June 26th, 2012
Author: Steve ‘Skuax’ George
The PC First Person Shooter genre appears to have become stagnant and in need of a refresh can Counter-Strike: Global Offensive deliver the eSports goods?
The beginning of eSports as we now know it seemed to revolve around the First Person Shooter genre on PC. Titles such as Quake and Counter-Strike have been popular competitive games for a very long time and still have large and active communities. However, in the last couple of years the spotlight at major eSports events has somewhat shifted away from FPS games and has moved towards RTS and MOBA titles like Starcraft 2 and League of Legends.
PC First Person Shooters still attract hundreds of thousands of players and there are a multitude of tournaments out there that have them as premier games. However, the genre still seems overdue for a new top title that could ascend to the competitive levels of Counter-Strike and Quake in their prime. Now that CS 1.6 is beginning to show its age, people are looking towards Valve’s latest entry in the acclaimed series; Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) as a potential top competitive title. The game, which is now in closed beta, is scheduled to be released on August 21st 2012.
Visually, Global Offensive is looking polished yet true to the series.
From the beginning of CS: GO’s development, Valve was eager to get top players from CS 1.6 and CS: Source to try the game, give feedback and shape what CS: GO would become. Beta keys were also handed out to some of the most dedicated Counter-Strike players through Steam and their feedback was heavily encouraged. Valve’s willingness to change and alter many aspects of the game in correspondence with community feedback has led many people to see a lot of potential in the title.
So, what exactly does the game have going for it? Well, there are many things that could aid CS: GO in becoming a top-tier competitive title. Firstly, the Counter-Strike format of round based, elimination style combat has been a tried and tested success in the past and translates well as a visual experience for crowds. As a game, it could also fit nicely into the line-up of PC games that major tournaments have on their pro series at the moment, potentially replacing CS 1.6 at the tournaments where CS 1.6 is still run.
The success of the first two entries in the series should go to show that Valve have significant experience in making competitive FPS games and they have over a decade of player feedback which they have put to use during the development of CS: GO. The first two games were extremely well received. So, if we pair that with the experience and resources that Valve has gained as a company over that period of time, we should be expecting another great, balanced competitive FPS experience.
The hit boxes in CS: GO are a balance between those of CS 1.6 and CS: Source.
The time is right for this new Counter-Strike entry. Over the past few years, the FPS market has been dominated by the Call of Duty and Battlefield series, which have been very successful in their own right, but lacked the competitive impact previous Counter-Strike titles were able to make. Players of modern FPS games in the market will likely be intrigued by the streamlined, simplistic nature of CS: GO which has made the series so distinctive. This paired with the very reasonable $15 price tag that Valve recently confirmed and existing fan base that surrounds the franchise should give the game a sizeable community at launch.
Since the launch of Counter-Strike: Source, Valve as a company has become a lot more receptive to the eSports community that surrounds some of their titles and they have been willing to invest heavily in making sure DotA 2 launches as a successful eSport. If Valve were willing to undertake a similar investment into CS: GO it may provide the kind of push that the game needs to get into the public eye as a premier competitive title.
Newcomers and veterans alike should be excited for what CS:GO could become.
Whether or not the game will launch in a tournament ready state is currently a question mark, but the beta quality has proven to be quite high. Valve did a good job of improving factors that players complained about and this has resulted in a game that already feels quite balanced and very enjoyable. There will likely be need for further tweaks after the launch, but within a few months I would not be shocked if we started to see some sizeable tournaments pop up for the game. Hopefully, this will lead to the world’s major eSports organizations adopting the game as a premier competitive PC title.