2K's 'quality of life' change for BioShock is that Linux users can't play it anymore

BioShock
(Image credit: Take-Two Interactive)
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Update: 2K tells PC Gamer that the company is "aware of possible impacts related to the recent update and working to resolve. Our player's experience is paramount, and we'll update our community with more information as it becomes available".


Original story:

Recent updates to the remastered versions of BioShock 1 and 2, plus BioShock Infinite, have rendered the games unplayable for Linux users. The patches, which are called "Quality of life updates" in the accompanying patch notes (opens in new tab), only make two deliberate changes: adding 2K account linking, and forcing the games to run through the 2K launcher "which includes a Store to purchase new content" after they boot from Steam.

It's the launcher that appears to be causing trouble for people running the games through Proton on desktop and Steam Deck, and which has completely broken Infinite's native Linux build. The Linux gaming subreddit (opens in new tab) is awash with players angry that their once perfectly functional game has been broken by an update that only sought to jam yet another intermediate launcher between Steam and the actual game. The games' Steam pages have likewise recently filled up with reviews decrying the update. Some users are saying they'll simply pirate a pre-patch version of the game rather than deal with the inconvenience that has been pointlessly foisted on them.

The good news, if you're hoping to play one of these games on Linux, is that your mileage may vary. GamingOnLinux (opens in new tab) performed some tests and found that—while the native Linux version of Infinite was toast—the games seemed to work on Proton 7.0-4 on Steam Deck. Trying to run them the same way on a Linux desktop was sometimes unsuccessful, though.

The updates would be galling even if they didn't completely fry an entire platform's version of the game. Calling your patch a "Quality of life update" and then only inserting a completely redundant launcher in the hope that one of the players you annoy might buy something from it is already absurd. Doing all that and breaking the game too is the cherry on top of a particularly irritating parfait.

With any luck, 2K will notice it's accidentally cut off an entire operating system from the BioShock games and issue a new patch—hopefully not containing further quality of life improvements—to rectify the situation. Then again, perhaps this whole thing is just the company adopting a bold new definition of the term "quality of life". Maybe 2K just wants us to put down our Steam Decks and touch grass.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.