Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has been the cornerstone of FPS games since its release back in 2012, still boasting around 30 million active players. Despite its longevity, CS:GO creators Valve have recognized that the game is becoming outdated.
In March 2023, Valve announced the long-awaited sequel, Counter-Strike 2, which generated immense excitement amongst fans, with no exact release date. Valve has since been leading fans with a carrot on a stick, with minor quality-of-life updates and changes to tease the CS2's imminent release. Let's look at the CS2's release date and what's coming to the sequel.
Valve has officially announced that Counter-Strike 2 will release sometime in Summer 2023. Community figures and professional players are all speculating on when the official date could actually be, with the estimated date being either before or on September 23, 2023.
Esports events like IEM Cologne and Fall Groups are still ongoing, so it's likely that CS2 won't drop soon. The next Counter-Strike professional Major will be held in Copenhagen in March 2024, hosted by PGL, so there is plenty of time for CS2 to be released.
Counter-Strike 2 will be a free upgrade to CS:GO, which was already free-to-play. It will only be available on Steam/PC, with no news on whether it will be coming to console.
For now, players will have to contend with playing the limited-test beta for CS2. Valve has been rotating the maps available in the limited test, reworking Overpass and adding tons of quality-of-life updates so players could see Valve's progress with the sequel.
Valve recognized CS:GO was becoming outdated, so CS2 is a complete overhaul of the original game. Changes will be coming to every system and aspect of the original CS:GO experience, running on the new Source 2 engine.
All skins and other purchasable items will port seamlessly to CS2 upon its official release, so players don't need to worry about losing their valuable knives and items, although they may look a little different with the graphics overhaul.
In the limited test beta version of CS2, only a few maps are available to play: Overpass and Vertigo. There have even been updates to introduce Steam Workshop tools back into the mix so that creators can create skins and custom maps for CS2. Upon full release, players can expect the full slate of maps, game modes, and other features to be immediately available with CS2.
Smoke grenades are a cornerstone of the competitive CS:GO gameplay, and are often deployed to obscure the enemy's vision of objectives. In CS:GO, smokes would block a player's vision in a static opaque cloud and would always be the same size and shape no matter where or how they were thrown. With CS2, smoke bombs have become more responsive, adopting a more realistic feel.
As the above video shows, the brand-new responsive smokes will adapt to the maps' environmental factors, expanding to fill rooms and billowing out when players walk through them.
Players can even manipulate the smoke by shooting through the cloud, creating a temporary line-of-sight clearing. This exciting change will see CS:GO fans making new plays and employing new tactics to claim the win.
In CS:GO, the tick rate for servers was officially locked to 64 hertz. This meant that often, servers would fail to account for a fraction of a second between a shot being fired and the server registering the action.
Moving beyond the tick rate, Valve stated that what "players see is what they will get." They are confident that CS2 will become smoother and less janky, with guaranteed action and precision in their efforts. Every gameplay motion will be equally responsive, so players can pop confidently pop enemy heads without crossing their fingers and praying that their actions will register.
Using the new Source 2 engine, Valve has been working hard to improve the rendering and lighting of the classic maps players know and love. The visual improvements in CS2 will be notable, with "realistic materials, lighting, and reflections." Nuke, Aztec, Italy, and Overpass are just a few examples of the maps that have been changed using Source 2 tools and features.
The Counter-Strike 2 limited test is exclusive and invite-only, with only 0.2% of the player base currently holding access. Valve suggests that the requirements to be eligible for the CS2 limited test include, but aren't limited to, "recent playtime on Valve official servers, trust factor, and Steam account standing."
Take the above information with a pinch of salt, as Valve doesn't roll out invites very often. Even if you play CS:GO daily and log hundreds of hours, there is no guarantee that you'll get an invite to participate in the beta. You'll have better luck waiting for the official CS2 release date.
That's everything we currently know about the official CS2 release date. We will update this article once Valve has officially confirmed more information.
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