Netrunner is, and always has been, a cyberpunk game. As such, it is part of a genre with a rich history of engaging with our modern concerns, paranoias, and outright fears. Through cyberpunk work, we can explore the excesses of late-stage capitalism, surveillance technologies, artificial intelligences, corporate control of the media, and even philosophical musings on the nature of humanity itself—just to name a few examples.
We at Null Signal Games deeply value this critical potential. It’s what drew many of us to Netrunner in the first place. We intend to continue using our position as stewards of the game to engage with the incisive, unsettling, and sometimes acerbic core of the genre. Cyberpunk has important things to say.
As Netrunner’s community grows, we want to ensure that Netrunner fans and players have the tools to enjoy the game, including its cyberpunk perspective, at their own pace. Seeming staples of the genre, like body modification, corporate violence, and disinformation, are simultaneously thematically rich and potentially overwhelming to some members of our community.
Beginning with Parhelion’s release, we will be maintaining a new resource to help players engage, on their own terms, with the cyberpunk game we want to make.
Announcing the Content Resource Hub
Today, we’re adding a new section to our website: the Content Resource Hub. This is where our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) team will maintain set-specific content notes, as well as general content notes for the game and its cyberpunk setting as a whole. Set-specific notes will also be added to those sets’ individual product pages. Players with specific concerns can browse these notes for advance notice before encountering cards that might prove unnerving or triggering.
For example, a player with arachnophobia may want to know if there are any ice cards in our products depicting spiders or spider-like entities. They’ll now be able to find an answer in the Content Notes.
In developing this resource, our EDI team was inspired by the crowdsourcing website Does the Dog Die?. This site aims to “provide peace of mind by tracking triggering events in media,” and members of our own team have made use of this in the past. Fans of film, TV, video games, and other media can refer to the DTDD knowledge base to make informed decisions about the content they interact with. We thought a similar service could be of value to the Netrunner community.
Presently, this hub contains the general content notes for the game and setting, and content notes for the Borealis Cycle. In the next few months, we will also add content notes for the Ashes Cycle and System Gateway, and we intend to release content notes alongside each new set moving forward. We would also like to further develop this hub in the future by providing links to reputable organizations or resources that can offer further support for some of the issues we flag.
We recognize not all players will want or need to use these content notes. We hope, however, that by providing the information, those who do can be better equipped to enjoy this game we all love.