Valve couldn’t wait for The Game Awards 2018 to make two major announcements. First Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is now free to play and is downloadable for all Steam users immediately. Second, the game now has a small-scale battle royale mode named “Danger Zone” that features between 16-18 players and unique gameplay mechanics. Danger Zone is entirely free for anyone that downloads CS:GO.
Danger Zone is the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive approach to battle royale modes, focusing on retaining the deliberate pacing and tactical gameplay of the game’s standard multiplayer. Players can play solo or in groups of two or three, with solo players being matched into 16-player games and groups matching into 18-player games.
There’s currently only one map, Blacksite, but the small map size all but guarantees the fast addition of new maps if Valve wants to add them. The smaller player numbers and maps also mean that each match lasts around a comfortable 10 minutes.
The base idea of Danger Zone is the same as every battle royale: to kill the other players until being the only one left. A survivable zone will slowly shrink, bringing living players closer and closer. The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive map is littered with items, though there are tiers of item crates that must be damaged to access their content. Low-level crates can be opened with basic melee attacks, but high-level crates require at least a melee weapon.
Where Counter-Strike: Danger Zone stands out from other battle royale games insofar as a systems point of view is concerned is its cash system. Players will find cash throughout the map, on the players they kill, in bags and safes, and can earn it over time. Players can also take found hostages to rescue points or hunt down bounties for extra cash. This money can be spent on items ordered via a tablet that also shows the map, with items delivered via a drone, and more powerful weapons becoming available over time. Item and ammo scarcity make the economy an important part of the game.
Valve’s approach to the battle royale genre is absolutely unique, yet is certain to be a controversial addition due to Counter-Strike having a very dedicated and critical fan base. However, Danger Zone will undoubtedly be successful, considering the already-implemented microtransactions and CS:GO‘s thriving weapon skin market on Steam. That said, it remains to be seen whether or not it will prove popular or exciting enough to garner an eSports following.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is available now exclusively on PC as a free-to-play title, with an all-new battle royale mode.