Counter Strike 2 release date and everything we know (2024)

Counter Strike 2 release date and everything we know (1)

Counter Strike 2 is out now, and it's already making waves. CS2 released on September 27 and has already become one of the biggest games on Steam. That should come as no surprise – CS:GO has been with us for 11 years, and something new has been long overdue.

Thankfully, Valve has approached Counter Strike 2 with a lot of respect for those who have sunk thousands of hours into the long-running shooter franchise. CS2 is a free-to-play follow up which will transfer all of your weapons and gear over from CS:GO, all while still revamping the entire experience with a sizeable technical makeover.

You can jump into the game right now on Steam, but keep reading below to find a quick overview of everything you need to know about Counter-Strike 2.

Recent updates

Our Counter-Strike 2 guide was updated on September 28 with new information following its release on Steam.

Counter Strike 2 release date and platforms

Counter Strike 2 release date and everything we know (2)

CS2 is out now. The game released on September 27 for PC via Steam. If you're wondering whether Counter Strike 2 will be on console, Valve is yet to say either way. Given that CS:GO did launch on PS3 and Xbox 360, console fans can have some hope that Valve will eventually bring CS2 to PS5 and Xbox Series X, but the publisher is yet to say one way or the other just yet.

Counter Strike 2 price

Counter Strike 2 release date and everything we know (3)

Counter-Strike 2 is a free-to-play game. The game launched as a free upgrade to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, meaning the vast majority of any weapons, cosmetics, and gear you already have unlocked will carry over.

CSGO skins carry over to Counter Strike 2

Counter Strike 2 will give you access to all your CS:GO equipment on launch. You heard that right - Valve has confirmed that you'll be able to "bring your entire CS:GO inventory with you to Counter-Strike 2." That means that you'll not only be able to keep every item that you have collected, but that they will all "benefit from Source 2 lighting and materials" to ensure that they look better than ever.

Counter Strike 2 maps

Counter Strike 2 release date and everything we know (5)

As part of the upgraded package, the initial set of Counter-Strike 2 maps have been built to take advantage of the new Source 2 tools and rendering features. That means you should expect to see a rebuild of some CS:GO favorites and careful updates to others. For example, Overpass is being fully overhauled to leverage new engine tools; Nuke will take advantage of new Source 2 lighting to produce realistic materials, lighting, and reflections; a key touchstone map like Dust 2 will receive improvements to lighting and character read, but its foundations will remain otherwise untouched.

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Here's a full list of the Counter Strike 2 maps that we have picked out from the trailers so far:

  • Ancient
  • Anubis
  • Baggage
  • Dust 2
  • Italy
  • Inferno
  • Lake
  • Mirage
  • Nuke
  • Office
  • Overpass
  • Shoots
  • Shortdust
  • Train

Counter Strike 2 graphics and VFX

Counter Strike 2 release date and everything we know (6)

Counter-Strike 2 is taking advantage of the new Source 2 engine, which means that expect to see Counter-Strike like you've never seen it before. Valve has completely overhauled the visual effects with Source 2 lighting and particle systems, and a particular focus has been placed on making bullet impacts more readable at a distance. Environmental effects have been improved too as Valve attempts to create greater visual fidelity and consistency with elements like explosions and fire.

In addition, the Counter-Strike 2 UI has been completely redesigned to better communicate information while you're desperately attempting to avoid getting shot in the face. And speaking of getting shot, CS2 will see all stock weapons be given new high-resolution models, something which some legacy weapon finishers will take advantage of too.

Counter Strike 2 smoke grenade changes

Counter Strike 2 release date and everything we know (7)

One of the more impactful changes being introduced to Counter Strike 2, smoke grenades are now volumetric objects which will react to lighting, gunfire, and explosions. This means that smoke will move naturally around environmental objects, while bullets and HE grenades will actually push smoke to clear sightlines or expand occlusion for a limited amount of time. You can also expect to see Smoke deploy and spread more naturally, adding more variables to maps for a more tactical and evolving experience.

Counter Strike 2 gameplay

Counter Strike 2 release date and everything we know (8)

Valve is expected to reveal more details about the full Counter Strike 2 gameplay experience on the road towards the summer release, but we do have some idea of what to expect. For starters, CS2 won't be a fundamental change from what you know and love – fast-paced first-person shooter where teams work to defeat the opposing team, disarm explosives, and trade earned-money for better weaponry. While the fundamentals may not be changing, the way Counter Strike 2 feels will be, in that Valve believes it'll be faster and more responsive to your actions.

For a video game which is often won or lost in the milliseconds between inputs, that's massive news. Valve is accomplishing this by overhauling how it tracks player movement, shooting, and throwing, effectively making it so that the tick rate will no longer get in your way. In the past, CSGO would communicate your actions to the server in discrete time intervals (known as ticks), but new architecture created for CS2 will ensure that the servers "know the exact instant that motion starts, a shot is fired, or a 'nade is thrown" which, Valve promises, will ensure that "regardless of tick rate, your moving and shooting will be equally responsive and your grenades will always land the same way."

Why not go and play one of the best FPS games or check out some of the best online games.

Counter Strike 2 release date and everything we know (9)

Josh West

Editor-in-Chief, GamesRadar+

Josh West is the Editor-in-Chief of GamesRadar+. He has over 15 years experience in online and print journalism, and holds a BA (Hons) in Journalism and Feature Writing. Prior to starting his current position, Josh has served as GR+'s Features Editor and Deputy Editor of games™ magazine, and has freelanced for numerous publications including 3D Artist, Edge magazine, iCreate, Metal Hammer, Play, Retro Gamer, and SFX. Additionally, he has appeared on the BBC and ITV to provide expert comment, written for Scholastic books, edited a book for Hachette, and worked as the Assistant Producer of the Future Games Show. In his spare time, Josh likes to play bass guitar and video games. Years ago, he was in a few movies and TV shows that you've definitely seen but will never be able to spot him in.

With contributions from

  • Jasmine Gould-WilsonStaff Writer, GamesRadar+

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