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Atomic Heart’s graphics options have gone mysteriously missing on the Steam Deck

The curious case of the vanishing menus

Atomic Heart's title screen on a Steam Deck.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun

A most peculiar quandary has befallen Atomic Heart players on the Steam Deck, though mayhaps not to the extent that it’s worth writing like a knockoff Sherlock Holmes for any more of this article. Basically, the display and graphics settings have gone missing, leaving the Sovietpunk FPS without any means of resolution or visual quality adjustments.

Players first noticed the disappearance back in April, following Atomic Heart’s update. Developers Mundfish quickly took note, promising on reddit to investigate and that the issue "should be fixed in [the] next patch". However, as of the most recent update – which only released yesterday, May 16th – the absent menus have still yet to return to waiting Steam Decks.

James recently bought a load of unusual Steam Deck accessories from Etsy before asking Liam to review them.Watch on YouTube

The options menus are all present and correct when Atomic Heart is running on a Windows PC, but for whatever reason the usual display and quality settings are indeed completely gone on the Steam Deck. Odd, considering this is supposed to just be the usual PC version of the game, not a separate Deck-specific version. Here’s a screenshot of how the options screen should, and currently does, look on Windows:

Atomic Heart's graphics setting menu on PC.
Image credit: Focus Entertainment / Rock Paper Shotgun

Now here’s the same screen on my Steam Deck, also complete with the update. Display options? Never heard of them, comrade.

Atomic Heart's setting screen, currently bugged, on a Steam Deck.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun

Look closely and you’ll also see that the available settings don’t even match the selected menu header; those reskin toggles are squatting in the audio section, not 'additional content' where they belong. This looks like a less pervasive glitch than the graphics settings going outright missing, as I can only sometimes replicate this smaller mix-up, but those lost visual options are well and truly gone.

For now, anyway. Despite the lack of a promised fix, Mundfish’s official stance maintains that this is a bug they can and eventually will swat down. It’s no game-ruiner, either: even if existing players didn’t already have a set of custom graphics settings in place before the vanishing, the default settings that kick in when starting a brand new game do seem to run fine. I’ve been getting between 45fps and 60fps on my Deck, on a fresh account without any previous settings saved in the Steam Cloud. That’s more than enough for Atomic Heart’s sometimes great, sometimes terrible sci-fi shooting, and it gets the 1280x800 resolution right by itself as well.

And yet, something about this sits about as comfortably with me as the back seat of a scrapped Trabby. Maybe it’s diverging featureset, unintentional as it apparently is, between Atomic Heart on Windows and Atomic Heart on the Deck; something that’s not keeping in spirit of the Valve handheld's supposed purpose of simply being a portable PC. Maybe the lack of an assured fix smacks slightly of the much-advertised ray tracing functionality never materialising. Or maybe it’s just a belief that settings, unsexy a subject as they are, shouldn’t just up and disappear. Graphics toggles are one thing but what if Atomic Heart was left without important accessibility options, like subtitles and control rebinding, for over a month?

Funnily enough, Valve themselves don’t seem at that fussed: they granted Atomic Heart Steam Deck Verified status earlier in May. There must not be any rules in the verification programme about AWOL menus.

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Atomic Heart

PS4, Xbox One, PC

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About the Author
James Archer avatar

James Archer

Hardware Editor

James had previously hung around beneath the RPS treehouse as a freelancer, before being told to drop the pine cones and climb up to become hardware editor. He has over a decade’s experience in testing/writing about tech and games, something you can probably tell from his hairline.