It looks like Counter-Strike 2 will cancel matches immediately if Valve detects a cheater

The CS2 key art.
(Image credit: Valve)

If you haven't been playing CS:GO for 11 years, you might've struggled to see what all the fuss was about when Valve announced Counter-Strike 2 this week. Yes, the maps are prettier on Source 2 and apparently the smoke grenades are a lot smokier, but it is essentially the same game with a bunch of nice upgrades. Based on info datamined from the Counter-Strike 2 closed test happening now, one of those upgrades might be a new way to stop cheaters before they can ruin a whole match.

As noticed by Twitter user Aquarius, Counter-Strike 2's code mentions a feature called VAC Live that can cancel an in-progress match if a cheater is detected.

"This match has been cancelled by VAC Live," the code reads. 

Cool. If you've ever encountered a blatant cheater in your favorite shooters, you know how demoralizing it can be to put up with one for an entire 30-minute match. You can't leave or you get punished, so you just have to play out the whole match and hope the anticheat sorts things out later. If accurate, VAC Live will deliver swifter justice and save everyone some time by cancelling the botched match.

It looks like VAC Live is taking a welcome cue from its most direct competition: Valorant. Riot's in-house anticheat Vanguard has featured in-progress match cancellations from day one. Watch it in action here and notice how relieved players are to feel instantly vindicated in their cheater suspicions and glad the match ended early.

Like Vanguard, VAC probably won't catch every cheater quickly enough to cancel an in-progress match. It helps to be a popular streamer that a developer watches specifically to watch out for cheaters, but I'd still expect to get some notifications of suspensions hours or days after an encounter.

I hope CS2's version of Valorant's bright red "CHEATER DETECTED" screen is just as dramatic and cold.

Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.