"Overwhelming success". Valve assess release and future of Counter-Strike 2

Counter-Strike 2 development team spoke with PC Gamer journalists about the new version of the shooter, the full release of which took place on September 27. In particular, Valve representatives assessed the release of the game, commented on the nuances of the sub-tick system, and also shared some plans for the future.

The launch of CS2 has been an overwhelming success, the developers say. They attributed this result to a productive Limited Test period during which players provided valuable feedback.

The launch has been an overwhelming success, and the player numbers are still humbling. Believe it or not, one of the biggest successes was the Limited Test. Getting the game into players' hands quickly and early gave us hugely valuable feedback that drove many of our decisions leading up to release. So we were very happy with the process that led us from early development to limited test to release. As to what we'd have done differently, we could have handled our communication over the system requirements for CS2 better – we should have let affected players know earlier in the process.

The decision to make a full release, despite the abundance of negative reviews about the shortcomings, was made due to the need to accelerate the pace of improvement of a number of important systems, which was impossible to achieve in conditions of Limited Test.

We know there's a conversation about whether the Limited Test should have been longer. For sure, there are some features that would have been included in CS2 at launch if we had a longer beta. But over time, it's not clear what the priorities should be when you have an ever-shrinking and self-selecting subset of the community participating. And without everyone playing the same game, we couldn't make much progress on the most critical systems like networking, performance, and core gameplay. Since we've launched, we've been getting feedback about new bugs, behaviors, and issues from players at every level, from casual players on older hardware to the pros.

Launching the game has massively accelerated the pace of improving CS2, so we think that launching when we did was the right time, even if the landing was (and still is) bumpy. Ultimately, this is the fastest way to get CS2 to where we all want it to be one or five or ten years from now.

When asked about the sub-tick problems, which are widely discussed in the community, Valve representatives assured that the new system generally works as expected, but may have problems in individual cases, which are resolved by specialists.

The goal of sub-tick is to give everyone a consistent, tick-independent experience that's better than CS:GO's 64 or 128 tick experience. For the most part the system works as intended, but as we rolled out the feature to more and more people we got feedback, like those clips, about systems that weren't reaching their goals. The CS community is understandably focused on both differences and bugs that affect their experience, and we're working hard to address them.

The reduction of guns' sprays with the release of Counter-Strike 2, which has been recently proven experimentally, is due to the features of the sub-tick system. According to the developers, in CS:GO spray patterns on 64 and 128-tick servers were different, while in CS2 it was unified and made more similar to the 128-tick pattern.

In CS:GO, players were split between 64 and 128-tick servers. Tick rate affected CS:GO in several ways, including how grenades were simulated and the spray patterns for weapons, and players had difficulty switching between the two environments.

A goal of CS2 was to unify those two groups, and sub-tick servers are an important step toward that goal. The sub-tick servers separate gameplay from tick boundaries, which lets us fine-tune gameplay toward whatever specific standard we want. So, to get back to your question, the spray patterns look slightly reduced compared to 64-tick CS:GO, because as a general rule we've tried to match the 128-tick behavior when possible, and 128 tickrate CS:GO sprays are roughly the size you currently see in CS2.

Game modes from CS:GO, such as Arms Race, will eventually be re-introduced in CS2.

We have plans to re-introduce popular game modes and explore others. That being said, all game modes, regardless of their rules, fundamentally depend on solid core gameplay. So in the short term we have been keeping our development focused on the spaces where players spend the overwhelming amount of their collective time. It's a trade-off, and understandably frustrating for players who primarily enjoyed other game modes, but we believe this is the best approach for the long-term success of CS2.

Also, a completely new weapon will definitely appear in Counter-Strike, but this will not happen soon.

It's not the top priority at the moment, but we absolutely plan to introduce some new weapons for CS2. We're always looking for ways to give players more interesting decisions to make in the game, so we'll typically look at cases where players either don't have the right tools to approach a situation, or have only one or two tools available. Where is the gameplay getting stale? What kind of weapon might shake up the status quo?

Over the ten years of CS:GO we learned some occasionally painful lessons about how to gracefully introduce a new weapon to the game. We think we have a handle on how to approach this in the future, and with the customizable loadouts in CS2, shipping weapons should be even more straightforward.

At the end of the interview, the developers admitted that they do not have a specific plan for the CS2 development and will continue to implement new ideas over the years, as was the case with CS:GO.

We should all expect CS2 to look very different in 10 years. Just look at how much CS:GO changed! But just as CS:GO's final form was the culmination of a decade of experiments, CS2's future isn't set in stone. We don't have a specific vision that we're trying to realize, but rather a process we want to continue to execute for many years. We'll continue to explore all of the opportunities that come with the game and its amazing community, to experiment with new ideas, and to do the hard work necessary to make CS2 the place every FPS fan wants to be.

Notably, a month after the full release, the professional Counter-Strike scene completely switched to CS2. The nearest Major in the new version of Valve's shooter is scheduled for March 2024, while the qualifiers for it will take place in January-February.

Origin: www.pcgamer.com