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Persona 4 Golden now runs on Steam Deck

One of the great handheld RPGs goes portable once more

all out attack from persona 4 golden, featuring kanji, chie, yukiko and the protagonist. Image: Atlus/Sega
Oli Welsh is senior editor, U.K., providing news, analysis, and criticism of film, TV, and games. He has been covering the business & culture of video games for two decades.

A Steam Deck software update has gone live that makes Atlus’ seminal role-playing game Persona 4 Golden playable on Valve’s handheld device.

Persona 4 Golden, which was released on Steam in 2020, has until now been on the short list of games which definitely wouldn’t work on Steam Deck. Valve has been on a testing drive in recent weeks that has rapidly expanded the lists of “Verified” and “Playable” games, but Persona 4 Golden remained officially “Unsupported.”

This has been a source of much disappointment among fans of the Persona games — and fans of handheld gaming. It was one of the titles that Steam users were most looking forward to taking on the move with Steam Deck.

Persona 4 was first released for PlayStation 2 all the way back in 2008. Despite launching on then-aging hardware, the game quickly built a strong reputation among fans. But it wasn’t until the release of the expanded Persona 4 Golden edition for the PlayStation Vita handheld in 2012 that its fame began to grow, especially in the West. The improvements to the game were substantial, and it turned out that Atlus’ crisp and stylish combination of daily routine, soapy high school drama, detective story, and occult dungeon crawling worked particularly well as a portable game. A very young Polygon called it a “must-play masterpiece.” It felt as though Persona 4 had found its true home.

Despite this, and to the frustration of fans, the handheld Persona experience has remained elusive ever since. Sequel Persona 5 and its Royal edition are exclusive to PlayStation home consoles for now. Persona 4 Golden’s Steam release was an unexpected hit— as of June 2021, it had sold a million copies on Valve’s platform — but the Nintendo Switch version many have been clamoring for has so far failed to materialize.

In that context, Persona 4 Golden’s incompatibility with Steam Deck was both disappointing and puzzling. The game is already optimized for gamepad controls, and as a 14-year-old title, it would hardly present a demanding challenge for the Steam Deck hardware.

But now the issue has been resolved with a simple software update, which is heartening for those looking to buy a Steam Deck when it launches on Feb. 25.