Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s visuals have seen a bunch of upgrades over the past several years, but the game’s likely move to Source 2 might have something even more impressive in store with all the ways Valve is reminding fans that it’s coming.
The developer’s latest tease poked fun at CSGO’s doubters in the form of an unused post-processing setting inside the files of Source 2 game Half-Life Alyx. An unused setting usually isn’t big news, but it was what Valve decided to name the effect that will have fans laughing.
Tucked away neatly inside one of Alyx’s game archives is a post-processing effect called “dead game,” and we’re pretty sure Valve isn’t referring to Dota 2.
Valve doesn’t come right out and say that it’s using Source 2 tools on CSGO, but It’s unlikely that the file is just an unused effect from Half-Life Alyx, either. “dead game” makes heavy use of screen blur at the same time as darkening the edges of the screen, meaning that it’s unlikely part of Alyx’s post-processing settings. After all, Valve spent years trying to make VR less blurry to blur its game out in post-production.
CSGO fans have dodged the “Is CSGO dead?” question for the better part of the game’s lifespan, a fact that’s backed up by a quick Google search. Even today, there are hundreds of articles and social media posts all arguing about whether the shooter is past its prime.
CSGO is definitely not a dead game, but the question is still one of the game’s most-searched topics. The fact of the matter is CSGO in 2021 is more popular than it has ever been. The competitive first-person shooter has topped 1,000,000 concurrent players almost daily since November 2020, even coming within 200,000 players of the all-time peak it set in April 2020. Nine years after its release, CSGO continues to grow.
If the post-processing setting is a reference to CSGO, it’s a solid joke on Valve’s part. The developer finally seems comfortable with its fanbase’s expectations since the successful release of Half-Life: Alyx last March. Valve has flexed its game dev muscles in CSGO as well, with this week’s excellent Broken Fang strike being a great example. Broken Fang’s finale showed that the developer isn’t afraid to take risks, with some calling the operation’s second co-op strike mission some of the best CSGO content Valve has ever made.
But if Valve’s “dead game” joke wasn’t enough, it’s possible that Broken Fang included another gag, this time aimed at the developers themselves. A boarded-up room in Broken Fang’s finale is labeled H3 and covered in “under construction” signs, in what is likely a reference to the studio’s missing third installment of the Half-Life franchise, Half-Life 3.
It’s all just hints and speculation until Valve decides to make an official announcement regarding CSGO Source 2 or an end to the Half-Life trilogy, but the developer’s hints seem to be getting more and more obvious as CSGO continues to dominate Steam charts.