The Counter-Strike Team, often abbreviated as the CS Team, was the name used by the developers of Counter-Strike during development on the title. As the name suggests, it was not a company but a group of people. The core team consisted of just Minh Le and Jess Cliffe, though various level designers and texture artists that contributed to the development of Counter-Strike were also considered as part of the team.

Even after Counter-Strike was acquired by Valve Software, the name was kept in use and various game documents credit the game releases to the CS Team.


Development on Counter-Strike was originally started single-handedly by Minh Le.[1] Jess Cliffe was a previous internet acquaintance of Le as they had both been involved with a mod called Action Quake 2. Le was part of the mod development team and Cliffe was part of a map website for the mod.[1] During a casual IRC chat, Le mentioned that he was working on an independent mod with a counter-terrorism theme to Jess Cliffe.[1] Cliffe liked the theme of the mod and offered to create a website for the mod, which is how the core of the original Counter-Strike Team was formed.[1] Le and Cliffe spoke a lot via the internet,[2] but the two would not meet up in person until 2003.[3]

As neither Cliffe nor Le had much experience in level design, various outside people were brought in to contribute maps for the game.[4] While these people were officially considered part of the team,[5] accounts by the designers themselves indicate that they had relatively little involvement with the actual core team except for the occasional feedback on their level design.[6][7][8] The level designers listed as part of the team rotated mostly based on which maps were present in the current release of the game.[9]

Texture artists were also brought in from the outside. While some artists worked in close cooperation with a specific level designer like Jaison Green with Glen Cooper,[10] Chris Ashton was the go-to guy for most level designers that needed textures for the maps they were designing for Counter-Strike.[11]

Minh Le and Jess Cliffe also sought outside help for the Linux port of the server binaries.[12] The main man behind the Linux server port, Leon Hartwig[9], was also eventually employed by Valve and continued working on the game once it had been acquired by Valve.[13]

Even after Valve Software acquired the rights to the Counter-Strike title and Minh Le and Jess Cliffe were offered jobs by Valve, the Counter-Strike Team name was kept for the development team and future releases of the title credited the game to the CS Team in the manual and/or readme.

As future titles in the Counter-Strike series were developed as standard retail video game titles without the involvement of various hobbyist volunteers, the Counter-Strike Team could be considered to have been disbanded when development on the original Counter-Strike was finished.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 CS-Nation - Counter-Strike: Year 1. Archived from the original on 2000-08-15.
  2. - Interviews - Gooseman aka Minh Le. Archived from the original on 2000-12-13.
  3. PCGamesN | The making of: Counter-Strike
  4. Gamasutra - Interview with Minh Le
  5. Counter-Strike: - [The CS Team]. Archived from the original on 2000-06-13.
  6. STOMPED - Counter-Strike Map Interviews, Part 2: Dave "DaveJ" Johnson. Archived from the original on 2001-04-16.
  7. STOMPED - Counter-Strike Map Interviews, Part 3: Matt "Pantera" Szymanski. Archived from the original on 2001-03-03.
  8. STOMPED - Counter-Strike Map Interviews, Part 1: Mike "Cadaver" Rosser. Archived from the original on 2001-02-10.
  9. 9.0 9.1 The official Counter-Strike web site - The CS Team. Archived from the original on 2002-10-03.
  10. B-F Total Gaming Network - GlenC Interview. Archived from the original on 2002-06-19.
  11. - Interviews - Macman. Archived from the original on 2000-11-21.
  12. The official Counter-Strike web site - /me erm.. yeah. Archived from the original on 2000-12-14.
  13. CS-Nation - more 1.4 bits. Archived from the original on 2002-06-05.

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