Wizards of the Coast Could Be Reviving Netrunner

A classic collectible card game created by the maker of Magic: The Gathering could be coming back soon. Earlier this summer, Wizards of the Coast filed a new trademark filing for Netrunner, a collectible card game originally created by Richard Garfield. The trademark filing suggests that Wizards of the Coast is looking to turn Netrunner into some sort of mobile game, as the filing is for "the categories of downloadable electronic games to be used in connection with computers, console gaming devices, and wireless devices." Wizards of the Coast recently opened several digital studios, so this trademark could be tied to the company's aggressive digital plans.

Netrunner was created as a spinoff of the Cyberpunk 2020 RPG and focused on a battle between a lone hacker (the Runner) and a mega-corporation (the Corp). The card game was unique in that the game was asymetric - the Corp card sides used totally different cards than the Runner, and each side had different objectives to complete in order to win.

Wizards of the Coast published Netrunner products from 1996 to 1999. Fantasy Flight Games licensed Netrunner in 2012 for its Android: Netrunner living card game, which it published from 2012 to 2018. Since then, Netrunner has lived on through fan-made cards and continued online play. Both the original Netrunner game and Android: Netrunner received widespread praise, leading to the game cultivating a dedicated fanbase and continued play even though it's been 3 years since a Netrunner release came out. It's noted that while Netrunner originally took place in the Cyberpunk 2020 universe, Wizards of the Coast retained the rights and trademark to Netrunner, while R. Talsorian Games maintained rights to the Cyberpunk RPG, which eventually led to the recent video game adaptation Cyberpunk 2077.

It is also noted that Wizards of the Coast recently announced a new cyberpunk-themed Magic: The Gathering set called "Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty." While Kamigawa (and Magic: The Gathering as a whole) has no ties to Netrunner, the timing of the June filing and the August announcement does seem a little unusual.

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Trademark filings aren't that unusual, but it is noted that Wizards of the Coast had to file it in "good faith," meaning they can't just file the trademark to prevent someone else from using it. We'll hopefully see what Wizards has in store soon.