Counter-Strike 2 is real, coming this summer, and in limited access right now
Valve's Source 2 update is official
As the prophecy foretold (and by prophecy I mean weeks of teases and a bucket of rumours) Counter-Strike 2 is real, coming this summer, and a limited test is available right now for select Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players. The sort-of-sequel is being built on Valve’s Source 2 engine and will launch as a free upgrade to CS:GO, carrying over all of your unlocks and purchased items.
There’s no way to sign-up for limited test access, but if you’re a CS:GO player, there’s a chance that you’ve been invited. Head on over and launch CS:GO through Steam and check the main menu for a VIP invite. Valve say they’re selecting players based on factors that are important to the dev team, including “recent playtime on Valve official servers, trust factor, and Steam account standing.” New players are being added over time, so you may get an invite later if you haven’t already.
Be wary, though! Valve are also warning players to watch out for fishy third-party sites that are “claiming to check your Steam account for access or offering Limited Test access or keys.” Valve say there are no keys for Counter-Strike 2’s limited test - the only way to check access is through CS:GO’s menu. For any other questions about the limited test, head to the FAQ page.
If you haven’t been invited to check the snazzy Source 2 improvements for yourself, Valve have released enough info on the official CS2 site to quench your thist for details. The coolest-looking new feature is definitely the smoke grenade's rejigged effects. Smoke now acts realistically, meaning it’ll react to lighting properly, naturally fill in spaces, and move around from the force of bullets and other grenades.
As previously rumoured - now confirmed - Counter-Strike 2 has a new approach to tick-rate: it no longer matters. Thanks to the game’s new sub-tick update, servers will recognise the exact moment you click to shoot or throw a grenade, and it’ll react appropriately. Maps are the other big source (ha!) of change: some are overhauled completely, some are only enjoying Source 2’s fancy lighting, and the rest are largely the same.
Other smaller changes include UI enhancements, improvements to audio, more readable animations, and more. You can read about all the changes on the Counter-Strike 2 website, or you can lay your eyes on the enhancements on Valve’s Youtube channel where they’ve released three videos demonstrating a few changes.