Valve's long-running competitive squad-based shooter, Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO to its pals), is undergoing some pretty massive changes, introducing a battle royale-style mode and switching to a free-to-play model.
CS:GO is one of the biggest esports titles in the world, with millions of regular players and viewers, big-money tournaments, and regularly massive concurrent numbers on Steam. (At the time of writing, 333,000 people are playing the game.)
In September, Valve introduced a free-to-play version of CS:GO, with limited modes available. But now - like, as of right now - the whole experience can be yours for the princely sum of nought, subject to whatever in-game purchases you want to lay your cash down for.
Anyone who bought CS:GO ahead of this F2P update will have their account boosted to Prime level, for no extra cost (whereas freebie newcomers will need to cough up for that). Prime status grants a bunch of nice cosmetic items and more, which would otherwise need to be earned through the XP grind. Prime (multi)players also get matched with others in their same status category.
Obviously this move to a F2P model is a big deal for the six-years-young shooter, the latest entry in a series that dates back to 2000. But of equal-headline-billing is the game's introduction of a still-so-hot-right-now battle royale mode, Danger Zone.
Danger Zone is, say its makers, "a fast-paced battle royale game mode built on CS:GO's tactical gameplay, where players use wits, skill and resources to fight to the finish." A single map is available right now, Blacksite, playable solo, and in duos and trios. It features 16 players per match, which lasts for 10 minutes, in solo play, and 18 participants for squads. Matches use guns from previous CS:GO modes.
Which, you might think, is a pretty paltry number compared to other battle royale games out there. But this is CS:GO. It's not the player numbers that make it, but coordination between the best out on the urban battlefield. Players begin Danger Zone armed with just a knife, and need to pick up deadlier weapons as they progress. Blacksite is split into several zones, and these are occasionally hit by air strikes.
Loads more information can be found on the Danger Zone website.
Featured Image Credit: Valve