We sat down with Alexander Garfield, who is at the helm of the CSPromod project, to discuss with him the latest developments in the mod's building process.
After more than a year without any new updates, the CSPromod developers caught everyone by surprise last week when they announced that the 1.09 patch was ready to be released and that the project had finally found some much-needed support from an unnamed partner.
It is a light at the end of the tunnel for those who are not fond of CS:GO, as the mod tries to replicate the so-called "1.6 feeling" in the Source engine.
The 1.09 patch received mixed reviews from the community, but it was announced on Tuesday that the new update, which will be released on Sunday, will introduce many important changes, such as improved models and animations.
Find you out below what Garfield had to say about the project in this interview, which was conducted prior to 1.09's release.
1.09 was supposed to be released in August, right after CS:GO came out. Why just now? What was the holdup?
We have been a volunteer project for a very long time. Historically, deadlines have not been our strong suit. Going forward, our core development team will be compensated, and we believe this will address the issue of inconsistent updates and long wait periods in between versions.
Many had expected CSP to take over from 1.6 and CS:Source, but then CS:GO came along. Are you not afraid that you may have missed the boat?
We are not at all concerned that we have missed the window for our project to be successful. We do not see ourselves as a CS:GO competitor - in terms of mechanics and gameplay, CSP and CS:GO are completely different.
What is your opinion about CS:GO and why do you think that yours is the better game?
That is a pretty loaded question! I do not agree with its premise at all. We do not think CSP is a better game than CS:GO. The core gameplay elements are just different.
How close is the game to its first official release?
At least three months. The game will be updated and patched consistently, however, leading up to our first official release.
Are you not afraid that CSPromod may split the community even more?
No, because ultimately we think that people play games because they are fun, not because of what they are named. I always kind of roll my eyes when people talk about the “Counter-Strike Community,” because we really have n had one, cohesive Counter-Strike community since 2005, when there was fundamentally only one version of Counter-Strike. A group of games sharing the same name or branding do not mean that they necessarily share a community, or that they even should share a community.
To me, CS 1.6, CS:Source, and CS:GO are all completely different games in terms of mechanics and gameplay. Sure, there has been some overlap in the player base, but they have never really shared one, cohesive community. So, rather than saying that the “Counter-Strike Community” is split, it would be more accurate to say that the “Team-Based PC FPS Community” is split. And, if you were to say that, I do not think anyone would argue that it should be any other way. Like, I doubt you would have people raising their voices and flailing their arms in outrage because the Call of Duty 4 community was not united with the TF2 community, for example.
My point is, why is it any different for the different Counter-Strike titles? Because they share the same name? Because they are all in a bomb/defuse format? Because the guns are named the same? Those, to me, are very shallow, surface-level bonds. Anyone who has played the different iterations of Counter-Strike knows that they are fundamentally three completely different games in terms of their mechanics and feel. So, let’s stop kidding ourselves - we have not had a “unified community” since there was only one version of the game. You cannot make someone play something they do nit enjoy just because it has the same name as something completely different that they used to enjoy.
That is why we do not see our project as a CS:GO competitor. We respect the CS:GO development team, and our game is completely different from CS:GO - anyone who has played both will tell you that the mechanics are completely different. Regardless of what happens with CSP, people who enjoy CS:GO will continue to play CS:GO. People who enjoy CS:Source will continue to play CS:Source. People who enjoy Call of Duty will continue to play Call of Duty.
The community talking points over the past several years seem to have been, “Unite! Unite! Unite! That’s the only way we’ll save the Counter-Strike community!” I completely disagree with this. To me, that’s setting the bar so low. One thing people forget is that the Counter-Strike community, in its current state, is but a small percentage of what it was in the mid-2000’s when it was at its peak. Even if we united all of today’s hardcore 1.6, Source, and GO players, that number combined still wouldn’t be close to where the community was in the mid-2000’s.
The goal of our project is not to “take” players away from CS:GO, or CS:Source. Sure, our gameplay is closest to 1.6 in terms of mechanics, so we’re hoping to win over a lot of that crowd, but aside from that, we don’t feel like it’s any of our business to ask people who enjoy a completely different set of mechanics (such as Source or GO) to play our game. The goal of our project is to bring back the millions, upon millions, upon millions of players that have left the team-based FPS community because there has not been an appealing title for them in a half-decade.
Those players are out there - and they remember what it was like to pug and scrim with all of their buddies in 2005, or 2006, or 2007. They still have PC’. They still play online games. They are just not playing a team-based FPS. They are playing DotA 2, or League of Legends, or StarCraft 2, or one of many other titles that may or may not be first-person shooters.
TL;DR - if your formula is “[CS 1.6 Player Base]+[CS:S Player Base]+[CS:GO Player Base]=All Eligible CSP Players” then you’re missing the point completely. We believe our project can be very successful without “taking” any players away from any of the existent Counter-Strike titles.
The biggest obstacle to the success of the mod seems to be the support that CS:GO has already garnered from tournament organizers. Have you had the chance to talk to said organizers about the possibility of replacing CS:GO with your mod in the future?
That is not the biggest obstacle to the success of the project. I do not even think that is an obstacle. Once again, you need to get out of this “CS:GO vs. CSP” mindset. It doesn’t make any sense to me, in the same way that people who talk about “DotA 2 vs. LoL” don’t make any sense to me. It is not a competition.
Have you recently had the chance to talk to some professional CS:GO players about your game? If so, what are their thoughts about it?
We are collecting feedback from any all and professional players who want to give it to us!
Valve has been working hard together with professional players to make the game as appealing as possible. Do you consider working with Valve, or do you think it will not be possible because of CS:GO?
We would love to work with Valve! We do not see CSP as a GO competitor.
Are you already working on 1.10? What sort of changes will it bring? When is it due?
Rather than hyping up new versions and dangling features in front of people’s faces, I would just like to say that we’ll be updating the game much more frequently now. I understand that historically, promises like this have not been followed up on. Actions speak louder than words, and hopefully, after people see that we are patching it and updating it consistently, we will earn back everyone’s trust.