We've got new details on this unique first-person shooter from the makers of Half-Life: Opposing Force.
At the recent Game Developers Conference we caught up with Randy Pitchford, president of Gearbox Software, the company that's now polishing up the forthcoming Counter-Strike: Condition Zero. As you probably know, the original Counter-Strike began as a multiplayer mod for Half-Life but later became a phenomenon: Its intense action, original gameplay, and real-world context of antiterrorist warfare made it a fantastic game. And the fact that you could download it for free made it incredibly popular.
Yet even Counter-Strike's biggest fan would readily admit that the game has some serious problems. Matches played over the Internet are often plagued by cheaters, and since the game has no single-player component to speak of, Counter-Strike is extremely intimidating for new players to get into. The central goal of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero is to address both of these problems. We got an extensive look at Condition Zero in action and came away impressed with the game's innovative solutions on how to make Counter-Strike better than ever. While we've been skeptical about the idea of a single-player Counter-Strike game, in reality Condition Zero is going to be much more than that.
Counter-Strike: Condition Zero will use an enhanced version of the same engine that's used for Counter-Strike. This thing is seriously getting on in years by now, but you wouldn't know it by looking at Condition Zero. The designers at Gearbox have added some great new graphical touches like alpha blending, which allows for the use of foliage and weather effects in Condition Zero's new maps. High-resolution textures and far more detailed character models (along with some new animations) also help make the game look much better than the original. Visually, the difference between Condition Zero's visuals and those of Counter-Strike is a lot like what Gearbox did to make Half-Life: Blue Shift improve the appearance of the original Half-Life.
Doesn't Counter-Strike need a bigger graphical overhaul by now? Perhaps, but the decision to use the same engine in Condition Zero isn't just a cheap way to minimize development time--it's to ensure that Condition Zero retains the fast pacing and distinct feel that millions of Counter-Strike fans associate with the game. To translate Condition Zero to another engine would be to risk compromising the game's near-perfect action. Besides, Condition Zero isn't being billed as a sequel--it's more of an update. It's not just a single-player game.
Condition Zero is being designed to provide a complete Counter-Strike experience, so the single-player portion is just part of it. But the game's 20 new maps will be playable in either the single-player or the multiplayer mode. These maps will span six different real-world hotspots, which will pit counterterrorists against militant groups in South America, the Middle East, Western Europe, the former Soviet Union, Asia, and even the United States. There will actually be two types of single-player modes in Condition Zero. Optionally, you will now be able to experience the classic Counter-Strike gameplay by playing with and against computer-controlled bots, which simulate the team-based action of the original. But the main single-player campaign of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero sounds even more exciting. It's not just a series of linked, scripted missions like what you'd find in the single-player mode of just about any shooter. It's an open-ended, dynamic campaign that draws from some unexpected influences. It sounds like it's going to be a lot of fun, and you'll find out all about it next.
- Release Date: Mar 23, 2004 (US)
- ESRB: MTitles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older.
- Release Date: Mar 5, 2013 (US)