Valve announced Counter-Strike 2 in March, and it's one of those delightfully esoteric competitive game sequels that outsiders might look at with tilted heads, wondering what the heck makes it different from the Counter-Strike people are playing now, while folks like resident PC Gamer CS player Rich Stanton dub it their "dream game" because the smoke grenades are different.
I'm joking of course: it's not just new smoke grenades, they're updating some maps, too. But seriously, the tweaks and engine upgrade are a big deal in a competitive game that has remained remarkably consistent across more than two decades. The current version, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, is over 10 years old, and it looks like its reign will finally end with the release of CS2 next week on Wednesday, September 27. That's if this six-word tweet from the official Counter-Strike account means anything:
"What are you doing next Wednesday?" is all that was said, but that's a pretty typical Valve way to announce a release date. The company previously said that CS2 would launch this summer, and last week said that it was launching "soon." Summer is technically over after September 23, so next Wednesday actually makes it late, if we want to get pedantic about it.
Counter-Strike 2 is presently in a "Limited Test" closed beta, which requires an invite to join, although at the end of last month, Valve said it had started inviting "as many eligible players as possible" to play. Valve also announced a couple more features at that time, a ranking system overhaul and shorter matches, which Rich broke down.
When Counter-Strike 2 releases in full, it will be a free update to CS:GO, and all owned skins will carry over. There's more details on what's changing in CS2 on the official site.
Unless you count licensed Nexon spin-off Counter-Strike Online 2 and the informal version number usage in "Counter-Strike 1.6," this will be the first numbered Counter-Strike game. The progression of the main series now goes: Counter-Strike, Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, Counter-Strike Source, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Counter-Strike 2.
Five games, and not one three to be found. Valve's dedication to a gag is commendable.