Valve officially released Counter-Strike 2, its sequel/free upgrade to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, today, Wednesday, September 27, 2023.

Counter-Strike was first released as a modification for Valve's Half-Life as a beta in 1999. Valve purchased the rights to Counter-Strike in 2000 and released a string of updates. CS 1.3, released in 2001, quickly became one of the most popular games in the world, and helped to pioneer and catapult competitive gaming to a larger international audience. In 2003, Valve released CS 1.6 exclusively on its then-new platform, Steam. One year later, in 2004, Counter-Strike: Source launched and fought for popularity against 1.6 for many years, until Counter-Strike Global Offensive was released in 2012. CS:GO has since dominated as one of Steam's most popular games; most often claiming the number 1 position in popularity.

Counter-Strike 2 iterates on the Global Offensive formula with significant updates to netcode, graphics, and gameplay. Official servers implement a new approach to backwards reconciliation with the introduction of subticks, a lay-explanation of which can be found in Valve's official Moving Beyond Tick Rate video. Valve attempted to cater to competitive and casual desires for scene clarity by meticulously refining visibility of models against the backgrounds of maps. An additional highlighted update to the gameplay is dynamic and reactive smoke grenade behavior, which sees smoke grenade volumes responding to environmental disturbances such as explosions and bullets and causally filling the surrounding environment geometry.

From the CS2 Steam store page: A free upgrade to CS:GO, Counter-Strike 2 marks the largest technical leap in Counter-Strike’s history. Built on the Source 2 engine, Counter-Strike 2 is modernized with realistic physically-based rendering, state of the art networking, and upgraded Community Workshop tools.

In addition to the classic objective-focused gameplay that Counter-Strike pioneered in 1999, Counter-Strike 2 features:

  • All-new CS Ratings with the updated Premier mode
  • Global and Regional leaderboards
  • Upgraded and overhauled maps
  • Game-changing dynamic smoke grenades
  • Tick-rate-independent gameplay
  • Redesigned visual effects and audio
  • All items from CS:GO moving forward to CS2

Source: Steam, Counter-Strike 2 homepage