Counter Strike 2: release date, Source 2 CS2 beta and limited test info, is it coming to PS5 or Xbox consoles

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
New content and gameplay mechanics mean new challenges for pro players and a fresh experience for fans

After hushed rumours about a sequel to Counter-Strike swirled around the internet, creators Valve Corporation have confirmed that Counter-Strike 2 is indeed in the works.

The popular first-person shooter was first released in 1999, originally as a modification of Valve’s other popular shooter, Half-Life. In it, players are divided into two teams: terrorists and counter-terrorists, and they engage in a series of rounds with different objectives such as planting/defusing bombs or rescuing/holding hostages.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In the nearly 25 years since its release, CS has become a staple of professional esports, with many major tournaments and leagues held each year. So what does the sequel mean for the original place within the esports scene, and why has it taken so long for a follow-up to be announced?

Most importantly, when will you be able to play it? Here is everything you need to know.

What is Counter-Strike?

The gameplay of CS is characterised by its emphasis on strategy, teamwork and skillful shooting. Players must work together to achieve their objectives, and the game has a wide range of weapons and equipment that players can use, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.

CS is one of the most popular and longest-standing esports titles in the professional gaming scene, and has been played competitively for over two decades, with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) being the latest iteration of the game.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The game has a strong fanbase and is regularly streamed on popular platforms such as Twitch and YouTube. Some of the bigger CS:GO tournaments offer millions of dollars in prize money, and are dominated by teams from Europe and North America - though there are strong teams from other regions like Asia and South America.

CS2 will be provided as a free update to CS:GO - pictured here (Image: Valve)CS2 will be provided as a free update to CS:GO - pictured here (Image: Valve)
CS2 will be provided as a free update to CS:GO - pictured here (Image: Valve) | Valve

The game is played in teams of five with each taking turns attacking and defending objectives. The objective of the game is to eliminate the other team, complete the objectives or defuse a bomb, depending on the game mode.

That means that any sequel to CS will have a significant impact on the global esports scene, with a new iteration of the game likely to attract a lot of attention from fans and players alike. It could bring new fans to the game, create new opportunities for professional players and change the competitive landscape.

Fresh content and updated gameplay mechanics could provide a new challenge for professional players and a fresh experience for fans, reigniting interest in the game and attracting new fans to the esports scene.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But the new CS game could also be met with resistance from the community. CS:GO has a loyal fanbase that has grown accustomed to its mechanics and gameplay, and any significant changes to the game could be met with scepticism, with a risk that the game could lose some of its current player base.

What’s new in Counter-Strike 2?

Counter-Strike 2 will be a free upgrade to CS:GO, and will usher in a new age of the game using Valve’s Source 2 engine, which the company says will be the “largest technical leap forward in Counter-Strike’s history, ensuring new features and updates for years to come."

New and improved maps, game-changing dynamic smoke grenades and updated visual effects and music are among the features expected in the sequel, though the full list of new features won’t be revealed until CS2 actually launches.

While the core mechanics of CS are likely to remain the same, changes to weapons, maps and game modes could create new strategies and opportunities for underdog teams to rise to the top and shift the balance of power in the competitive scene.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

For instance, while “dynamic smoke grenades” might not sound all that exciting to the casual observer, professional players will want to take note, as in CS2, smoke from smoke grenades will dynamically spread out of doorways, cracks in windows and other openings to fill spaces.

Not only does this new feature make the game more immersive and realistic, but it has the potential to dramatically alter the way professional teams and players approach matches - smoke can now interact with other gameplay elements, such as bullets which can briefly clear sightlines through the cloud.

When can I play it?

Counter-Strike 2 has been given a Summer 2023 release window, though a specific release date has not yet been disclosed. Currently, when Counter-Strike 2 launches, it is expected to be a PC-only release when it first comes out.

There is currently no information on whether or not a console port for PlayStation and Xbox is being worked on, but given that CS:GO launched simutaneoulsy across PC and consoles, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that we could see other version at some point in the future.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

On the PC side, Valve has launched a “Limited Test” of the game, a chance for players to get their hands on CS2 early and test out some of its new features so that they may be refined and improved upon by the developers to get them into shape before the official launch.

You will see a notification on the CS;GO main menu if you are selected to take part in the CS2 Limited Test, with participating players chosen by the development team based on a number of criteria, including - but not limited to - recent playtime on Valve official servers, trust factor and Steam account standing.

The Limited Test will gradually include more participants, so keep checking your CS:GO main menu to see if you have received an invite. For more information on the CS2 Limited Test, head to this Steam Support page.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.