Many EA games are borked on Steam Deck, but fixes are on the way

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was one of the Steam Deck’s showcase titles when it first went on sale — now, it’s one of likely dozens of popular EA games that don’t launch properly anymore. Nearly four weeks ago, Valve retroactively revoked the Steam Deck Verified status of most popular Electronic Arts games on Steam, including every modern Battlefield, Need for Speed, Mass Effect, FIFA, and Madden title.

The good news: both Valve and EA tell The Verge that fixes are on the way. There’s also an easy workaround if you’re comfortable navigating the desktop Linux interface and / or willing to risk your savegames.

Here’s a partial list of titles that are no longer Steam Deck Verified, according to SteamDB data:

  • A Way Out
  • Battlefield V
  • Battlefield 4
  • Battlefield 1
  • Dead Space 3
  • FIFA 22
  • FIFA 21
  • It Takes Two
  • Madden NFL 23
  • Madden NFL 22
  • Mass Effect: Legendary Edition
  • Mass Effect Andromeda
  • Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
  • Need for Speed Heat
  • Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered
  • Need for Speed Most Wanted
  • Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2
  • Star Wars Battlefront 2
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  • The Sims 4
  • Titanfall 2

That list is just the start: this’ll likely affect most games that use the EA App, a launcher that Electronic Arts created to replace its previous Origin client. Valve confirms that the issues stem from the EA App, and as Gaming on Linux’s Liam Dawe discusses in the video below, it can interfere with the way Windows games launch on the Linux-based Steam Deck. You’ll likely see a Steam logo circling the drain instead of the game you hoped to play.

Windows games run on the Deck because of Valve’s Proton compatibility layer — which fakes a portion of the Windows filesystem so that games know how to load all their prerequisite parts. And because Proton developers have already shipped EA App fixes to the “Proton Experimental” version, turning on Proton Experimental in your game’s Compatibility tab might be enough to get it to temporarily work.

But as Dawe and I both discovered, it’s not a permanent fix because new updates to the game can break the Proton files and send your game launch spinning down the drain once more.

Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais tells The Verge that Proton devs are working to fix that, too, but it sounds like they may have to tackle some issues on a game-by-game basis.

EA is looking into it as well: “While we don’t officially support the Steam Deck, we understand the player frustration and we’re always looking for ways to improve their experience everywhere our games appear. We are working closely with our partners at Valve to resolve these issues as quickly as possible and hope our players can get back to enjoying their favorite EA games shortly,” reads a statement from EA spokesperson Charlie Fortescue to The Verge.

Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order running on a Steam Deck, purple lightsaber in a poncho-clad jedi’s hand

You can absolutely still get Jedi: Fallen Order working on the Deck.
Photo by Sean Hollister / The Verge

In the meanwhile, you can still get these games to load with one simple trick — if you’re comfortable potentially deleting your save files. To protect your savegames, hold the Steam Deck power button and switch to desktop mode, then follow the instructions in Dawe’s video to locate your saves and make a copy elsewhere.

Then, you can pick a game, hit the gear icon, and select Developer > Delete Proton Files. That should recreate everything the game needs to run, including the EA App, and the game should launch afterward.

Developer > Delete Proton Files is visible in a Steam Deck screenshot.

Don’t delete your Proton files unless you’re certain your savegames are safe.
Screenshot by Sean Hollister / The Verge

In my experience, Jedi: Fallen Order was able to redownload its savegames from the Steam cloud after deleting Proton files, but I lost hours of progress with Mirror’s Edge Catalyst.

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