon's critically acclaimed Fallout TV show, there was a ton of hype for it. However, once the update actually went live, it quickly became apparent that it was, well...not great, to say the least. Despite lacking graphical improvements of any kind, the patch was a sizable ~14GB, and largely didn't fix any of Fallout 4's worst bugs and limitations. It also added 21:9 and 32:9 "ultrawide support" so bad it made Windows Central's ultrawide gang representative — yours truly — shed some tears (at least you can fix it).

It wasn't all bad, as console players got a few nice performance enhancements and options for performance and quality modes, and everyone received some free Creation Club add-ons like an Enclave-focused questline and a collection of junk-themed weaponry. Still, the update feels especially pointless on PC since it broke the Fallout 4 Script Extender (F4SE) — a program that tons of popular community-made mods rely on to function properly. Ironically, some of those mods, such as the Weapon Debris Crash Fix, address Fallout 4 bugs that Bethesda still hasn't squashed officially after the update. The F4SE dev is working hard to make a new version, but says they "cannot currently offer a timeline for its availability."

Naturally, many players have been trying to roll back the patch for their game so they can play with F4SE and their mods. This is very easy to do for the GOG version of the game since rollbacks are a built-in feature of its "Galaxy" client, but the process is a huge headache on Steam since it forces you to open its hidden console and manually enter download codes for the previous version of Fallout 4 and its DLCs. Thanks to the hard work of the game's modding community, though, there's now a free program that takes care of the process for you: the Fallout 4 Downgrader by zerratar on Nexus Mods.

Fallout 4
Fallout 4

Similar to the Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Downgrade Patcher that came out after Bethesda released the Skyrim Anniversary Edition, this tool will hook into Steam and download the last version of the game that was available before the next-gen patch to a folder. You can then paste the files into your Fallout 4 root directory, effectively overwriting the updated version of the game with the previous one and making it work with F4SE and the mods that depend on it.

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One notable requirement of the program that'll likely give you pause is the fact it asks for your Steam login info, as Steam's servers won't be able to confirm you actually own Fallout 4 and its add-ons otherwise. Luckily, it also comes with an option to log in with a QR code you can scan with the official Steam app on mobile devices, so you don't have to enter in your data if you'd rather not. For what it's worth, the author says your information "will not be used for any other purpose than logging in to Steam when downloading depots" — and for those that don't feel comfortable using the tool, they've kindly provided a thorough explanation on downpatching Fallout 4 yourself on the mod's description page.

Haven't updated Fallout 4 yet, but want to make sure you don't accidentally do so in the future? First, right-click the game in your Steam Library and select Properties > Updates > "Only update this game when I launch it" to make sure it doesn't auto-update before the next step. Then, you can download the STEAM - Skip Next-Gen Update mod from bilago to get a file tweak that tricks Steam into thinking you've already patched Fallout 4, getting rid of the option altogether (the author explains how to make a backup of the original file so you can get the update later if you want to).

Fallout 4
Fallout 4

Both mods came out just a few days ago, yet nearly have 20,000 downloads apiece already, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about how a large portion of the Fallout community on PC feels about the next-gen update. I figured the disdain for it would lead to the rapid development of tools like these ones, and sure enough, here they are. Make sure you read their descriptions carefully for installation instructions.

One mod project in particular that's been disrupted quite a bit by the update is Fallout London, a colossal game-sized project that's been in development since 2019. The next-gen patch brought many unintended consequences for Fallout London that've led to the mod's developer, Team FOLON, delaying its release to fix all the new issues and incompatibilities the update caused. Originally, it would have been available on April 23.

Despite the controversy surrounding the next-gen update, Fallout 4 itself is still a great game, and one of the best PC games as well as one of the best Xbox games to play if you're looking to get into Bethesda's post-apocalyptic RPG series. Though its main story and roleplaying systems disappoint compared to older releases like Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, it's got a huge content-rich map to explore, tons of enjoyable gameplay and combat variety, and strong worldbuilding.