The Steam Deck only had a few weeks of getting to know Final Fantasy XIV before the latter’s 6.08 update wrenched them apart. In less undeservedly romantic terms, it was the MMO’s newly added launcher that – unlike the rest of the game – didn’t work well at all with the Deck’s Proton compatibility software. Two months later, however, Valve have released an update on Proton’s experimental branch that fixes the launcher, making FFXIV playable on the handheld PC once again.
As spotted by Gaming On Linux, the latest Proton Experimental patch includes the FFXIV launcher fix alongside a host of other improvements, like fixing video playback in Ghostwire: Tokyo and some crash-proofing for Elden Ring – itself a previous beneficiary of ongoing Proton development. Previously, trying to launch the FFXIV launcher would make it hang forever; this update should make sure it opens as expected, granting passage into the game proper. Good news for mobile FFXIV players including, as Gabe Newell told us, the Valve founder himself.
I can’t think of any other games that ran fine on the Linux-based Steam Deck before suddenly and comprehensively hobbling themselves, so this is a notable update for happily concluding one of the Deck’s more egregious compatibility misadventures. If you’ve been the victim of an unplayable Final Fantasy and it wasn’t your fault, you can either apply the Proton Experimental update now, or just wait for it to inevitably release on the main Proton branch. For the former, you’ll need to install Proton Experimental from the Steam Store, enter FFXIV’s Properties menu on the Steam Deck, and force it to launch using Proton Experimental via the Compatibility tab.