Counter-Strike 2 is finally here!

05:51 PM March 23, 2023

Counter-Strike 2 is finally here, over a decade since Counter-Strike: Global Offensive released.

Valve unveiled the eagerly anticipated game following weeks of speculation and leaks from the CS community. Counter-Strike 2, or CS2, will run on the new Source 2 engine and will bring new lighting, rendering, and physics in what is “the largest technical leap forward in Counter-Strike’s history.” 


The game is currently undergoing a Limited Test for certain CS:GO players, which are selected based on a number of factors, like recent playtime on Valve official servers, trust factor, and Steam account standing. Eligible players are notified via the CS:GO main menu, and can follow the directions on-screen to experience the new Counter-Strike. Note that bans will carry over, and accounts with VAC or game bans from CS:GO cannot play Counter-Strike 2.

Valve published three videos that showcased the new features in Counter-Strike 2. The most divisive of which was the “Responsive Smokes.”


The video showed the new behavior of Smoke Grenades, now made to be dynamic volumetric objects that players can interact with through gunfire and explosions. Firing through and throwing HE grenades in the smoke will push the smoke aside to either clear sightlines or expand the smoke for a moment. The smokes have also been made to fill spaces naturally, and will seep out of opened doorways, fill long corridors, and creep up stairs.


Maps are also being revisited in Counter-Strike 2, with changes being divided in three categories.

Touchstone maps are the classic, historical maps that have solid foundations. These maps are recommended to evaluate gameplay changes from CS:GO to Counter-Strike 2 without being chucked into an unfamiliar map. Improvements towards lighting and character read were made, but otherwise these maps haven’t been changed so don’t expect a new sightline, your favorite ratting corner gone, or an extra box on mid. Dust II is a Touchstone map.

Upgrade maps, like Nuke, received changes that produce more realistic materials, and better lighting and reflections through the use of the new Source 2 lighting. 


Finally, some maps fall under the full Overhaul maps. Overpass and the other maps under this category have been rebuilt from the ground up using all of the new Source 2 tools and rendering features.

Onto the more technical end, the “Moving Beyond Tick Rate” video discusses the new sub-tick update architecture that allows the servers “know the exact instant that motion starts, a shot is fired, or a ‘nade is thrown.”

According to Valve, this would make shooting and moving equally responsive and grenades behave more consistently.

Counter-Strike 2 was revealed to have a Summer 2023 release date and will come as a free update to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. It’s currently unknown what will happen to CS:GO after the update is pushed.

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TAGS: Counter Strike, Valve
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