The new Dead Space remake reportedly snubs Steam Deck. But can we get it working anyway?

The new Dead Space remake reportedly snubs Steam Deck. But can we get it working anyway?
Captured on my Steam Deck with low settings
UPDATE 1/28/2023: A Proton Hotfix was released that significantly improves stability and performance. This article no longer reflects the state of Dead Space on Steam Deck. Read more here.

The Verge is reporting that Dead Space – EA's remake of the 2008 classic sci-fi third person shooter – has deliberately snubbed Steam Deck.

It could be that the game's upgraded DirectX 12 dependency is using a new features that VKD3D has yet to support. Or perhaps Proton in general hasn't had a chance to catch up.

In theory, though, the game should be playable and smooth as butter, too. This is thanks to the title's modest minimum system requirements.

The Steam Deck's APU is at least as powerful as the GTX 1070.

But now that I've got my hands on it, I'm gonna give it a shot. What are we looking at with this title.

My initial impressions weren't good. When it first launched it built the shaders and the opening cutscene barely started playing before the game brought the whole Steam Deck down with it.

So I restarted the device and forced Proton Experimental. That got me much further into the game, though performance was still leaving a lot to be desired.

The framerate is wildly inconsistent ranging from anywhere to the 50's to as low as 0 FPS. Yes. Zero.

And it doesn't matter what graphical settings you have the game running with. The opening playable area was unsteady and dipped into the low 20s.

It does look nice on Deck, though... doesn't it?

It's the damnedest thing. It's as though the game stops to compile shaders even though it spent at least 5 minutes at first launch compiling them.

Anyway, I got inside the security area, the game froze for about 30 seconds, then crashed back to Steam. So this time, I forced Proton Next.

When I booted Dead Space with Proton Next, the game started building shaders again. This gave me hope as forcing Proton Experimental had not rebuilt the shaders.

One interesting bug I ran into was – after the game crashed – I switch to Proton Next and reloaded it. The game had autosaved after the opening cutscene and once I had control over Isaac, the other characters were completely unresponsive and I couldn't progress through the first security door.


This persisted after loading the save again and even restarting the game one more time. So I started a new game and was able to get farther. In fact, I got to the elevator at the end of the first jump scare hallway. But after activating the elevator, the game went black and my Deck became unresponsive.

So can we get it working? Yes... with some major caveats.

Is it playable? Nope. Sadly, not even close.

Between the wildly unstable framerate and the constant crashing, Dead Space is somewhat of a mess right now.

At the moment we need to wait for some new release of Proton that addresses these issues or wait for EA to come along and fix this.

I think the former is far more likely.