Counter-Strike 2 is official, and fans of Valve’s tactical team-based shooter won’t have long to wait to get their hands on the evolution of CS:GO. A major revamp that combines familiar gameplay with slick new technologies, Counter-Strike 2 is still in its early phase of testing before a wider release rolls out. Even at this phase, Valve has shared plenty of details on the game and what’s changing on the battlefield, all of which we’ve gathered below for a quick rundown on what to expect when Counter-Strike 2 launches.
Counter-Strike 2 release date
For now, Valve is aiming to have the sequel out in Summer 2023, but no firm date has been set. A handful of players are helping to fine-tune the experience before launch through a closed beta, which favors players who have logged a significant amount of playtime into CS:GO before Counter-Strike 2 was announced.
Counter-Strike 2 beta access
As mentioned above, Valve is prioritizing veteran players who have sunk plenty of time into CS:GO over the years, have a high trust factor, and are in good standing with their Steam accounts. If you meet those criteria, there’s a good chance that an invite will pop into your inbox eventually as Valve is rolling out beta access over the next few months.
Can I carry over my items from CS:GO to Counter-Strike 2?
For those of you who have amassed an inventory of skins for your arsenal over the years, the good news is that you can “bring your entire CS:GO inventory with you to Counter-Strike 2,” according to Valve. As an added bonus, each skin is going to look better than ever thanks to Source 2, giving them a current-gen polish that’ll allow you to admire them in their upgraded glory.
How tick rates are changing in Counter-Strike 2
Tick rates, the all-important factor that determines how often the server updates to reflect in-game actions like movement and shooting, is being fine-tuned in Counter-Strike 2 with sub-tick updates. According to Valve, this means that “tick rate no longer matters for moving, shooting, or throwing” and any action will be near-instantaneous when you perform any action. This new technology is aiming to level the playing field for all players, and should create a fair environment for online competition.
How maps are changing in Counter-Strike 2
Expect many of your favorite maps to get tweaked, as Valve says these changes can be broken up into one of three categories when the game moves to the Source 2 engine. Touchstone maps will stay virtually identical to their CS:GO roots and the only real change here will be the application of fancy new lighting tech to make them shine in Source 2. Yes, Dust2 is one of these classics that will remain untouched.
Upgraded Maps feature visual improvements to their textures, materials, and lighting, and won’t feature changes to their layouts and design. Overhauled Maps are new levels that have been rebuilt entirely from scratch in Source 2, and have all the fancy visual upgrades from the Source 2 engine applied to them. While these maps are mostly the same as well, expect a few extra objects and other technical upgrades that’ll make them stand out from the rest of the pack.
Smoke grenades have been overhauled
For Counter-Strike 2, expect smoke grenades to be more dynamic and useful than ever before. Valve says that it’s using a new “volumetric smoke” technology that will interact with the environment, and react to lighting, gunfire, and explosions. Smoke grenades have long been a key part of any player’s arsenal in CS:GO, as they can obscure sight-lines, create deadly corridor chokepoints, and help teams move into an optimum position while covering their tracks. As Valve explained in a brief video breakdown, smoke grenades don’t just provide more tactical opportunities; they “look and play better” in Counter-Strike 2.
How much will Counter-Strike 2 cost?
You can purchase Counter-Strike 2 for the grand price of nothing when it officially launches. The original game is free-to-play, and Counter-Strike 2 will be available as a free upgrade for it.
Which platforms will Counter-Strike 2 be available for?
For now, Counter-Strike 2 is a PC-exclusive game, and Valve hasn’t mentioned anything about console ports yet.
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