On March 22, Valve officially announced Counter-Strike 2, the fifth instalment of the popular first-person-shooter title and the successor to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Valve unveiled the upcoming CS title with three short videos on their YouTube channel, showcasing the most significant changes that will be added to the game once it’s released in the summer of 2023.
Beta Testing Starts Now
Counter-Strike 2 will release on Source 2 engine and will be a free upgrade to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, acting more like an update than a new game. However, that doesn’t take away from all the updates CS2 will introduce, creating a vastly different experience than its predecessor.
Although the general public won’t get to experience all the updates and gameplay changes until Counter-Strike 2 is officially released in the summer of 2023, a select few will receive an invite to Limited Test as a closed beta for players to experiment with the new version of CS.
One of the most notable changes added to Counter-Strike 2 will include overhauled smoke grenades which will act differently than in CS:GO. The new system will result in smokes acting as a volumetric 3D object in-game, meaning each player will see the same smoke regardless of where they stand.
Moreover, the smoke will now be affected by the environment, fill out the spaces naturally, and react differently depending on the lightning. And perhaps the biggest change to smokes is that they’ll change shapes when affected by bullets and grenades.
As one of the most impactful pieces of equipment in CS:GO, smoke grenades are the cornerstone of any team’s tactic. The upcoming change, which will overhaul how smokes behave under certain conditions, will open up doors to new strategies and approaches to using them to gain a tactical advantage.
Tick Rate Update
While changes to smokes will have a huge effect on the game and the teams’ strategies, perhaps the most anticipated change coming with Counter-Strike 2 is changes to the tick rate.
Tick rates have received a massive update in Counter-Strike 2 in that they are no longer measured statically. Before, the game would update either 64 or 128 (only in pro play) per second, which could lead to a disconnect between a player’s input and the resulting action registered by the server. That affected moving, strafing, jumping, and shooting.
The issue the community has long been complaining about has been addressed with the release of a “sub-tick” update, allowing servers to register all actions instantly.
In the video named “Beyond Tick Rate”, Valve explained how the new system would work, going even so far as that, due to the upcoming update, the tick rate will no longer matter regarding the player’s actions since the server will calculate exact inputs between ticks.
As a game that has been out for 11 years, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has received some graphical updates to make it more modern, but the upcoming update promises to completely overhaul the look of the maps and world.
Valve will update maps with three approaches: Touchstone, Upgrades, and Overhauls.
Touchstone maps, which Valve describes as classic maps, won’t be changed drastically, keeping the majority of structure and visual designs true to their legacy. In the announcement video, Valve showcased three iconic maps in Dust II, Mirage, and Train as examples, showing significant lightning updates while keeping the maps otherwise relatively untouched.
The second tier of changes will add upgrades to maps that use Source 2 lightning and a physically-based rendering system that produces realistic materials and reflections. The maps included in this tier of changes include Nuke and Ancient.
And finally, there will be complete overhauls for the oldest maps, which have been built from the ground up, leveraging all of the Source 2 tools. These tools will also be available to the community giving the players a way to experiment and build new maps.
The announcement of the long-awaited successor of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has the whole CS:GO community on tier feet and will likely lead to an increased player base in the coming weeks until Counter-Strike 2 is released in the summer of 2023.
And considering that Counter-Strike 2 is merely an upgraded version of CS:GO, there likely won’t be many changes for its esports scene. However, we’ll have to wait and see what the future of Counter-Strike esports brings.