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CS2 release date, skins, trailers, and Counter-Strike 2 news

The CS2 release date is finally here, so here’s everything you need to know about the Valve's highly anticipated FPS, including skins, news, and leaks.

Counter-Strike 2 release date: two stylised soldiers in front of a yellow and white background

When was the CS2 release date? After weeks of countless rumors, Valve confirmed Counter-Strike 2’s existence in March 2023, and we didn’t even have to wait that long, despite what the internet might have you believe.

We spent weeks gathering up every scrap of information about Counter-Strike 2 to zero in on the Counter-Strike 2 release date. In this guide, we’ll let you know everything we heard about the sequel to one of the best PC games of all time before its release. Here’s all you need to know about the CS2 release date, leaks, skins, news, and more.

Counter-Strike 2 release date: A soldier stood above a swimming pool

CS2 release date

The CS2 release date was Wednesday, September 27, 2023 at 1.41PM PT / 4.41PM ET / 9.41PM GMT. An odd time to launch a game, sure, but it kept us on our toes.

We knew this ahead of time because the official CSGO Twitter account had recently posted: “What are you doing next Wednesday?” Valve had previously stated that the Counter-Strike 2 release date would be “Summer 2023” – but as this had already passed, it was fair to assume a small delay was happening.

Alongside this, CSGO had recently been delisted from Twitch, which led us to believe that this was in preparation for the new CS2 category to go up with the full release of the game.

CS2 limited test

On September 1, Valve published a blog post that introduced the CS ranks and rating system and opened up the limited test to over 100,000 players. In order to gain access to the limited test, all you needed to do was have a rank in CSGO’s competitive mode. You may not have received an invite right away, but Valve continued to send out waves of invites every few days.

With the exception of very minor limitations, the CS2 limited test was being used primarily to fix any bugs that players spotted. After allowing more than half a million players into the limited tests, there soon became not much else that needed polishing, meaning all that was left to do was release the game.

CS2 skins

Valve confirmed on the official CS2 website that CSGO players can bring their entire inventories with them to Counter-Strike 2. The dev also mentioned that every skin benefits from the upgrades to the Source 2 engine, including upgraded lighting and visuals for stickers, weapons, models, and more. Don’t worry, your inventory filled with skins worth thousands of dollars is officially safe.

You may have noticed the price of Counter-Strike skins has drastically risen since CS2 was announced. It looks as if players have been in the mood for opening crates, unboxing close to 40 million crates in March, smashing to previous CSGO cases record which was around 27 million crates. The demand for high-quality skins caused the market to skyrocket, increasing the prices of expensive skins even further.

There are changes being made every week to CS2 skins to try to bring them in line with their CSGO counterparts. In particular, the knives featuring the Doppler finish have received a number of tweaks that have changed the color of player’s skins. For instance, knives with a red finish now look pink instead. It’s unclear whether Valve is going to adjust these changes just yet, but we imagine they will given the idea was to make every skin look the same across both games.

CS2 trailers

Valve announced Counter-Strike 2 by dropping three trailers on its YouTube channel: Responsive Smokes, Leveling Up The World, and Moving Beyond Tick Rate.

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Smoke grenades have been redesigned to become dynamic volumetric objects that interact with the environment. Now that CS2 smokes can be altered by players, you can use weapons and items like grenades to move entire smoke grenades out of the way. Shooting through smoke now produces a line of sight through it, allowing both sets of players to peer through the cloud.

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The move to the Source 2 engine has prompted Valve to redesign and overhaul a number of the CS2 maps. The redesigns come in three forms: touchstone maps, upgrades, and overhauls. Touchstone maps (Dust 2, Mirage, Train) are classic maps that have only received lighting and character-read changes. This allows players to analyze the differences between CSGO and CS2 using a familiar map layout that is unchanged from each game. Upgrades (Nuke and Aztec) represent maps that utilize Source 2 lighting to produce realistic materials, lighting, and reflections. Overhauls (Italy and Overpass) are maps that have been fully rebuilt using the Source 2 tools and rendering features.

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One of the biggest complaints about the competitive side of Counter-Strike has to do with the tick rate of servers. In CS2, servers are tick-less, ensuring the player’s actions happen at the exact moment they pressed the button rather than during a set tick.

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The fourth trailer was released on September 1, entitled Beyond Global. This video highlights the new CS2 rating system which assigns players a numerical rank as opposed to the traditional system that spanned across Silver 1 all the way to Global Elite. This rating places everyone on a global leaderboard, letting players know at a glance where they stack up against the greatest players in the world.

CS2 news

Counter-Strike 2 features a built-in version of the much-loved third-party CSGO tool that allows players to bind the jump and throw actions to one key, known as the jump throw bind. When jumping, there’s a small window to throw a smoke grenade which provides players with consistent jump throws every time.

There’s also news about Valve using an upgraded version of their anti-cheat system, VAC. This new system, dubbed VAC Live, is said to have the power to detect when players are cheating while the match is currently active. Matches will instantly end once VAC Live detects a cheater, saving both teams time as they can immediately queue up for another game. Here’s in-game footage of the system hard at work, instantly removing a cheating player within seconds of being reported.

The CS2 limited test features a setting called ‘follow recoil‘ which moves the player’s crosshair when firing a weapon. This gives the player an opportunity to drag their mouse in the correct direction to compensate for the recoil, making it easier to account for recoil using specific weapons. This setting is also in CSGO, but you need to enable cheats to activate it. The CSGO community views this as a positive change to the game as it makes things slightly easier for new players who haven’t had time to learn recoil patterns.

If you’re hoping to play Valve’s shooter sequel competitively, you’re in luck. CS2 Nvidia Reflex support has been a thing since launch, and it’ll help gun down hardware-related latency woes.

Counter-Strike 2 encouraged a lot of former players to jump back into the action, with a maximum peak of 1.8 million players on CS:GO in early May 2023. This was up from the previous record of 1.6 million players back in April 2023.

Counter-Strike 2 launch could be soon as Valve unveils brand-new logo: A logo used by Valve that could signal the launch of Counter-Strike 2

That’s everything you need to know about the CS2 release date and our tumultuous journey to its eventual launch. If you’re planning on jumping in, make sure you check out our guide to the CSGO ranks if you need to improve your competitive forte. Alternatively, we also have a list of the best free PC games if you fancy playing something else.