Thanks to the Proton compatibility layer, Gaming on Linux went from an extremely laughable term to reality in just a few years. ProtonDB stats suggest that more than 50% of the top AAA games on Steam are now playable on Linux. From popular games like Cyberpunk to Elden Ring, Stardew Valley, and the Spider-Man series, all of them are now available on Linux systems either natively or through Proton. Therefore, if you’re looking to play games on your favorite Linux distro, here are our 15 best handpicked AAA games you can play on Linux without any issues.
1. Death Stranding Director’s Cut
Developed in 2019 by Kojima Productions and designed by Hideo Kojima himself, Death Stranding has to be one of the best AAA titles on Linux for two reasons — the overall gameplay and design.
The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world where you control Sam Bridges, a porter who works in a company called BRIDGES. Your task is to deliver cargo to KNOTs, researchers, and those who’ve survived. The enemies have breached things which are a group of bandits who try to steal your cargo. Overall, the game and its story elements are really fun to play.
Availability: Steam | Epic Games ($40)
Control is yet another amazing action-adventure game on Linux. The game was released in 2019 and is available on multiple platforms. The objective of the game is pretty simple. You play as Jesse Faden and your task is to explore the FCB’s headquarters which is now a center for paranormal activities. Your task is to defeat the enemy causing the problem called the Hiss.
Throughout the game, you’re required to collect stuff, defeat enemies with your abilities, and do tasks to progress through the story. The gameplay is fantastic, and the graphics are smooth and insanely good. The game is available on Steam and Epic for Windows and Linux.
Availability: Steam | Epic Games ($29.99)
Stray is an award-winning adventure game where you play as a Stray cat that falls into a city of robots living inside walls. The objective is to return back to where you came from with the help of your robot companion.
You progress through the story by climbing obstacles in third person, interacting with the map to open new pathways, and solving puzzles. Overall, it is one of the best casual adventure games that you can play on Linux.
Availability: Steam ($30)
4. Dying Light Series
The Dying Light series is one of the most popular post-apocalyptic game series and is revered across the gaming community for its story, design, and overall gameplay. There are two installments in the series — the original Dying Light and Dying Light 2.
You play as an undercover agent with the mission to infiltrate the quarantine zone called Harran which is a Middle Eastern city. The gameplay features parkour and a city with a day and night mechanism. Zombies are more active at night but slow during the daytime. There’s also a multiplayer mode where you can invite three more players to progress through the game. Overall, it’s hands down, one of the best zombie games that you can play on Linux.
Availability: Steam ($8.99)
5. Elden Ring
And how can we forget 2022’s massive game and the game of the year award winner Elden Ring? Fortunately, Elden Ring works flawlessly and has been since it was released. The game was Steam Deck compatible on launch, which is a testament to how good of a job Valve has been doing for Linux and Steam Deck.
One of the reasons why Elden Ring was successful was due to its resemblance to Dark Souls. The game was very well received and is known for its striking combat, high-quality open world, and stealth mechanics. The game sold over 20 million copies in six months, making it one of the most successful games.
Availability: Steam ($60)
6. Tomb Raider Series
Tomb Raider is another adventurous game that is fully compatible with Steam on Linux. It runs on almost all of the Linux distros. The game revolves around a female warrior who forges herself to become the Tomb Raider. It takes you through the unforgiving jungle where you have to face the deadliest animals and find a way to survive. Along the way, you will learn many skills, and garner weapons, and outfits that will eventually lead you to the defining moment.
There are three main recent Tomb Raider games — Tomb Raider, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, all of them work on Linux. The best part is, you don’t need to buy each game separately, rather, get the Tomb Raider: Definitely Survivor Trilogy, which includes all games.
Availability: Steam | Epic Games ($25)
7. What Remains of Edith Finch
What Remains of Edith Finch is a dated game and while it’s not a AAA game, it has top-tier storytelling. The game involves Finch, a 17-year-old girl coming back to her ancestral home for the first time only to discover the secrets that everyone’s been hiding, a series of events, and deaths that led to the collapse of her family’s structure.
The game won multiple awards, including the best narrative category in the game awards 2017 and the best game award in the British Academy Games Awards. It runs like a dream on Linux and is a must-play game for those who appreciate good storytelling with eerie twists in it.
Availability: Steam | Epic Games ($5)
8. Counter-Strike 2
Counter-Strike 2 is the next installation in the CS franchise. Its predecessor, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is one of the best FPS games on Linux, and CS 2 will be no different. The multiplayer shooter game should run perfectly fine with all the controls and top-notch, new, and improved graphics quality.
For those unaware, Counter-Strike 2 is an objective-based multiplayer shooter featuring two opposing teams, the Terrorists and the Counter-Terrorists. Depending on the game mode, the teams must fulfill various goals – for example, in the Classic mode, it’s either defusing a bomb or saving hostages. There are other mods such as Arms Race or Demolition and you can also play against AI-controlled opponents. CS: GO was free to play on Steam, but Counter-Strike 2 will probably not be free.
Availability: Steam (Free to play)
If you like puzzle-based, relaxing games that you can play on the couch, Unravel is for you. You play as Yarny, a character made out of yarn, and discover the bittersweet memories of an old lady that goes through brief moments of happiness and later extremely sad events throughout the levels.
The star of the show is the levels and the music. They’re fun yet challenging, brisk yet time-consuming. The music’s composed by Frida Johansson and Henrik Oja and it brings a sense of calm and coziness to the mix. Unravel is a game that I’d play during the rain. Overall, it is one of the finest comfort games ever made.
Availability: Steam ($20)
10. The Last of Us Part I
The Last of Us Part I is the remake of the original Last of Us released in 2013. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world where players have to go through different areas and use weapons to defeat the infected, cannibalistic people.
The new Last of Us has improved graphics and listen mode that allows you to detect enemies through high sensing spacial awareness. While the description so far might sound like we’re describing The Walking Dead, the story’s different and interesting.
Availability: Steam ($60)
11. The Witcher 3
Currently, Witcher 3 is one of the most popular desktop games which is available on Windows and Google Stadia. But what if I tell you that you can play Witcher 3 on Linux too? Well, with Proton support on Steam, you can play Witcher 3 on Linux without much friction. ProtonDB, a user-driven database that tracks the status of Windows game compatibility on Linux, has awarded Platinum status to Witcher 3.
It essentially means that you can play this game without much issue if you have a decently powerful machine. However, you may have to update your graphics driver manually. As for the game, it’s about a fantasy world where you are tasked to find a child of prophecy who can save the world.
Availability: Steam ($39.99)
12. Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley is one of the top-ranking games on Steam and thankfully, it runs fine on Linux as well. If you don’t know, Stardew Valley is an RPG game that is also very much like Minecraft due to its open-ended world. Here, you need to apply your mind and create a strategy to survive the farm life.
The game has linear gameplay unlike other graphics-intensive games, but it takes simulation to a whole new level and expands on it. The game offers a fantasy world where you can grow crops, raise poultry, and perform many household duties. Simply put, Stardew Valley is ranked among the best simulation games and you should give it a try on your Linux machine.
Availability: Steam ($14.99)
13. Cyberpunk 2077
Cyberpunk was one of the most anticipated games of all time until it came out and received a bad rating because it was rendered with bugs and glitches. The issues were because CD Projekt RED, the developers of the game, had to rush the release to adhere to the release schedule. Although most issues with the game have been fixed, the bad first impression hindered the rating.
Cyberpunk 2077 is a roleplaying game set in a vast open world where you play as V and hack your way through the story by acquiring weapons to progress through the story. Overall, it is one of the best games you can play on Linux using the Proton Compatibility Layer.
Availability: Steam ($19.99)
14. Grand Theft Auto V
Speaking of open-world games, GTA V, a game from one of the most successful franchises of the Rockstar Games division, is also playable on Linux. There are lots of reasons to play GTA V and one of them is how well the game has aged for something that was developed in the year 2013. Over the years, it has received tons of quality updates and content that keeps people circling back to the game.
The objectives of the game are the same as any Grand Theft Auto game: Completing the missions and progressing through the story while traversing the vast open world. Overall, story-wise and graphics-wise, it is one of the best games you can play on Linux.
Availability: Steam | Epic Games ($30)
15. Forza Horizon 5
Not everyone’s a fan of open-world and action games. Some like the racing action and the endless adrenaline flow, and that’s why we have Forza Horizon 5. Owned by Microsoft, Forza is one of the most successful racing game franchises. Players get access to a huge open world with different terrains and hundreds of different cars to choose from.
The game also has a multiplayer mode where you can race with your friends or traverse the open world to witness the beautiful scenery together. You can also race online with other players and the graphics, physics, and gameplay are all top-tier. Overall, it’s undoubtedly one of the best racing games on Linux.
Availability: Steam ($60)
The State of Linux Gaming in 2023
Linux compatibility is largely thanks to the Proton compatibility layer, an open-source middleware that allows you to play games that are meant for Windows on Linux. It does so by translating Windows-understandable DirectX instructions to Vulkan-understandable instructions (Linux understands Vulkan instructions).
Proton is a modified version of Wine (Wine is not an emulator), as software that’s been used for a decade to install Windows apps on Linux. Thanks to the largely scalable nature of Proton, supported games run as if they’re running natively with absolutely no hiccups. To enable Proton on Steam, go to Settings -> Steam Play and enable all the toggles under the Steam Play menu.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are tonnes of games on Linux, but if we had to pick a few Elden Ring, GTA V, and The Last of Us are all amazing games.
Literally, all the games that don’t have Kernel-level or built-in anti-cheat. Valve with Proton has also sorted out BattlEye and Easy Anti-Cheat support, so don’t be surprised if you find supported games with those anti-cheats. You can visit the website areweanticheatyet.com to find all the supported and borked games that have anti-cheats built into them.
Yes, they do! In fact, there have been instances where they tend to run better than on Windows. Proton is an exceptionally well-built tool and handles games well, so well that you won’t feel like you’re “technically” emulating them on a Linux machine.
I read this list to my grandma and she died laughing saying it is older then her.
I think Horizon Chase is the most fun you can have with a computer and it has a blistering fast native client for single mode multiplayer and online racing fun.
I’d like to add the native Linux version of Surviving Mars. I got it with all DLCs available at the time from GOG.com for £15 late last year.
I played the Windows (7) version through once with some stuttering and the occasional crash and it was the first AAA game I tried on Linux (Zorin OS). Ran perfectly smoothly with no crashes on two play-throughs, ie to 100% terraforming. Great game for those who like real-time research/building/logistics strategy along with some colonist management and survival elements. Starts out relatively simply but builds to great complexity over time. One of the DLCs also adds a collection of story-driven mini-campaigns that integrate into the main game.
As an aside, I’ve just finished a complete play-through of Dishonored using Steam Proton. Only problem was that sometimes camera movement would be restricted after starting up the game, but it’s easily fixed by going into options and moving the FoV slider up or down a notch (5%). That made no noticeable difference to the game.
p.s. I have an Nvidia gpu and use the 440.82 open-source drivers from Nvidia with no problems.
Those are decent games. With that being said, I feel like your article doesnt represent a good snapshot of what’s possible and also available for the linux platform.
There are so many games available for linux these days, AAA titles included, that the article doesnt do a good job of showing that.
There are literally 100’s of good games available on the steam platform. I particularly love the games published by paradox. (Cities skylines, EU IV, HOI 4). The games you listed are just so old, and I feel like the games you listed make me feel like the article was made 8 years ago instead of current.
Just my 2 cents
no interest in steam stuff
Well thats good because the top eight games arent on steam well one is but its been freeware for ages
I’ve just completed a new flight simulator for LINUX, focusing on WW2. This is a free, open-source, 3d, networked, multi-player, real-time, first-person, from-the-cockpit sim supporting more than 50 WW2 aircraft. The graphics have been kept simple so that even modest LINUX PCs can enjoy very smooth flight and very high frame rates. It even supports live, interplayer voice comms. I would love to get some exposure for it. Is anybody here interested?
I see you only got one reply. Could you provide some more information? Of course I’d like to take a look, test it for you. Let me know. Thanks.
please bring it on .i love a good war game
I would be glad to test it!
Thanks for your interest Len, mike, and Oleg. My simulator is named “Linux Air Combat” and a google search will yield links to find it easily. It’s now available for free download and free online testing.
Good job on it. Just looks like a copy of gl-117 though.
There is a good reason for that. Linux Air Combat development got a huge head start when I decided to base it’s menu and graphics subsystems on gl117. LAC, however, is now much more realistic and powerful.
Pandum online works fine on debian based distro.
Pandum online works pretty well on debian based distri.
Thank you for the list Ivana 🙂
The same list always.
Here are some of my favorite games which I used to like wery much. All of these are available in the official Debian repository. Unfortunately I can not play these anymore because I am blind now, but I recommend these games to everyone:
– Warzone 2100
– Battle for Wesnoth
– UFO Alien Invasion
– Alien Arena
– Mega Glest
– Open Arena
– 0 AD
– Frozen Bubble
– Lure of the Temptress
– Beneath of the Steel sky
– Flight of the Amazon Queen
– Seven Kingdoms
– Unknown horizons
etc. There is many other games in e.g Debian but those were my favorites when I was still able to play computer games.
If you like UFO Enemy Unknown -style games then there is one really great open source game. It is called UFO Alien Invasion. That game is available in the official Debian repository, probably it is available in other distros too. UFO Alien Invasion is a modern version of UFO Enemy Unknown. It has great 3d graphics, network play etc. It is wery good game. I liked UFo Alien Invasion wery much, unfortunately I am blind now so I can not play it anymore,… But I highly recommend UFO Alien Invasion to everyone who likes that game genre or strategy games in general.
And Life is strange!!! You forgot Life is strange!
I couldn’t agree more with the comments of Baloc.
I’ve completed approx. 60 new levels for Pingus (could easily be made into a levelset) with reflective lighting and more of a search adventure game – seeking the exit. Need some people to beta test these levels prior to releasing them. Let me know if your interested. IMHO, Chris is correct – some of the older 2d games are fun.
There are many aaa titles like witcher 2,saint’s row , mordor and the best of all Dying Light !
But anyway games dont have to have state of the art 3d to be good ,many games 2d or retro are very enjoyable to be played !
you know something . I get really sick and tired of those who A: bash GNU/Linux ,because you have not yet figured out ITS NOT WINDOWS B complain and do nothing to either contribute to ,donate to or get involved in any way to help make gaming on GNU/Linux better .Its the same thing with GNU/Linux in general , so many complain about lack of “good” software but do NOTHING to contribute .So to you I say . either write some code , donate some money to new software projects or submit decent suggestions or go back to windows and shut up .
What a BS list ! Where are Feral AAA games? Who cares for for first 8 titles? Nonsense..
Hi X6205, this article was originally written in 2015. Since I’m not the one in charge of updates and revisions, there’s not much I can do. Sorry about that! But thanks for commenting anyway. 🙂
but is very misleading to say “List of 15 Best Linux Games For 2017”
Total BS List – its just recycled every year – obviously by a robot. WHAT TOTAL FAKE CRAP – A RUBBISH WEBSITE.
Baldur’s Gate 2 (and the other Black Isle games).
I’m also 12, and I’ve made 3 games with IQUERY and a file sorting program with Java.
cool u get a gold star
and another one!
and yet another one – well done Robert ★★★
Your comment is awaiting moderation
and yet another one – well done Robert ★★★
Minecraft also works good on Ubuntu 14.04 and 16.04
Mageia and open mandriva was too suck and unstable + lack of many packages for now. I am stick with Manjaro + AUR for now.
I think both Mint and Bodhi linux suck. Very unstable. I am going with mageia. Looks legit.
I used mint on 3 PC with no problems at all
In twelve year old “lawl whut?”. Mint is one of the most stable distros branching from Ubuntu – in fact it is far more stable than Ubuntu. I fear this is either a hardware issue of compatability or user end problem.
1) I’m a linux user from 1999 and i can assure you linux mint its more stable that you can handle !
Its stable for sure if you use the Xfce Desktop Environment !
I even added the latest versions of mesa xorg etc from padoka ppa and i can say its rock solid stable !
2) Boddhi linux is indeed unstable very unstable at least on my amd graphics card !
It would be a nice idea if they just stick with original Enlightenment !!!!!
I suggest linux mint cause its LTS supported for many years and you can find any new linux app or game , there are
hundreeds of ppas with useful software !
I think you forgot Team Fortress, Shadow of Mordor
Those two are working beautifully on linux.