The Counter-Strike world is waiting with bated breath for the biggest change in the franchise for over a decade, and perhaps in its entire history. Though there has not been an official confirmation yet, various leaks, third-party developments and anonymous sources suggest that the newest version of the game is right around the corner, featuring the long-awaited upgrade to the Source 2 engine. Rather than porting CS:GO, a brand new game is almost upon us.

Valve’s other flagship title, Dota 2, has long been running on the Source 2 engine, which Valve debuted in 2014. Since then, there’s been ever-intensifying chatter about CS:GO’s leap forward to this new foundation and the many potential improvements it could bring to the gameplay experience. These rumors were especially in full swing when the Panorama user interface was added in the summer of 2018: little did we know that we would have to wait almost five more years until Source 2 would follow.

Here is everything you need to know about Counter-Strike 2.

What is Counter-Strike 2?

Counter-Strike 2 is the upcoming entry in the long-running Counter-Strike franchise, the latest technological leap forward after 2009’s Global Offensive, the entry that reunited the fractured player base from Counter-Strike: Source and 1.6. It will move the classic first person shooter to the latest generation of Valve’s in-house engine, Source 2.

Originally, fans expected CS:GO to get ported over to the new engine, but it seems like that isn’t going to be the case - at least not yet. The way Dota 2’s move to Source 2 was handled should offer us clues and suggestions about the way forward: initially, the upgraded version of the game ran in an entirely separate form under the name Dota 2 Reborn, before the two clients were merged into one and the new version fully replaced the original.

Though Richard Lewis’ reporting on Counter-Strike 2’s impending arrival, citing anonymous sources from Valve’s development team, is as close as we’ve gotten so far to an official confirmation, there are other signs as well that suggest that its launch is just around the corner.

Most notably, NVIDIA’s latest drivers introduced support for executables that refer to Counter-Strike 2 directly, but other data dumps (curiously taken from a recent update of Dota 2) have given us an idea of specific features that are coming to the new game. Combined with Lewis’ reporting, it seems like there are some super interesting things coming to CS:GO.

What will Source 2 add to Counter-Strike?

Long overdue community requests like an improved matchmaking experience, a “tickless/subtick” system and native jumpthrow binds are coming to the game, but it still remains to be seen whether the anti-cheat protections will get improved or revamped as we head into the Counter-Strike 2 era.

CS:GO matches on the new engine will likely play out very differently, and the new version of the game will require stronger hardware to provide the same performance - perhaps one of the very few downsides of this long-overdue change. There’s a reason why the Source engine is fondly referred to as “a tower of duct tape”, and though Source 2 is, in a way, another floor added to the tower, it still marks a grand leap forward for the franchise.

Early signs are promising:

There’s, of course, more to this matter – and we’ve collected the answers to your most burning questions about the impending arrival of Counter-Strike 2.

Is CS:GO going to run on Source 2?

As of now, it seems like the devs are launching an entirely new version of the game dubbed Counter-Strike 2 instead of porting CS:GO to Source 2. Counter-Strike 2 will launch in a beta state.

What is going to happen with Counter-Strike esports after Source 2 launches?

In the long run, Valve’s official events are expected to fully move over to the new game. For the time being, ESL’s the only big third-party tournament organizer on record about the change, and they’ve stated that their upcoming events on the calendar will definitely be played on CS:GO.

How will Source 2 change the gameplay experience for CS?

It remains to be seen. Richard Lewis’ report quotes devs saying that “The big priority is getting this out and then polishing it, fixing any bugs and bringing it up to the level people expect from CS.”

When is Source 2 coming to Counter-Strike?

Counter-Strike 2’s open beta is expected to launch in late March or early April.