For years, the Counter-Strike community, particularly the millions of Global Offensive players, have been awaiting the arrival of CS:GO on Source 2. Improved graphics, smoother gameplay, and new content were all promised by countless data miners, who always assured us that Source 2 was on the horizon, but it always seemed to be just beyond our reach. On March 22, 2023, after years of waiting, Valve announced the arrival of Counter-Strike 2 on their YouTube channel and Twitter account through the release of 3 videos, a new website, and more.
What is Counter-Strike 2?
Counter-Strike 2 is more than just CS:GO on Source 2. It is a whole new Counter-Strike game, with a full graphics overhaul, new physics, and much more. It will release in summer of 2023 in the form of an update to CS:GO, and will eventually replace the game entirely, but is currently available in a limited beta test for certain players.
Valve's first step in announcing CS2 was the release of three videos on their YouTube channel and Twitter account, the first of which discussed smoke grenades. The new smoke grenades are "dynamic" on the new game engine, and are now "volumetric 3D objects," meaning all players see the same smokes, entirely removing the ability to exploit one-way smokes and glitches that take away from the integrity of gameplay. Smoke grenades now interact with the environment, grow to naturally fill the area they are placed in, and most importantly, can now be affected by bullets and grenades. Different bullets create variously sized holes in the smoke, and HE grenades completely blow the smoke away for a few seconds.
In CS:GO and other Counter-Strike installments, movement and shooting were dependent on intervals of time called "ticks." In between ticks, nothing could happen, meaning that there was a short period of time between the click of your mouse and the firing of the gun on your screen. But in Counter-Strike 2, there will be a ticketless system in-game, so the game server will react to your mouse or keyboard click instantly, with no room for error that existed in 64-tick servers.
Counter-Strike 2 also introduces reworked maps on the new Source 2 engine. They have taken three separate approaches for reworking each map while maintaining their legacy.
Touchstone maps are classic maps with solid foundations, such as Dust 2 and Mirage. These maps feature minor changes to lighting and appearance but haven't gone through any major changes.
Upgraded maps use new Source 2 lighting and rendering to create realistic materials and reflections. Gameplay on the map will remain relatively the same, but the playing and viewing experience will be much more realistic.
Finally, Valve introduced full overhauls of maps, fully rebuilding older maps with the Source 2 tools and rendering features. These abilities will also be available to community map makers to improve their maps to be better compatible with the new engine.
The Counter-Strike 2 limited test began immediately after the game was announced, with an extremely small number of players being selected to test out the game based on recent playtime on Valve official servers, trust factor, and Steam account standing. Players who have been invited to the limited test will receive a popup informing them when they launch CS:GO, and will be given the opportunity to download the beta.
Every player's CS:GO inventory will be automatically ported over to CS2 when they join the game, and their skins will benefit immensely from the new Source 2 graphics and lighting. Higher-resolution artwork has been added to certain skins, and certain skins look entirely different than they did before, mostly in a good way.
The End of an Era
Two days after the announcement of Counter Strike 2, CS2's official Twitter account informed the community that the upcoming CS:GO Major in Paris will be the final CS:GO Major, and the first CS2 Major Tournament will come in March of 2024, roughly one year from now.
Early Looks Into CS2
The lucky few who have been selected to participate in CS2 have been gracious enough to share their thoughts and experiences with the community through live streams, videos, and more.
The entire User Interface of the game has changed, with an entirely new HUD, main menu, lobby, and in-game appearance.
Almost all sounds have changed, including bullet sounds, scope sounds, walking sounds, and more.
Players now have the ability to look down at their feet, and players can see who can hear their footsteps by looking at the minimap.
Shiny skins, such as silver and gold skins as well as certain knives, are near blindingly bright with the new Source 2 lighting.
Devs have added entirely new behavior and appearance for water, explosions, fire, smoke, muzzle flashes, bullet tracers, impact effects, and more.
We hope you are as excited as we are for the arrival of Counter-Strike 2. If you have access to the beta, you can report any issues to the dev team by sending an email to cs2team@valvesoftware. com and title your email: "CS2LT Bug" followed by a brief description of the issue. We can't wait to see you all in CS2 this summer!