Counter-Strike 2 is finally coming in Summer 2023
by Danny Craig ·
After months of rumors, leaks, and teasers, Valve has confirmed that the newest entry in the legendary tactical FPS franchise is coming this summer, with a closed test already active.
- Valve has finally announced a new version of Counter-Strike titled "Counter-Strike 2" that will run on the updated Source 2 engine (CS2). The game will be released sometime in the summer of 2023, although we don’t exactly when. Given how casually Valve revealed the highly anticipated game, we're likely to find out shortly before it officially releases.
- A limited test is currently available to a select group of players, the majority of whom are content creators and former or active professional players. The test is being used to ensure that features work as intended while also allowing players to provide feedback on changes before the final game is released. So far, not all changes have been shown by the developer, but it intends to release more information as the game’s launch gets closer.
- The announcement came as no surprise, as multiple leaks had occurred over the previous few months, beginning with insiders claiming that the game would be released in Q1 2023 back in December. Since then, an update to Nvidia's control panel software has added a Counter-Strike 2 game profile, with journalist Richard Lewis later confirming that the rumors of an upcoming reveal were correct.
What changes have been revealed so far?
- The first video from Valve shows off the new engine's impressive smoke mechanics, which cause smoke grenades to generate smoke as a 3D object that can be interacted with directly by other things like bullets and explosions. Shooting through smoke opens up gaps that allow players to see enemies on the other side, allowing them to track opponents while putting themselves at risk. The smokes also look the exactly the same for each player, so one-way smokes are no longer an issue. Those in the limited test have already started taking advantage of the new feature, with some high-IQ plays using the HE grenade to catch enemies off guard by completely eliminating the smoke.
- Not only is smoke improved, but Valve has also addressed tick rate issues, a highly requested update from fans, by introducing sub-tick updates. “Tick rate” is the frequency at which a server can process in-game information, so if a player shoots, the input is sent to the server and returned directly to them. These new updates intend to eliminate the delay between a player's physical key presses and the server, with the server instead "calculating your precise actions between ticks.”
- In CS2, maps are being improved as well, with Valve categorizing them into three tiers: touchstone, upgrades, and overhauls. Touchstone maps, such as the iconic Dust 2, Mirage, and Train, will simply receive a fresh coat of paint and basic lighting improvements as they're regarded as staples that do not require change. Upgrades are similar, but with more drastic changes as a result of Source 2's new physics-based rendering system, which will produce reflections, better lighting, and more realistic in-game materials. Overhauls are as expected, with older maps like Overpass being rebuilt from the ground up with all of the aforementioned engine features and tools.
- Another notable improvement is in audio, with sounds being reworked across the board, including rebalancing. The modifications were made to "better reflect the physical environment, be more distinct, and express more game state," and it appears that most sound effects from CS:GO have been altered in some way.