A couple weeks ago, data mined from an Nvidia driver intensified speculation that Valve is close to releasing a new version of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on its Source 2 engine. Now Valve is mucking around with the CS:GO data on the Steam backend, and if this rumored Source 2 version isn't actually imminent, then Gabe is just messing with us on purpose.
Data excavator Aquarius, who previously appeared in that Nvidia driver story, said today (opens in new tab) that Valve added Source 2 files to the CS:GO "developer pre-release branch." The SteamDB changelog (opens in new tab) in question is just a bunch of numbers to me, but the excitement is explained by Aquarius' analysis of a change (opens in new tab) from earlier in the month, which compares CS:GO's files to Dota 2's.
For non-CS:GO data watchers, it's a little easier to understand the Steam backend change that came next (opens in new tab), which adds a "Limited Test Build" to CS:GO's Steam database with the executable "cs2.exe," which is presumed to either be shorthand for "the Source 2 version of CS:GO," or indication that Valve plans to just call the new version "Counter-Strike 2." It's not like anyone's really attached to the "Global Offensive" name, so I could see that happening.
Valve has made no public indication of what it's up to, and this Source 2 update has been rumored for a while, but it would be just like Valve to drop the news without any preamble. It could go into beta tomorrow, even.
If we're talking about a straight Source 2 port of CS:GO, the average Counter-Strike player may not notice a big difference—in theory, the Source 2 version will play just like the Source version. The engine upgrade will have long-term effects on the game and its continued development, though, and there could be more to "cs2.exe." Valve may really be treating this like a sequel, and not just an engine upgrade.
For now, we watch SteamDB and wait.
SOURCE 2 HAS BEEN ADDED TO DEVELOPER PRE-RELEASE BRANCH!https://t.co/Fv33DwsGvP pic.twitter.com/6mLteY2FoUMarch 14, 2023