Counter-Strike 2 release date & time, changes, Source 2 & more

Counter-Strike 2 release date & time, changes, Source 2 & more
Images via Valve

Written by 

Harry Boulton & Lloyd Coombes


27th Sep 2023 22:30


News of Counter-Strike 2 has been coming in hot, as we're finally getting a sequel of the long-standing king of tactical FPS games. While CS:GO was flying high, it's finally been retired - and Counter-Strike 2 is here.

But what new features are coming alongside the new game? Find out everything we know so far about Counter-Strike 2, including the release date and new features, below.

Counter-Strike 2 release date

Counter Strike 2 predicted release date
Click to enlarge

Valve sure kept us waiting, but I've got good news for you, GGRecon reader - Counter-Strike 2 is finally here.

That's right, while we were told Summer 2023, the game finally dropped onto Steam on Wednesday, September 27 - a day that will go down in history as a huge new chapter for the franchise.

Is Counter-Strike 2 a sequel to CS:GO?

Yes, and also no. Counter-Strike 2 will eventually replace CS:GO as the primary client of the game. That means you'll no longer be able to play CS:GO now that the sequel is here, similar to how Overwatch was replaced by Overwatch 2.

Thankfully, the new game is also free to play, just like its predecessor. Although CS:GO originally launched as a paid game, it eventually went free to play with the Danger Zone event in 2018. Counter-Strike 2 is following suit, with the game completely free to access for anyone with a Steam account.

What's more, all of your weapon skins and inventory items will carry over to Counter-Strike 2. This is huge for the Steam Market and those who own skins worth thousands of dollars.

What will Source 2 bring to Counter-Strike 2?

What will Counter Strike 2 be?
Click to enlarge

It appears that Counter-Strike 2 is a monumental refresh of CS:GO. Although, some may argue that there is no real need to refresh CS:GO from a popularity standpoint, as the game has reached multiple all-time peaks even in 2023.

However, the biggest topic of discussion with the game over the last couple of years has been the implementation of the Source 2 engine. Introduced first in a revamp of Dota 2 back in 2015, the Source 2 engine will bring forward a vast improvement to the game from a graphical and optimisation standpoint.

Source 2 appears to overhaul Counter-Strike in a big way. Firstly, smoke grenades are now much more dynamic and interact with the world and objects in a meaningful way.

The visuals of all the maps have also been drastically updated, looking way better than they used to in CS:GO. Lighting especially has seen a huge upgrade, as have the fluid physics in Molotov grenades and standing water on specific maps.

In addition, the tick rate of servers has been overhauled so that they are now far more accurate. In fact, servers should now predict inputs in between ticks, so matches will be as accurate as they can possibly be.

Thus, Counter-Strike 2 is mostly the same game as CS:GO, only with updated visuals and improved servers. If it has managed to last for a decade now without any drastic gameplay changes, then arguably all the game needed was a fresh coat of paint to keep it relevant.

What will happen to the CS:GO esports scene?

One of the biggest questions surrounding the potential release of Counter-Strike 2 is its effect on the esports scene. It has been nearly ten years since NIP's legendary 87-0 streak was ended by Virtus Pro, which shows how well CS:GO has sustained itself as arguably the number one FPS esports title.

However, a sequel or significant update could significantly shake things up, as we have seen in the shift between CS 1.6 and Counter-Strike: Source, or the latter and CS:GO. When Dota 2 received its Source 2 update, the professional player base was split between the original game and the new Dota 2 Reborn version before eventually merging the two into the Source 2 variant.

This could very much be repeated, depending on how much we see altered in Counter-Strike 2, but it is just as likely that things go on as normal and the professional scene remains largely unchanged.

So, that wraps up everything we currently know about Counter-Strike 2. If you want to try out some knives in the meantime though, check out this CS:GO knife commands guide for all of the details.

Harry Boulton
About the author
Harry Boulton
Harry is a Guides Writer at GGRecon, having completed a Masters of Research degree in Film Studies. Previously a freelance writer for PCGamesN, The Loadout, and Red Bull Gaming, he loves playing a wide variety of games from the Souls series to JRPGs, Counter-Strike, and EA FC. When not playing or writing about games and hardware, you're likely to find him watching football or listening to Madonna and Kate Bush.
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