Counter-Strike 2 is real, free, and everything carries over

The CS2 key art.
(Image credit: Valve)

Valve has announced Counter-Strike 2, the newest iteration of the greatest and most popular competitive FPS in history. The developer says "Counter-Strike 2 is an overhaul to every system, every piece of content, and every part of the C-S experience."

There are a series of videos accompanying the announcement, explaining how Counter-Strike 2 will change everything. There are currently three, embedded below, addressing smokes, moving beyond tick rates, and changes to maps. 

As regards the idea of moving beyond tick rates, here's the official explanation.

"Sub-tick updates are the heart of Counter-Strike 2. Previously, the server only evaluated the world in discrete time intervals (called ticks). 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 game is going to run a limited test, which you can read about here, and is due to fully launch in the summer.

"Counter-Strike 2 is the largest technical leap forward in Counter-Strike’s history, ensuring new features and updates for years to come," said Valve. "All of the game’s new features will be revealed when it officially launches this summer, but the road to Counter-Strike 2 begins today as a Limited Test for select CS:GO players. During this testing period, we’ll be evaluating a subset of features to shake out any issues before the worldwide release."

Amazingly enough, Counter-Strike 2 is going to be a free upgrade to CS: GO. This was always going to be huge but keeping the free-to-play model guarantees it will prove massively popular at launch and for many years to come. Even more amazingly, everything carries over:

"Bring your entire CS:GO inventory with you to Counter-Strike 2. Not only will you keep every item you’ve collected over the years, but they’ll all benefit from Source 2 lighting and materials. In addition to supporting legacy models and finishes, all stock weapons have been upgraded with high-resolution models, and some weapon finishes take advantage of these new models."

The Counter-Strike 2 limited test is ongoing now (here's the FAQ), and we'll have impressions for you quicker than you say "flash long!" For now: It's real, it's (almost) here, and it's beautiful. Here comes the past, back as the future of the competitive FPS.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."