Counter Strike 2: All Changes and Release Date

Nazmul Hassan
By Nazmul Hassan
7 Min Read
Credit: Valve

Counter Strike 2 has officially been announced. Let’s find out all the changes that’ll come with the long-awaited update.

Since CS: GO‘s release, the game has gone through multiple updates making the game a little better than the previous version. However, the fundamentals of the game and the Source engine remained the same, despite of Source 2 engine’s availability.

Since then, the Counter Strike community has been waiting for the Source 2 engine to be implemented into the game. There were countless instances where it seemed like Source 2 would release very soon, but it never happened.

However, this time, it happened for real. And Valve has officially released the trailers for its biggest update in history, titled “Counter Strike 2: Leveling Up the World.” Not only that, Valve has released two more videos titled “Counter Strike 2: Responsive Smokes” and “Counter Strike 2: Moving Beyond Tick Rate” to let everyone know that the update is really around the corner.

Read More: Valve Has Officially Revealed Counter Strike 2

Counter Strike 2 All Changes and Release Date

Responsive Smokes

YouTube video

Smoke Grenades are now dynamic volumetric objects that interact with the environment and react to lighting, gunfire, and explosions.


Smoke now has the ability to interact with other gameplay events, creating new opportunities. Bullets and HE grenades can push smoke to briefly clear sightlines or expand occlusion.

Expands to fill spaces naturally

Now the smoke will seep out of opened doorways and broken windows, go down and up stairs, as well as expand in long corridors and combine with other smoke.

Reacts to Lighting

In Counter-Strike 2 smoke particles work with the unified lighting system allowing for more realistic light and color.

New Subtick System: Moving Beyond Tick Rate

YouTube video

Sub-tick updates are the heart of Counter-Strike 2. Previously, the server only evaluated the world in discrete time intervals (called ticks). Thanks to Counter-Strike 2’s sub-tick update architecture, servers know the exact instant that motion starts, a shot is fired, or a ‘nade is thrown.

As a result, regardless of tick rate, your moving and shooting will be equally responsive, and your grenades will always land the same way.

Cleaner, Brighter, Better Maps

YouTube video

Full Overhaul Maps

The overhauled maps have been fully rebuilt from the ground up, leveraging all of the new Source 2 tools and rendering features.

Example: Overpass A Long – Old vs. New

Credit: Valve

Upgrade Maps

These are maps that use new Source 2 lighting, including a physically based rendering system that produces realistic materials, lighting, and reflections.

Example: Nuke A Site – Old vs. New

Credit: Valve

Touchstone Maps

Classic maps with solid foundations that players can use to evaluate gameplay changes from CS:GO to Counter-Strike 2. These have improvements to lighting and character reading but otherwise haven’t been changed.

Example: Dust II B Site – Old vs. New

Credit: Valve

Source 2 Tools

The Source 2 tools and rendering features will be available for community map makers to make it easier to build, experiment, and iterate. And stay tuned for the Source 2 Item Workshop, which will be available later on in the limited test.

What About Your Old CS:GO Inventory Items?

Bring your entire CS:GO inventory with you to Counter-Strike 2. Not only will you keep every item you’ve collected over the years, but they’ll all benefit from Source 2 lighting and materials.

In addition to supporting legacy models and finishes, all stock weapons have been upgraded with high-resolution models, and some weapon finishes take advantage of these new models.


All of the visual effects have been updated in Counter-Strike 2. With Source 2 lighting and particle systems, there’s an all-new look and behavior for water, explosions, fire, smoke, muzzle flashes, bullet tracers, impact effects, and more.

Gameplay Visuals

In Counter-Strike 2 the most critical gameplay visuals have been redesigned with readability in mind. Bullet impacts can be easily viewed at a distance, and directional blood impacts (that fade over time) give you more information as you move through the world.

Environment Effects

Experience completely reauthored explosions, fire, C4 lighting, and more. Leveraging the Source 2 Engine and modern hardware, environmental effects in Counter-Strike 2 feature improved visual fidelity and greater consistency.

UI Enhancements

The UI in Counter-Strike 2 has gotten a complete overhaul, including fresh visual effects throughout the HUD. Not only do these improvements look nice, they also communicate important game state.

Accurate Audio

Counter-Strike 2 sounds have been reworked to better reflect the physical environment, be more distinct, and express more game state. They have also been rebalanced for a more comfortable listening experience.

Credit: Valve

There’s More to Come

The Limited Test only evaluates a subset of Counter-Strike 2’s features so that major issues can be resolved before the summer. But there’s much more to come. In just a few months, Valve will reveal all of the details of Counter-Strike 2.

Counter Strike 2 Release Date

According to Valve’s official statement, Counter Strike 2 will release on Summer 23. But the road to Counter-Strike 2 begins today as a Limited Test for select CS:GO players. During this testing period, Valve will be evaluating a subset of features to shake out any issues before the worldwide release.

Counter-Strike 2 arrives this summer as a free upgrade to CS:GO. So build your loadout, hone your skills, and prepare yourself for what’s next!

Read More: Counter Strike 2 is Right Around the Corner and is Real

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By Nazmul Hassan FPS Editor
Nazmul is GameRiv's FPS editor. He is a marketing graduate with an immense passion for gaming. As an ex-professional CS:GO player, he holds a strong interest in other FPS titles like Apex Legends, VALORANT, and CoD. However, he also tries out other games when he is free.