Netrunner, the discontinued cyberpunk card game that pits hackers against corporate defenses, may be coming back to life. Wizards of the Coast, the division of Hasbro that makes Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons, filed a new trademark application in June 2021, as discovered by a watchdog and reported recently on Twitter and Reddit.
Netrunner was originally designed as a Collectible Card Game by Richard Garfield, who also created Magic: The Gathering. Wizards of the Coast published the Netrunner CCG from 1996 until discontinuing about a decade ago.
Then Wizards of the Coast licensed Netrunner to Fantasy Flight Games, who produced the Living Card Game called Android: Netrunner, joining Netrunner to their existing Android board game universe. (Living Card Games are similar to Collectible Card Games but without the random booster packs of cards.)
But in 2018, Wizards canceled Fantasy Flight’s license, and the Android: Netrunner LCG published its last expansion in 2019. The game was believed to be dead, but now Wizards has filed a new trademark for the game.
The trademark filing by Wizards “is intended to cover the category of downloadable electronic games” and suggests that Wizards has plans to create a digital product in the Netrunner universe, perhaps using paper cards as well. Longtime Netrunner LCG players expressed concern on Reddit that Wizards would return the game to the CCG model, where players must continue to buy random booster packs to hunt for the latest cards.
It remains to be seen what Wizards of the Coast does with Netrunner and whether they revive the old CCG or develop a new game. But the trademark filing suggests that Wizards is putting some money and effort behind the franchise, now that they’ve taken the license away from Fantasy Flight.