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HELLDIVERS 2 is out - here's how to run it on Steam Deck / Linux

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HELLDIVERS 2 from Arrowhead Game Studios and PlayStation PC has arrived, and it's causing issues for players on Steam Deck and Desktop Linux. Here's some ways you may be able to get it to work.

What's the issue? It's using kernel-level nProtect GameGuard anti-cheat, which seems to be the cause of the problems. It's also causing issues for people on Windows too it seems going by some of the Steam forum posts on it. The developer has even had to put up a statement on it and open a dedicated Steam forum for it.

On my Desktop Linux install with Kubuntu 23.10, it actually worked right out of the box with Proton 8.0-5. However, others have been reporting issues with it not launching. While on Steam Deck (current latest Preview), my testing there showed it simply wouldn't launch with Proton 8, Proton 7 or Proton Experimental.

Going by the Proton GitHub report that's open for it, a user mentioned they got it to work on their Desktop Linux install with GE-Proton 7-55. So, even though for my desktop it works on Proton 8, trying out GE-Proton 7-55 on Steam Deck and — yep, it works!

The big caveat: you need to launch it with this GE-Proton 7-55 in Desktop Mode, something about nProtect GameGuard doesn't run in Gaming Mode. You also need to tap the screen to get controls on Steam Deck to actually work.

So regardless of being on Desktop Linux or Steam Deck, if you try out GE-Proton 7-55 you should be able to get in-game.

I have not tested online play with a group yet, only solo play.


How to install GE-Proton:

Download ProtonUp-Qt

For Steam Deck, make sure you're in Desktop Mode. Steam Button -> Power - Switch to Desktop.

  • Steam Deck / KDE Plasma - Open the Discover store, in the search box (top left) type in "ProtonUp-Qt", click it and hit Install (top right). Alternatively on Steam Deck if you have Decky Loader, you can also try the "Wine Cellar" plugin.
  • Manual install / GNOME - head to the official website, scroll down and pick your favourite download option either AppImage or Flathub. On GNOME desktops, you can also download via GNOME Software.

Using ProtonUp-Qt:

  • Launch ProtonUp-Qt.
  • Make sure it's set to Steam at the top, click Add version and scroll down to select to install GE-Proton7-55.
  • Reload Steam to update the compatibility layer list.
  • In Steam:
    • Desktop: right click a game and go to Properties.
    • Steam Deck / Big Picture Mode: find the game in your library, go to the little cog on the right and then select Properties.
  • Compatibility menu -> Tick the box, select GE-Proton from the drop-down menu.

My original video of how to do it on Steam Deck:

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Given how much effort it is to get working, and with absolutely no guarantee it will continue working due to this kernel-level anti-cheat that could update and break it any time (as really, it shouldn't work at all), it's not something I will actually recommend anyone purchase. I would consider going for a different game for sure.

If you do want to buy it's available from:

Humble Store

Steam

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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About the author -
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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13 comments
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ShabbyX Feb 8
Alternatively, don't support terrible anti-cheat practices with your money.
FIGBird Feb 8
QuoteGiven how much effort it is to get working, and with absolutely no guarantee it will continue working due to this kernel-level anti-cheat that could update and break it any time (as really, it shouldn't work at all), it's not something I will actually recommend anyone purchase. I would consider going for a different game for sure.

Yeah, this pretty much sums up why I was so bummed out when I found out they added anti cheat and specifically nProtect GameGuard. It is unfortunate as I was super excited for this one, but I guess this gets to be one I never play.
Active deck detection that only detects game mode and wine level "kernel mode".
Clearly written by someone without relevant UNIX experience.
If it working on desktop mode doesn't get "patched" I will be pretty surprised.


Last edited by LoudTechie on 8 February 2024 at 3:55 pm UTC
Eri Feb 8
I tried with 7-49 and got constant network connection errors, I'll try with 7-55 but I think that I'll stick with my W10 partition for this game. It's a shame, I loved playing the first one on PSVita, was a very portable game and I was hopping to being able to play HD2 on Steam Deck.

The hope for an update is still there but I wouldn't take it for granted.
If this isnt a steady 60fps its not worth picking up on the deck. You will die as things get harder from the increased enemies and explosions
Cybolic Feb 8
I just have to say, this F.A.Q. entry....
QuoteQ. Is nProtect GameGuard a security risk? [...]
A. No. GameGuard communicates with a few servers for patching and reporting. However, it doesn't modify anyones firewall settings and it doesn't install other software
Oh, it's only a black-boxed kernel level process that communicates with several servers, yeah, I don't see any increase in attack surface there! /s /facepalm
_spiffy Feb 8
I hope they make a good choice to change their Anticheat provider, but I wouldn't be surprised if we were stuck with this mess for good. I'm torn, part of me wants to get a refund, but the other wants to hold out and see if they actually fix it.
sarmad Feb 9
Why would a game with no online competitive mode need an anti-cheat? Sounds dumb to me.
Quoting: _spiffyI hope they make a good choice to change their Anticheat provider, but I wouldn't be surprised if we were stuck with this mess for good. I'm torn, part of me wants to get a refund, but the other wants to hold out and see if they actually fix it.
Well, if you get a refund, you can always buy it again if they fix it.
Liam Dawe Feb 9
Quoting: sarmadWhy would a game with no online competitive mode need an anti-cheat? Sounds dumb to me.
To protect the battle pass / micro-transactions from cheating.
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