Valve is currently celebrating Steam's 20th anniversary in the only way Valve knows how: massive discounts on all of its games, and bad jokes. The studio posted a neat timeline crammed with trivia about the platform, which begins with it getting in a quarrel with itself about what the first third party game released on Steam was (Codename: Gordon, apparently, though as it's now de-listed Rag Doll Kung Fu also gets a shout-out), and ends with the tiniest tidbit of news about Valve's biggest release of the year.
Early in 2023 the Counter-Strike community got all aflutter following various claims from dataminers, players and journalists that something big was on the way. It was: Valve announced Counter-Strike 2, a direct sequel to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which is going to be free-to-play and will carry over all of players' precious cosmetics.
Since then it's been in a limited beta, which initially was quite restrictedwith only a small percentage of the CS:GO playerbase allowed in, and Valve saying the game would release in "summer". A couple of weeks ago the gates were thrown open to more-or-less anyone, which set my Spidey-senses tingling. And at the end of its 20th anniversary Steam post Valve says it's now coming "soon":
"The year isn’t quite over but so far we’ve released a huge Steam Client update, Counter-Strike 2 entered into beta (and launches soon) and there are now more than 11,000 titles verified or playable on Steam Deck."
Now, what Valve means by "soon" could mean next week, next month, or next year. I mean, look at what it did to my boy "summer" here: is it really still summer halfway through December? I guess in certain parts of Seattle the answer is yes.
Counter-Strike 2 is a slightly odd sequel, inasmuch as the goal seems to be to basically remake Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, but better. Everything is the same, but everything gets an overhaul. So you'll still use smoke grenades, for example, but now their utility is changed utterly by Valve's fancy new smoke physics that let players blast temporary gaps for vision. There's an overhauled matchmaking and ranking system. It steals good ideas from the competition. If you're not already a Counter-Strike nut, you may well wonder what all the fuss is about. But if you are then, like me, this seems like a dream game, and can't come soon enough, Valve time be damned.