It is not known when exactly development on the Xbox version of Counter-Strike was started, but the game was originally developed jointly by Gearbox Software and Valve Software. Xbox was chosen as the platform due to its potential in online gaming.At this point, the game was to be based on the version of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero that was being developed by Gearbox Software and was to feature the single-player and multiplayer skirmish modes.
The game was announced in May 2002 at E3 and was slated to be released in 2003. Shortly after the event, Gabe Newell stated that they were pretty far “in terms of getting the game up and running”, but that Gearbox and Valve were struggling with figuring out how to utilize the Xbox hardware to its full potential.It is likely that Gearbox Software withdrew from the development of the game in July 2002, at the same time as they ceased development on Condition Zero.No media or screenshots of this version of the game were ever released.
As Gearbox Software was no longer working on the title, Valve Software set out to look for a new developer to take over development in summer 2002.Ritual Entertainment had lost a major project in early August 2002 as Electronic Arts had decided to cancel a game they were working on. Thus, Ritual entertainment was eagerly looking for a new project or projects to work on. After negotiations between Valve and Ritual, a deal was struck whereby further development of the Xbox version of Counter-Strike and Counter-Strike: Condition Zero would be overtaken by Ritual Entertainment.
The game would be showcased at E3 2003 at a total of eight stations in Microsoft’s booth. Only the multiplayer component was showcased, allowing attendees to play four-on-four rounds against other attendees or employees of Ritual Entertainment.The showcased version of the game featured only two maps, preliminary versions of Vostok and Dust.