Valve teases CS:GO players with another 'Counter-Strike 2' reference, this time in the Steam backend

(Image credit: Valve)

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 that Valve added Source 2 files to the CS:GO "developer pre-release branch." The SteamDB changelog in question is just a bunch of numbers to me, but the excitement is explained by Aquarius' analysis of a change 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, 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.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.