CS2 map leak brings back a CS:GO gem that was lost to time

This Greek island will be open for business come CS2's launch.

Screenshot by FMPONE via Valve

A short-lived but well-remembered CS:GO map has already been reworked for Counter-Strike 2, with legendary map maker Shaun “FMPONE” Snelling sharing early screenshots of an updated de_santorini on April 23.

The updated version of Santorini takes full advantage of CS2’s pivotal lighting changes and Source 2’s new ‘physically-based rendering system,’ further improving elements that made the map a long-time fan-favorite among both casuals and pros alike.

Related: What does Source 2 mean for Counter-Strike?

Famous for his work on classic Counter-Strike maps Cache and Season, FMPONE, alongside Dimitri “Dimsane” Alexis, Brian “Hordeau” Pujals, and Rick “Rf” Forge, launched Santorini in Nov. 2015, with the map officially added via Operation Wildfire in Feb. 2016.

Santorini was warmly received by players at the time, with many complimenting the map’s bright textures and unique, refreshing approach to verticality. While the map was never played at a major tournament, Santorini was featured in a March 2016 show match between top 20 teams Flipsid3 Tactics and CSGOLounge.

The map’s fans were hoping Valve would keep Santorini in CS:GO’s Active Duty map pool following Operation Wildfire in Oct. 2016, but with the operation coming to a close, Santorini became accessible only via the Steam Workshop.

The map has maintained a cult following over the years, with third-party platform FACEIT bringing Santorini to its community map pool briefly in 2017.

Related: Counter-Strike 2 officially announced, launching summer 2023

FMPONE added in his updated Santorini tweet that work had begun on porting Active Duty classic Cache to CS2 sometime this year. The famed map maker added that the lessons he’s learning from updating Santorini—alongside some yet-to-be-released Source 2 official tools—will ultimately improve Cache on CS2’s launch.

In Valve’s CS2 announcement video from March 23, 2023, the developer explained maps in Counter-Strike would undergo updates for CS2 based on which category the map fell into, from ‘touchstone’ maps needing light work, to full-on competitive ‘overhauls.’

Whether community maps will be considered by Valve for these categories is not fully clear yet, but FMPONE’s Santorini update assures players that, come day one of CS2’s launch, they’ll be able to return to the Greek island.

You can catch up on every CS2 map revealed so far right here.

About the author
Nicholas Taifalos

Aussie Editor for Dot Esports. Nick, better known as Taffy, began his esports career as a commentator, switching to journalism with a focus on Oceanic esports, particularly CS:GO and Dota. Email: [email protected]