Counter-Strike 2 confirmed by Valve, and it's coming, for free, this summer

Counter-Strike 2
(Image credit: Valve)

Counter-Strike 2, the next generation of Valve's iconic FPS, and the follow-up to CS:GO, has been announced after a lengthy period of rumours.

Three new videos, announcing a "move beyond tick rate," levelled up maps, and responsive smoke grenades, dropped earlier today. At the end of those videos, Valve confirmed the game's title, as well as a summer 2023 release window and a limited test starting today.

Hints as to the future of Counter-Strike have been appearing over the past few weeks, although most of those have been somewhat behind-the-scenes, brought to life by the game's dedicated modding and datamining community. Just three days ago, those rumors came to a head with as Counter-Strike 2 trademark, filed by Valve on March 14, came to light.

Perhaps the most influential change is the switch to tick rate. Previously an almost-seamless means of matching player input to each 'tick' of the server, tick rate could sometimes mean the difference between a shot missing or hitting its target. Counter-Strike 2 will introduce "sub-tick updates," meaning that the server will know exactly when you fired your shot, and not worry about how long it is until its next 'tick'.

Elsewhere, Valve explained changes to its maps, stating that it wants to keep some "touchstone" maps, which allow players to calibrate changes from CS:GO to Counter-Strike 2. Lighting tweaks might be apparent, but otherwise, changes will be minimal. Other maps will be upgraded with Source 2's lighting, while the game's oldest maps have been "fully rebuilt." Finally, new smoke grenades will ensure more reactive smoke that's more consistent for all players viewing it.

CS:GO lives in our list of the best FPS games, but how will its successor fare?

Ali Jones
News Editor

I'm GamesRadar's news editor, working with the team to deliver breaking news from across the industry. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.