The Counter-Strike series was first announced publicly on March 24, 1999 and made it’s official debut on June 19th, 1999. Released originally as a mod for Half-Life, Counter-Strike was created by Minh Le (aka)

A Counter-Terrorist defusing a bomb in an early beta version of Counter-Strike.
A Counter-Terrorist defusing a bomb in an early beta version of Counter-Strike.

Gooseman, a Vietnamese game developer living in Vancouver, Canada) and Jess Cliffe. Their objective was to modify “the multiplayer aspects of Half-Life to bring to it a more team-oriented gameplay”. In the early days they compared their mod to footage of Team Fortress 2 that was shown in May at E3 1999. Counter-Strike pits a Terrorist and Counter-Terrorist squad against each other. Both teams have access to different weapons that are obtained through a buy system. Money is rewarded to players based on their performance. Depending on the map, objectives can range from planting explosives in a designated bombsite, rescuing hostages or eliminating the opposing team. When the first version of Counter-Strike was release it included four maps (cs_siege, cs_mansion, cs_wpndepot, cs_prison), nine guns (usp, glock, shotgun, m4a1, mp5 navy, TMP, awp, G3/SG-1 & FN M249 PARA) and weighed in at 7.5 megabytes. Not until Beta 4.0 were bomb planting missions introduced. One year after the original release of Counter-Strike, the mod included twelve official maps and nineteen weapons. On top of that, the mod also had a thriving community producing many user created maps and various other content including skins and server side mods. By 2000, Counter-Strike was the most played Half-Life based game.

On April 12, 2000, it was announced that the Counter-Strike developers and Half-Life developers, Valve were teaming up. Counter-Strike left the beta phase November 8, 2000. It was available on store shelves as a standalone game, but continued to be available online for free as a Half-Life mod. The current version of Counter-Strike, 1.6 was released September 15, 2003 along with the Steam client. Before Steam, Counter-Strike was played on the WON online gaming service by Sierra Games. On July 31, 2004, Valve

A screenshot from Counter-Strike: Source footage shown at E3 2004.
A screenshot from Counter-Strike: Source footage shown at E3 2004.

shutdown the last WON servers forcing players to move to Steam. Four months earlier on March 21, 2004, Counter-Strike: Condition Zero (abbreviated CS: CZ or just CZ) was released. CS:CZ contain the core Counter-Strike 1.6 gameplay, but included updated maps, models, textures and various other tweaks. Condition Zero was the first release of the series to include bots and a single player mode. Also included was Condition Zero: Deleted Scenes. Deleted Scenes is the creation of previous CZ developers Ritual Entertainment. The original intended release was Ritual’s single player campaign including standard Counter-Strike multiplayer. After seeing average pre-release reviews in the 60% range, Valve pulled the plug on Ritual’s Condition Zero and the project was handed over to Turtle RockStudios. Even after Turtle Rock reworked and released their version, Condition Zero received an average score of 65% according to Metacritic. Despite this, today Condition Zero is one of the most played gamesavailable via Steam. To stimulate sales, during July of 2004 Valve announced that owners of Condition Zero would be given limited-time beta access to Counter-Strike: Source(abbreviatedCS:S). CS:S was thenext installment in the Counter-Strike franchise completely remade using Valve’s Source Engine. The game was bundled along with Half-Life 2, acting as the initial multiplayer portion until the release of Half-Life 2: Deathmatch. Counter-Strike: Source was later released as a standalone game available via Steam or retail. Much like early beta versions of Counter-Strike, initial versions of CS:S only included one player model for each team. Over time additional features have been added including a “Dynamic Weapons Pricing” (although most servers choose not to utilize this feature), bots, additional maps and an enhanced radar system.

Valve have been tight lipped about any potential additions to the Counter-Strike franchise. In an interview with GameTrailers TV, Valve’s director of marketing Doug Lombardi stated “With Counter-Strike 2, there’s a big question between, do we go start over from scratch and build this whole new game, do we do something that looks more like Team Fortress 2 that is rooted in the old game but has a ton of new stuff, or do we just sort of take everything that’s new that we’ve released and put that out in a new box”. He continues “I think we’re leaning more towards the two more radical places than just sort of rolling up the new box and reskinning the box and putting out all the new stuff.”

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