To cut a long story short: The CS:GO level Breach had a protracted and somewhat shaky design process. It started out as a mere variant of the level Agency, with the game mode changing from hostage rescue to bomb defusal. But the number of changes slowly increased and the level struggled to find its identity, until it finally stepped out of the shadow of its predecessor - becoming an original, standalone level instead. While the 1.0 version of Breach was proven in playtesting and fun enough, the map always felt a bit overengineered and convoluted by the numerous twists and turns of its development. Many of the level's issues were addressed in the "1.5 version", but not all. With the new 2.0 version, we set out to create a definitive version of the level. Three improvement goals were identified and guided all the changes that were made.
Navigation and flow Players should be able to easily find their way, character movement should be smooth and different areas of the level should connect in an intuitive, simple manner.
Competitive engagement 5vs5 gameplay should be fiercely engaging. The layout should support a wide range of offensive/defensive setups and tactics. Readability and firing angles need to be rock solid.
Identity & flavour The level needs to have a reason for existing. It should retain its unique identity and flavour in both gameplay and visuals. It should not copycat the structure of existing maps.
I will refer back to these improvement goals, by their different numbers, continuously throughout this article. But now, let's take a look at the changes!
Breach 2.0 Changes
One of the biggest changes in 2.0 is the near-total redesign of the A site. The site's entrances are more distinct and lead into the site more naturally, with less dead space to traverse, supporting better navigation (goal 1). The number of unintuitive and tricky angles, like head peeks, have been reduced, improving competitive gameplay (goal 2). The site itself remains fairly open and feels different from the sites of other levels, retaining a sense of identity (goal 3).
The central "trident" pillar is an iconic and memorable landmark, visible from many angles and over the site's walls (goal 1, 3). The pillar has 3 "corners" which support different plants and post-plant situations, with different pros and cons (goal 2).
The changes to mid are among the most dramatic. The upper and lower floors are now more smoothly connected using a half-floor between them (goal 1), albeit at a small cost to overall identity (goal 3). While the latter is true, the area still retains a distinct gameplay dynamic. The angles are less neck-breaking and more comfortable than before (goal 2).
The new connector to B is located in a more intuitive and direct location in mid (goal 1).
It also supports a new and interesting high-risk, high-reward position facing both upper mid ("bridge") and towards A-long (goal 2).
Upper mid has now become a bridge with a snazzy design, visible from both mid and A long (view from A long seen here). The two areas now share a landmark and more direct path between them, which does wonders for player orientation (goal 1) and enabling quick and skillful rotations (goal 2).
The T path to second/lower mid now starts outside of B (loading dock), instead of in T side offices. This new and handy path prevents excessive backtracking if an attack on B fails (goal 1, 2). The change also makes the mid layout slightly more uncommon and distinct (goal 3).
"A long" has a more direct and memorable path to mid under the new bridge (goal 1, 3). This direct route allows for fast, but risky, rotations and devastating, skillful sniper use (goal 2). It's also more neutrally placed and is more interestingly contested (goal 2), whereas the old interior path was more of a CT stronghold.
B site was not radically changed in the same manner as other areas, but still received a couple of improvements. Upper B is now partially closed off to give CTs some cover - and to hide the movements of players using the electrical room to sneak around (goal 2)! Power boxes have been added to the site to add cover and break unexpected firing angles (goal 2). The connector to mid is now properly lit and has a small defensive corner to aid in retakes and ambushes (goal 2).
Naturally, the sum of all changes leads to a different feel and gameplay compared to old versions. It's best that you try it for yourself, but generally the level is a bit more compact and frantic! This is, in part, due to the more direct path linking A long (top right) with outside B (lower left) through mid. This "highway" that runs through the level is fast but perilous!
That's all folks!
This has been a look at the most important changes to Breach 2.0. Keep in mind that there are a lot of nitty-gritty, and a bit boring, tweaks that went into this update as well.
We hope you enjoyed this article, the new 2.0 version and hope to hear your feedback! While we won't overhaul the level again, we will certainly improve and tweak 2.0.
"Once more unto de_breach, dear friends, once more..." - Shakespeare, probably