Counter-Strike 2 is coming this summer, Valve announced Wednesday, promising an “overhaul to every system, every piece of content, and every part of the [Counter-Strike] experience.” The announcement comes with three videos of Counter-Strike 2 in action, showing off newly updated maps, dynamic smoke grenades, and “sub-tick updates,” which Valve says offers even more precise server updates.
A limited test is playable starting today for select Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players. Valve also published an FAQ about the limited test for CS2, and how to get in.
The new Counter-Strike will run on Valve’s Source 2 engine. Valve calls it “the largest technical leap forward in Counter-Strike’s history,” In part, that means a visual overhaul for Counter-Strike’s classic maps — some of which players have been battling on for 20-plus years. Those maps will be “cleaner, brighter, [and] better,” Valve says, thanks to “upgrades and overhauls which leverage all of the new Source 2 tools and rendering features.”
Here’s a look at what Counter-Strike 2 will mean for classic maps like Dust 2:
Smoke grenades in Counter-Strike 2 are getting a big overhaul, too. Plumes from smoke grenades are now dynamic volumetric objects that interact with the environment, and they will react to lighting, gunfire, and explosions, Valve says. In practice, that means players will be able to create “holes” in smoke grenades and even blow them away with frag grenade explosions.
Check out these responsive smokes!
Finally, Valve promises to go beyond the 128 tick rate in other online multiplayer games. Valve’s calls its new technology “sub-tick updates,” characterizing them as “the heart of Counter-Strike 2.”
“Previously, the server only evaluated the world in discrete time intervals (called ticks),” Valve explained. “Thanks to Counter-Strike 2’s sub-tick update architecture, servers know the exact instant that motion starts, a shot is fired, or a ‘nade is thrown.
“As a result, regardless of tick rate, your moving and shooting will be equally responsive and your grenades will always land the same way.”
The following video helps explain CS2’s sub-tick updates in more detail.
Counter-Strike 2 will be the fourth major release in Valve’s first-person shooter series. The original game was released in 2000, and it was based on a mod for Valve’s Half-Life. Valve followed that with Counter-Strike: Source in 2004, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in 2012. More than 10 years after its initial release, CS:GO remains incredibly popular; the free-to-play game is regularly the most-played title on Steam. Earlier this month, CS:GO hit an all-time concurrent player record with 1.4 million players on Steam.