How to Prevent Save Deletion [Windows/Linux] – FINAL FANTASY VIII

How to Prevent Save Deletion [Windows/Linux] – FINAL FANTASY VIII 1 - steamclue.com
How to Prevent Save Deletion [Windows/Linux] – FINAL FANTASY VIII 1 - steamclue.com

An extensive guide of remedies to Square Enix launcher’s habit of deleting saves.
 
 

Introduction

an issue I have come across and seen a plethora of posts about on Steam discussions is the problem of Square Enix’s launcher deleting saves from the previous session upon launch. I have done some experimenting and believe I have stumbled across some possible causes.
 
 
Square’s customer support is incredibly unhelpful and does nothing but direct you to Steam support, despite game saves being altered and stored by Square Enix. Steam does have cloud backups of saves, but if the launcher starts and deletes a savefile, Steam will sync that change with itself, thus defeating the entire point.
 
 
to preface, I am on GNU/Linux playing this game through Proton, but it is not a Linux-exclusive issue.
 
 
 

What Do You Mean By “Save Deletion”?

an issue I have come across and seen a plethora of posts about on Steam discussions is the problem of Square Enix’s launcher deleting saves from the previous session upon launch. I have done some experimenting and believe I have stumbled across some possible causes.
 
 
Square’s customer support is incredibly unhelpful and does nothing but direct you to Steam support, despite game saves being altered and stored by Square Enix. Steam does have cloud backups of saves, but if the launcher starts and deletes a savefile, Steam will sync that change with itself, thus defeating the entire point.
 
 
to preface, I am on GNU/Linux playing this game through Proton, but it is not a Linux-exclusive issue.
 
 
I will share the experience I had on my OS, as it may assist in others stumbling across this issue on Windows as well.
 
 
FINAL FANTASY VIII does not have an “exit” option. anywhere. there is no way to close out of the game from within it. instead, you are left with nearly no indication as to how to close it. well, think about how you would close a game without using its menu in Steam.
 
 
there’s 3 different ways to close FINAL FANTASY VIII:
 

  1. CTRL + Q (this keybind only works in FINAL FANTASY specifically)
  2. ALT + F4 (this will work with any game)
  3. ALT + TAB to Steam, visit the game in your Steam library, and click the blue STOP button.

 

Why Is This Important?

 
when running FINAL FANTASY VIII in Proton, the launcher does not actually close upon selecting PLAY when the game boots up. it minimizes itself and goes into an unresponsive state. this is not an issue, you can simply click it again and hit the X button in the top right to close.
 
 
look back at the list of the three ways to close the game. the only option out of the three that will close both windows at the same time (Linux users are all about efficiency) is Option 3. this, of course, is what I ended up trying. however, I stumbled upon the save deletion bug.
 
 
never close the game using Option 3 unless only the launcher is running. if both the actual game and the launcher are running when you close it, it will not parse your newly made saves, thus thinking your saves from the previous session are corrupt. this leads to the launcher deleting those saves upon relaunch.
 
 

Launcher Behavior

 
the game saves are ONLY “randomly” deleted upon relaunch.
 
they will remain in the game folder…
 
 

Windows:
C:\Users\[you]\Documents\Square Enix\FINAL FANTASY VIII Steam\user_XXXXXXXX
Linux:
../steamapps/compatdata/39150/pfx/drive_c/users/steamuser/My Documents/Square Enix/FINAL FANTASY VIII Steam/user_XXXXXXXX

 
…until the launcher is booted back up again. this means the saves can be copied and pasted elsewhere as a backup.
 
 
 

How Do I Backup My Saves?

Windows

 
to make a backup: go to the aforementioned directory and copy that user_* folder.
 
 
How to Prevent Save Deletion [Windows/Linux] - FINAL FANTASY VIII - How Do I Backup My Saves? - dks3r
 
 
put it somewhere where you’ll remember (in this example, I do it just a folder above), anywhere is fine.
 
 
How to Prevent Save Deletion [Windows/Linux] - FINAL FANTASY VIII - How Do I Backup My Saves? - xzn6W
 
 
to restore a backup: copy the user_* folder backup you previously made, start up the launcher again (this WILL delete saves it deems corrupt within the original user_* folder, so ensure you copied and pasted your current saves beforehand) and hit PLAY. you can hot-swap your backed up saves back into the game as it’s running.
 
 
pen the “FINAL FANTASY VIII Steam” folder (with the original user_* folder) again and paste. tell it to replace all files. remember, the actual game needs to be launched during the pasting process (not just the launcher). you should see your backup saves where they belong in-game. if not, hit BACK until you reach the “CONTINUE” screen again, to allow it to re-fetch your saves.
 

 

Linux

 
to make a backup: go to the aforementioned directory and copy that user_* folder.
 
 
How to Prevent Save Deletion [Windows/Linux] - FINAL FANTASY VIII - How Do I Backup My Saves? - mEH21
 
 
put it somewhere where you’ll remember (in this example, I do it just a folder above), anywhere is fine.
 
 
How to Prevent Save Deletion [Windows/Linux] - FINAL FANTASY VIII - How Do I Backup My Saves? - pXkFm
 
 
to restore a backup: copy the user_* folder backup you previously made, start up the launcher again (this WILL delete saves it deems corrupt within the original user_* folder, so ensure you copied and pasted your current saves beforehand) and hit PLAY. you can hot-swap your backed up saves back into the game as it’s running.
 
 
pen the “FINAL FANTASY VIII Steam” folder (with the original user_* folder) again and paste. tell it to replace all files. remember, the actual game needs to be launched during the pasting process (not just the launcher). you should see your backup saves where they belong in-game. if not, hit BACK until you reach the “CONTINUE” screen again, to allow it to re-fetch your saves.
 


 
this means if your game crashes or you closed the game the wrong way, you can recover them so long as a backup exists. here’s some situations one may find themselves in and how you can get out of them.
 
 
 

Made A Backup; Game Crashed Or Was Closed Improperly

  1. copy your already-made backup to your clipboard.
  2. start the game launcher (which deletes saves from previous session if it was closed improperly or crashed).
  3. select PLAY and wait until you reach the continue screen.
  4. ALT + TAB, open your file manager, visit the “FINAL FANTASY VIII STEAM” folder (with user_* inside).
  5. paste your backups from step 1, allow it to replace all files.
  6. hit CONTINUE in-game; you will see a short red line loading screen and then the slot selection. your “deleted” saves should appear.

 
 
 

Did Not Make A Backup; Game Crashed Or Was Closed Improperly

whatever you do, DO NOT RELAUNCH THE GAME UNTIL YOU FOLLOW THESE STEPS. the launcher will REMOVE the saves that we need ONLY once it’s relaunched.
 

  1. open your file manager, visit the “FINAL FANTASY VIII STEAM” folder (with user_* inside).
  2. copy the user_* folder in its entirety and paste it somewhere safe (Desktop will work).
  3. select the backup folder you just made and copy it to clipboard.
  4. start the game launcher (which deletes saves from previous session if it was closed improperly or crashed).
  5. select PLAY and wait until you reach the continue screen.
  6. ALT + TAB, open your file manager, visit the “FINAL FANTASY VIII STEAM” folder (with user_* inside).
  7. paste your backups from step 1, allow it to replace all files.
  8. hit CONTINUE in-game; you will see a short red line loading screen and then the slot selection. your “deleted” saves should appear.

 
 
 

Did Not Make A Backup; Game Crashed Or Was Closed Improperly; Relaunched Game

there is an incredibly slim chance that your saves can be recovered from this. however, there is one place you can look.
 
 
so long as Steam cloud backups are ON (I actually recommend turning them OFF for this game for reasons I will explain later), you can check and see if your lost saves are stored by the Steam client.
 
 
FINAL FANTASY VIII stores game saves in “C:\Users\[you]\Documents\Square Enix\FINAL FANTASY VIII Steam\user_XXXXXXXX”.
 
 
Steam stores cloud saves in “C:\ProgramFiles\Steam\userdata\XXXXXXXXX\39150\remote”
 
 
if you find your cloud saves within the “remote” folder, congratulations! you’re in luck. copy the folder itself, move it to wherever you want, and rename it to match the exact name as the folder located within “FINAL FANTASY VIII Steam”, then follow all the previously stated steps to restore a backup.
 
 
 

Should I Disable Steam Cloud Backups?

the answer is sort of yes.
 
 
Steam cloud backups may be interfering with the launcher, as both Steam and Square Enix’s launcher are trying to sync with each other. if SE’s launcher makes a change, Steam will too, but not right away. Steam does its cloud uploads in intervals, not immediately.
 
 
as far as I’m aware, Square Enix’s launcher is also trying to talk to Steam’s cloud backups. so, if Steam is missing a save that FINAL FANTASY VIII has, it will delete the save from itself.
 
 
this also works the other way around. if Steam has a save that FINAL FANTASY VIII does not have, it will remove the save from itself.
 
 
it’s up to you whether or not you want to disable them, but I think a better and less headache-inducing option is to turn them off
 
 
How to Prevent Save Deletion [Windows/Linux] - FINAL FANTASY VIII - Should I Disable Steam Cloud Backups? - 0yywC
 
 
right-click the game in your Steam library > Properties > General
 
 
 

Conclusion

always-online DRM protections in a game from over two decades ago is never a good idea. it causes unnecessary breakage as shown. I wanted to give help to those who stumbled upon this game-breaking bug, as Square would not.
 
 
if any more help is needed or this guide could be made more cohesive, do let me know in the comments section of this guide or add me on Steam (leave a comment on my profile first). I will be happy to help both Windows and Linux users.
 
 

Written by benji

 
 
This is all we can share for How to Prevent Save Deletion [Windows/Linux] – FINAL FANTASY VIII for today. I hope you enjoy the guide! If you have anything to add to this guide or we forget something please let us know via comment! We check each comment! Don’t forget to check SteamClue.com for MORE!
 


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