Fallout 4 update nukes game launcher on Steam Deck

Rosalie Newcombe
Image of players in Fallout 76 looking towards an explosion.

The newly verified status of Fallout 4 is being called into question, as the new update has removed access to change the game’s graphical settings on Steam Deck.

After the success of the Fallout TV Show, Bethesda announced that a brand-new update was coming to Fallout 4. This update was to transform the iconic game with next-gen bells and whistles, with official Steam Deck verification.

But, Steam Deck owners have discovered that the new update has removed the ability to adjust Fallout 4’s in-game graphics.

Yesterday, April 25th marked the arrival of the the new Fallout 4 update for both console and PC owners of Fallout 4. When this “next-gen” update was announced, Bethesda insisted that the then-playable Fallout 4 would be “Steam Deck verified.” Yet, since the new update arrived on the Valve handheld, the game launcher has disappeared.

Fallout 4 image with Vault Boy frowning

When booting up Fallout 4, the Bethesda game launcher would appear, allowing Steam Deck owners to customize the in-game settings. The launcher has since been removed, resulting in the game running the Fallout 4 menu on start-up. Leaving players stuck to run Fallout 4 with the default settings on Steam Deck.

Unlike the Bethesda game launcher, the Fallout 4 game menu doesn’t allow players to adjust the in-game graphics and is incredibly limiting. Only giving options to change the button layout, enable the use of the official Pip-Boy app, or adjust display options like dialogue and general subtitles.

On r/Steam Deck, owners of Fallout 4 also reported other issues since the update. Reddit user WhoCares30 states that the update also has Fallout 4 “still running at half frame rates on OLED.” Unlike the LCD model, the Steam Deck OLED display has a 90 Hz screen. Fallout 4 was intended to run on a 60 Hz display, which could be behind the frame rate and performance issues.

When playing the game on the Steam Deck, the Valve handheld’s performance settings will report an average of 90 FPS, but this reporting is incorrect, and the game actually runs at half the speed, meaning that users will max out at around 45 FPS in an ideal scenario. An existing workaround was shared on the Steam Deck subreddit, which would get Fallout 4 to report a correct framerate. However, the next-gen Fallout 4 update has patched this workaround out.

Bethesda has yet to address any of the new Fallout 4 performance issues for Steam Deck owners. However, there is a quick fix to return the Bethesda game launcher. This allows players to continue to have the freedom of adjusting their Fallout 4 experience on the go.

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About The Author

Dexerto's Senior Tech Writer. Rosalie is an expert on all things handhelds, and has been picking them up since the original Game Boy, all the way up to the Steam Deck. Before working at Dexerto, they covered all things hardware for PCGamesN and Custom PC. Get in touch via email at rosalie.newcombe@dexerto.com.