We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Fallout 4 is still broken on Nvidia RTX GPUs because of one setting

The next-gen update for the Bethesda RPG adds new features and bug fixes but doesn't resolve a longstanding issue with some graphics cards.

Two sets of power armor, with one (right) wielding a GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card

The Fallout 4 next-gen update is now live but its arrival has been met with a decidedly mixed reception, particularly on PC. While the patch does bring in some notable improvements to the RPG, it has broken many mods and support for ultrawide displays is not to a high standard. A standout issue, though, is that Bethesda has left the game unplayable on Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics cards if a particular setting is enabled, despite knowing about the bug for years.

Given its age, practically any modern GPU can play Fallout 4 with a decent frame rate. However, those in search of the best graphics cards to play the RPG should go with Nvidia, as GeForce pixel pushers are the only ones capable of utilizing PhysX graphics effects. In a cruel twist of fate, though, it’s these exclusive features that break the game on RTX cards.

YouTube Thumbnail

The guilty party in question is ‘Weapon Debris’, a PC-exclusive feature that was added to Fallout 4 in Patch 1.3, back in February 2016, which enhances the environmental destruction caused by weapons. Weapon Debris is powered by the PhysX-derived Nvidia FleX plugin and so naturally only works on GeForce graphics cards. While aged GTX cards handle the setting without issue, to this day, newer RTX GPUs bizarrely can’t handle it.

I experienced this issue first-hand as I continued my playthrough of Fallout 4 on a GeForce RTX 4090. Once Steam had applied the next-gen patch, I dove into the launcher’s settings menu to see if anything of note had changed, to discover that ‘Weapon Debris’ was off by default. Naturally, given the power of the graphics card in my system, I turned it up to ‘Ultra’ without a second thought. From this point on, however, I encountered frequent crashes, prompting me to do some further digging and conclude my search disappointed.

A screenshot of the Fallout 4 settings menu against an orange background

Given the renewed interest in Fallout 4 combined with the prevalence of GeForce RTX graphics cards among Steam users, it’s baffling that Bethesda has left this bug unaddressed in the face of numerous reports going back eight-years now. The lack of acknowledgement for this particular issue as part of the next-gen update is particularly frustrating given that there are Weapon Debris Crash Fix mods which appear to resolve the issue (patch compatibility willing).

As I touched on earlier, technical issues with the Fallout 4 next-gen update don’t stop here either. Those with the best gaming monitors with ultrawide aspect ratios have been short-changed with a stretched user interface, and the game still doesn’t run properly at frame rates higher than 60fps regardless of what monitor you have. That’s not forgetting that Fallout 4 Steam Deck verification appears to mean very little, as issues plague the handheld in spite of Bethesda and Valve’s efforts.

Bethesda’s issues with supporting its older games don’t stop at Fallout 4 either. As we previously reported, Fallout 3 problems are also prevalent with the game suffering from stability and performance issues. That’s a much older title, though, so its incompatibility with modern system is more understandable but it’s still sad to see.

PC players simply deserve better than what the Fallout 4 next-gen update offers and I can only hope that the goodwill generated by the Fallout TV show gives Bethesda enough reason to provide further patches. However, more changes brought about by continued support would cause headaches for mods like Fallout: London, prolonging the pains of this update.

For now, if you have a GeForce RTX graphics card your best course of action is to leave ‘Weapon Debris’ off. If it’s any consolation, though, you can apply a Fallout 4 DLSS mod to improve image quality, providing this next-gen patch hasn’t rendered it unsupported of course.

Check out our best Fallout 4 builds guide if you’re looking for ideas on how to level the Sole Survivor. If you’re after some new hardware to play the game at its highest settings, give our GeForce RTX 4070 Super review a read.