God of War on the MacBook Air proves Apple accidently made a gaming laptop

Apple MacBook Air (M1,2020) Rear Lid
(Image credit: Future)

Fancy playing God of War on the MacBook Air? Well, that’s possible, and indeed has been demonstrated by one Air owner, who posted a video of the game running online.

The video clip is from DueTry8342 on Reddit, and it shows the God of War PC version running via CrossOver on a MacBook Air M1 (2020), one of the first Apple laptops to use its own silicon (and this is the base model with 8GB of RAM).

For those not familiar, CrossOver is basically the Mac take on Wine for Linux, meaning it uses a compatibility layer to run Windows software or games on an Apple machine.

As you might guess, the graphics settings are on low, but it’s impressive to see that God of War runs mostly okay even on this relatively humble M1 MacBook, save for some nasty bouts of stuttering here and there.

Note that some of those commenting on the Reddit thread advise that updating DXVK (Vulkan-based translation layer) may help smooth things over more, as newer than version 1.9.3 has some optimizations for God of War.

Analysis: Running well already – and expect further optimization

As we’ve pointed out in the past, CrossOver (from CodeWeavers) is one of the better ways of running Windows games (or apps) on a Mac. However, folks have been trying to run the God of War PC version (Steam) via CrossOver before, and have encountered an error message preventing launch.

The Reddit post advises that the method used for running God of War was provided by Andrew Tsai, who published a YouTube tutorial which shows how to get round the aforementioned error. Essentially, the method involves manually editing the God of War EXE file, patching out its checks for the Windows operating system.

On Tsai’s M1 Max (backed with 32GB of RAM), the game runs “pretty well”, and you can see it generally hits between 35 and 50 fps (at 1080p, low settings again), with just the occasional stutter when new areas are loading. There are visual artifacts present sometimes and some audio glitches too, but far from anything game-breaking.

Considering this is a freshly released PC game, it’s pretty impressive to see it running like this on the Mac platform, and with further optimization work, Apple users may see it ticking along a good deal more smoothly (don’t forget what was said about updating DXVK above, of course). Playing via Parallels doesn’t work yet, by the way, and the above patching to avoid the error on launch fails to do the trick there.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).