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BioShock games' "quality of life" updates actually break them on the Steam Deck

Infinite and both remasters affected, but there are workarounds

BioShock Remastered, BioShock 2 Remastered and BioShock Infinite have all fallen afoul of some questionably titled “quality of life” updates that publishers 2K Games released last week. These updates added a new 2K Launcher to all three BioShocks that appears when booting them up from Steam, but as found by GamingOnLinux, something about this launcher doesn’t take kindly to Linux-based operating systems. Linux-based operating systems like the Steam Deck’s SteamOS.

As it happens, then, there's a chance – if you’re trying to play on Valve’s handheld PC – that all these updates will do is swing a bloodied 9-iron into the Deck’s ability to launch the affected games at all. Whoopsie doodle.

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To check out the damage, I installed all three borked BioShocks onto my own Steam Deck, complete with the QoL updates, and both BioShock Infinite and BioShock Remastered failed to launch when commanded. I must have got lucky with BioShock 2 Remastered, though, as this launched fine - it simply didn't show the 2K Launcher when it would normally appear. Other Linux and Steam Deck users have reported it among the affected games, however.

(Possibly related: BioShock 2 Remastered is the only one of the three with a Steam Deck Verified rating. BioShock Remastered is rated as Playable, and Infinite as Unsupported, though the latter should still run on Proton 7.0 and later. It’s just not got the best performance in-game.)

How lame. It’s not like these updates even add much that actually improves “quality of life” as you’re playing: for all three games, the updates consist entirely of the 2K Launcher and the ability to link a 2K account if you have one. That’s it. Not really worth bricking Steam Deck compatibility, eh?

Luckily, GamingOnLinux also found some workarounds, which I’ve tried as well with success. For each game, you just need to paste in the following strings as Steam launch options – you can find the required field by opening the game’s Properties menu. The launch options field is at the top of the General tab, which should appear first by default.

To fix BioShock Remastered, add the following:

bash -c 'exec "${@/2KLauncher\/LauncherPatcher.exe/Build\/Final\/BioshockHD.exe}"' -- %command% -nointro

To fix BioShock 2 Remastered, add this:

bash -c 'exec "${@/2KLauncher\/LauncherPatcher.exe/Build\/Final\/Bioshock2HD.exe}"' -- %command% -nointro

And lastly, here’s the text for BioShock Infinite:

bash -c 'exec "${@/2KLauncher\/LauncherPatcher.exe/Binaries\/Win32\/BioShockInfinite.exe}"' -- %command% -nointro

In each case, this bypasses the 2K Launcher entirely. Annoyingly, this isn’t the first time a developer or publisher has wrecked their own game’s ability to run on the Steam Deck: Final Fantasy XIV was broken for a while after it, too, got a new launcher, and wasn’t playable until a later Proton update. One can but hope that this time, it’s 2K themselves who clean up their own mess.

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