It was announced on November 1st that Cam Banks had acquired the Cortex License from Margaret Weis Productions. This seems like a very appropriate acquisition, since Cam Banks has worked on Cortex and helped design Cortex Plus. Since then, I have reached out to Cam regarding the news and what the future might hold. Cam answered a major question for me. Namely, how did turn of events happen?
It came about because MWP wanted to make a generic set of rulebooks rather than have the system linked to a specific genre or license. They planned to fund it through Kickstarter or something similar and create something similar to Wizards of the Coasts’ DM’s Guild on DrivethruRPG.com. The plan never quite took off. That’s where Cam comes in. After Gen Con, he was approached to see if he’d like to help, having had success with Kickstarter and Atlas Games’ projects, as well as experience with Cortex and Cortex Plus.
Originally, he was supposed to help and support those who were producing the books, but in the end MWP offered him the license to the system instead. Cam and Jessica Banks (who has also worked for Margaret Weis Productions and works for Atlas Games) decided to form the company Magic Vacuum Design Studio so they could work on their own ideas rather than working freelance as much. The first plan is new Cortex products via Kickstarter in 2017!
It’s going to be a lot of work as Cam himself says, “I feel as if Cortex Plus needs something of an overhaul, mostly so that it can be more things to more people while still being all that it is to the people who love it. I don’t really want to keep it split up between various “versions” as much as I want it to work like a toolkit system with various plug-in modules to customize it how you like, either as a GM or a 3rd party designer. Any RPG built from Cortex that comes out afterward should make certain decisions about which plug-ins are implemented and stand alone, while still being capable of being hacked by fans to do other things.”
If you want to follow Cam’s design progress and see his other projects and IP, he has a Patreon account set up. There will also be playtest materials and a Patron level where he will take suggestions and advice from fans as he shapes Cortex’s new direction. His Patreon already has a lot of tantalizingly titled posts regarding his current projects, including Cortex, so fans may find it well worth checking out!