Brainy: Cortex Command To Get Steam Release, Trailer

Cortex Command is a recipe book for robots fighting each other across a 2D landscape. It is brilliant, it is difficult, it is awkward, it is ludicrous and fantastic. It’s one of my favourite indie projects – long hampered by tortuously slow development over many years – and I am pleased as punch that it is now about to find itself on that vast steambotic behemoth of a distribution platform. Data Realms have been working on the campaign setting quite intensively – we had a brief look at it some months back – and that’s what will roll out with the 1.0 Steam version. There’s a video detailing the new meta-game which is overlaid on to the familiar physics-heavy tactical game. Massive 40-minute preview video below, dominated by an explanation of the strategic game. Skip to around 35 mins for serious tactical action bit, although the dev’s voice is getting drowned out a bit by that stage.


  1. Flukie says:

    Completely forgot about this game.

    • Urthman says:

      Completely forgot I own this game.

      Gotta be in the Top Five Games People Don’t Know They Own Because They Bought an Humble Indie Bundle.

      • Phantoon says:

        I think I actually own this game twice.

        I just stopped looking into it because it was never updating.

  2. Gundato says:

    This is the best part of the video

    • communisthamster says:

      That kind of 2d physics fun really makes CC the game it is. Smashing the central body of a dropship leaves the engines running and detached, so they fly across the map and prang other things. In this video though it was just the brain being destroyed that blew up the second dropship.

      On one occasion, dodgy AI piloting caused an enemy dropship to flip over and explode on the other end of the map, and one of the cargo bay doors flew through the air all the way over to my soldier and crushed him flat into the earth, like a cartoon anvil.

  3. Chizu says:

    So hopefully I should get this automatically then?

    Seeing as I already registered my Humble Bundle 2 key on steam and have the rest of those games.

    • Moni says:

      Hopefully so, because I’m looking forward to a lot of people being pleasantly surprised with it appearing in their Steam library since they forgot they bought it in a Humble Bundle.

    • StranaMente says:

      I was wondering if and where I bought that, ’cause I kinda remember it. I really hope it’ll activate.

    • Cim says:

      According to this:
      link to

      Yes, it should automatically get added.

      • bakaohki says:

        But it does not. And even if I reenter the code, Cortex command is not on the list.

  4. Felixader says:

    Will there be an Update for those who bought it loooooong ago, before this day?

    And what is withe the Indie Bundle Purchases? Are they gonna get this update too?

    I am not being sarcastic or vile or anything, i really wana know.

    • Sic says:

      Well, we bought it. I’m pretty sure that means we’re getting it.

    • SpinalJack says:

      Everyone who’s bought the game from anywhere will get a steam key.

      • Felixader says:

        My problem is: what if i DON’T want to activate the game on Steam?

        • Shadowcat says:

          As per GT3000’s comment, when I check my HIB2 link (from 2010-12), I see that Cortex Command was updated only a few months ago (2012-06-04), which is good to see. It would seem highly unlikely that the HIB version doesn’t also get updated when the 1.0 release happens.

          • werix says:

            I didnt get it in HiB 2, but did get in in HIB 3 by exceeding the minimum. So again, hope it does show up. I go back to this every now and again. I’d be nice to have on steam.

      • StranaMente says:

        Good news! The game looks splendid if unforgiving. I hope to be able to play it soon!

  5. Sic says:

    Nice. I’m pretty sure I’ve already redeemed a code on Steam. I know I bought it in one of the first Humble Bundles.

    Awesome concept.

  6. GT3000 says:

    Data Realms has been fantastic about staying with the HIB owners, I expect no different for release.

    • Zelius says:

      That’s good to hear. I bought it in the HIB, but haven’t actually played it, and completely forgot about it. I’ll definitely give it a go once the final version hits Steam.

    • figvam says:

      They still haven’t updated their Linux build at HIB to the latest version (build 27). I wonder what’s going to happen with 1.0.

  7. Zeewolf says:

    Bought it ages ago, messed around with it and never got anywhere. Absolutely a game I’d like to get good at, though. Hopefully having it in my Steam-library will prompt me to finally give it a proper chance.

  8. Artist says:

    A warning about Cortex Command:
    The development is at a snails pace. Updates and new features are very seldom and the developer is pretty much like “fuck you – I continue when I want!”
    Ive bought it years ago, but I still consider Cortex Command as a bad example for alpha/beta funding.

    • Cooper says:

      I wouldn’t couch it in quite so aggressive terms. But, yes. The dev’s attitude is lacking for someone who is taking peoples’ moneys.

      It’s clearly been a part-time ‘as and when’ project. Which is a fine thing, and has produced a good game.

      But asking people to fund a project without then stepping up your commitment to the project was not a good call.

      Hundreds have ended up funding a guy’s hobby, not the development of a game.

    • Bremze says:

      Ironic, I consider Cortex Command a great example at showing how people are extremely, and I hate to use the word, entitled. You paid money for the product at the state it was back then with a bonus of getting any updates that may or may not be created in the future, not a binding contract to force the developer to work on the game for all eternity to meet your arbitrary standard.

      I’ve gotten over hundred hours of enjoyment out of this game due to the amazing mods out there which are the actual meat of the game and wouldn’t be possible without the amount of development time sunk into exposing all the features to moders.

      • dE says:

        If you hate using the word, then don’t use it.

        One way or another, the game development of cortex command has become an Indie Meme in and out of itself. A lot of it was miscommunication with an unwillingness to actually communicate at all in the middle stages.
        Communication problem. Not entitlement problem.

  9. Williz says:

    I remember playing this 6 years ago when I was still in Upper School. Good to hear that it’s finally moving onto 1.0 and getting a steam release! I hope they allow Steam workshop for this game to give easy access to all the user created content as well!

    • Nevard says:

      “Moving on” isn’t really the phrase I’d use, that implies some activity.

  10. MrLebanon says:

    I guess i misses this humble bundle

  11. Dominic White says:

    Cortex Command is just about the most indie game out there. It’s the result of one guy deciding to make a quirky, unique and creative game that he, personally, really wanted to play, and slowly working on it in his spare time over more than a decade.

    Yes, he took money for it, but at no point was anything beyond the build you were buying at the time promised. Anyway, 95% of people who own the game likely got it for pennies in a Humble Bundle, so you really do have no grounds for complaint if you’re among that lot.

    The fact that it’s in the final stages of testing, effectively complete, getting a Steam release and already has hundreds (if not thousands) of mods is testament to just how even non-standard development can work. The grumpy gits holding it up as proof that alphafunding cannot and will not work are missing the point quite spectacularly.

    Oh, and the game will be getting Steam Workshop support after launch, which should make modding it even easier.

    • Gnoupi says:

      It’s not as much the long development time which was an issue.

      I can understand the “indie” side. But the guy managed to build a quite large community, without really building it, just because the game was good… but never really took care of it.

      Development can be slow, sure. But when you leave several months without posting anything about the progress, so much that you almost have to say “no, it’s not dead” each time you post, there is a clear problem. CC has seen a near-dozen of months between different versions, especially with the almost last updates. And almost without a word from the dev about the actual progress, during the period.

    • Flappybat says:

      It’s kind of a leap calling people entitled/grumpy and mark it as a spectacular success when it has been five years since they started taking peoples money to delivering the product with a up to a year between updates.

      I assume by this measure Team Gizka was also a spectacular success in modding.

  12. BathroomCitizen says:

    This game is bloody awesome, and the mods make it 10 times awesomer!

    • PodX140 says:

      What mods? I’ve looked around and I still can’t find any ones worth mentioning. Although the game DESPERATELY needs an online multiplayer option, split screen can only go so far, even ignoring the same room issue, you can simply see the entire enemies movements out of your peripherals!

  13. Jenks says:

    Wow, I can’t believe I own a game that looks this great and I didn’t even realize it.

    I can’t wait to plug in a controller and couch co-op this with the gf.

  14. jonfitt says:

    I don’t know if it’s me being terrible, or the nature of the game, but I found it impossible to get very far at all. I think I’ve never managed to get past the tutorial.

    Imagine flying a panicked octopus ragdoll in a jetpack over original-Worms-style terrain where you will get stuck on one errant pixel which will cause your octopus to collapse in a pile of limbs. Then imagine trying to compete against and enemy team of computer controlled bots.

    In the video he seems to have no problems. I guess that’s what happens after 10 years of practice?

    I will try it another time to see if 1.0 improves matters.

    • Dominic White says:

      When did you last play? Things are a lot easier to handle now. Well, outside of jetpacking. Your ability to jump and fly is dictated almost entirely by the weight of the body you’re controlling. Some are very lightweight and easy to handle, but an assault body with several weapons will barely make it off the ground, and will also get bogged down in mud.

      Things can and will go wrong. That’s half the design of the game – it’s why your brain is usually hidden deep in a concrete bunker, while your front-line fighting units are cheap and expandable.

  15. Shralla says:

    But it’s not even a GAME. It’s just a program you can mess around in and apply mods to.

    • Dominic White says:

      So, we just imagined that 45 minutes of campaign footage, complete with base-building and all, showing the developer getting soundly beaten by his own AI? I mean, clearly there’s no game there. No siree.

  16. Skabooga says:

    First Black Mesa, now Cortex Command? What’s next, Half-Li- *poison dart to the neck*

  17. Slinkyboy says:

    Looks good. Should I buy this? Will this give me happys?

  18. Abbykins says:

    I’m not sure why he calls the campaign mode a “metagame”. A metagame would be a game about playing the game.