As one system is saved, another ends
I love the world of Android. My second Blatherings episode was even how I loved the game but just couldn’t play it anymore.
Android: Netrunner ended for me at ‘Rotation’ – when the original cycles of cards were being dropped from competitive play. The timing just seemed right to me – I wasn’t playing it as much as I wanted, and the complexity made it a chore to teach new players.
This was just a time for me to put down the cards, and enjoy watching and occasionally helping a community enjoy a game I once played with a passion.
But I love the game, and I am happily keeping all the cards I have collected to date. As I said in the Blatherings, if any of the people I used to play wanted a game I would be up for it.
But in an announcement from Fantasy Flight, come late October this will be the only way to play. No new packs will be printed or any Android: Netrunner products will be sold by Fantasy Flight, and organised play will no longer be supported.
This is sad news indeed. According to the announcement, it’s a simple case of Wizards of the Coast and Fantasy Flight not renewing the licensing agreement that allowed Fantasy Flight to create and publish Android: Netrunner.
Well, I say simple. Anything in business situations like this are never that straightforward. But the impact on the community is clear – no more official support.
But whereas Warhammer Quest was recently saved with the revamp to Heroes of Terrinoth, I just can’t see Fantasy Flight doing something similar with Android: Netrunner. The world of Netrunner is deep in lore, and this lore is built from the factions in the game. Warhammer Quest just needed ‘generic fantasy’ to use the mechanics with, Android: Netrunner I can only see as the game it is.
Unfortunately, Netrunner players have been in this situation before. Richard Garfield and Wizards of the Coast first released Netrunner in 1996 and began catching on well.
And then – it stopped. Wizard basically decided to stop. Sound familiar? The reasons are probably wildly different, but the effect is the same.
The community really pulled together even back then, and players were still playing the original Netrunner up to 2012 when the revised game was released by Fantasy Flight.
I have no doubt that the community will pull together the same way with the revised game. It is already a very strong community, and the news of the effective cancellation will only ensure they rally even more. Given enough players, I might even be able to continue semi-regular casual tournaments with a games group or two.
Truth be told, this news has me thinking of getting the revised core set and the last 2 cycles, just to let me jump into any game with the groups that will probably keep playing.
From the sounds of it, this won’t be the end of the Android games from Fantasy Flight as a whole. I really enjoy Android; Mainframe, Infiltration is still a great game even solo, and one day I will finally get to play New Angeles.
But come October 22nd, I will definitely feel sad when the servers are taken down on the second life of Netrunner.
See the official announcement here, including thoughts from lead designer Micheal Boggs and the head of studio Andrew Navaro. It’s worth reading just for this alone.
Until then, I am secretly hoping that Reina can pull something out of her hat 🙂
Until next time,