Counter-Strike 2 Coming This Summer as Free CS:GO Upgrade

Valve on Wednesday announced Counter-Strike 2, the evolution of one of the most storied first-person shooters. According to the game’s website, CS2 is a massive update to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the crown jewel of the tactical shooter genre for decades. Maps were rebuilt from the ground up with new tools and features. The new game will be available on Windows as a free upgrade to CS:GO (which is already free-to-play) sometime this summer.

CS:GO, the fourth main series entry in the Counter-Strike franchise, was launched in 2012 by Valve (makers of the Steam Deck) and long dominated the tactical shooter genre, which rewards precision aim and coordinated tactics to achieve objectives like planting or defusing bombs. Its dominance was tested in 2020 when Riot Games released Valorant, which featured more contemporary graphics and agents with unique abilities like smokes and walls. The announcement of Counter-Strike 2 gives the series a modern upgrade and a chance to attract newer players who weren’t interested in a decade-old game.

The announcement boasts a variety of upgrades to the game experience. CS2 features dynamic, volumetric smokes that react to gunfire. The game has cleaner and brighter visuals including high-resolutions updates to CS:GO guns and finishes, and updated environmental effects. It also uses sub-tick updates for moving and shooting. That’s particularly important for the competitive aspect of the game, where players’ reflexes are continually tested, and the tiniest increments of time make a significant difference in the outcome of a game. 

Want to get into the limited test? According to Valve’s FAQ, current CS:GO players are selected “based on a number of factors deemed important by the Counter-Strike 2 development team, including (but not limited to) recent playtime on Valve official servers, trust factor, and Steam account standing.” If you’re invited into the test, you’ll see a notification on CS:GO’s main menu. Players will be invited over time until the game launches. We’ll continue to report as more information becomes available and as the game gets closer to launch.

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