System Delay

Following in this year’s grand tradition of eagerly-anticipated cyberpunk game projects announcing production delays, we are, unfortunately, announcing a production delay on System Gateway and System Update 2021.

We are keenly aware of the community’s excitement for these products, and we take no joy in announcing yet another delay. As our previously-forecast December release date has drawn closer, we have been working furiously and squinting at our calendars, hoping to find a way to squeeze the remaining work into an ever-tightening timeframe. You, the Netrunner community, have shown us incredible patience, and we wanted to avoid straining it again if at all possible. Regrettably, it has become clear that a December 2020 release is just not feasible.

Artwork by Philippe Laroche depicting a graph with trend lines being sucked into a vortex
Artwork by Philippe Laroche

2020 has been, in a word, hellish. The COVID-19 pandemic has been only one of many sources of stress and disruption to the NISEI team, the larger Netrunner community, and the world at large. Several NISEI members, including Creative Director Holly “BreakOneBarrier” Chandler and President Zac Bauermeister, have stepped down recently in order to prioritize their wellbeing. The Web Development and Graphics team leads have also had to reduce their roles. As an organization, our first priority is the health and wellness of our members and collaborators, so we stand by them and fully support them doing what they need to take care of themselves. Understandably, such significant staff changes, combined with the overwhelming stress of the year, have disrupted our production schedule. We have to postpone these sets’ release just a little longer.

Therefore, System Gateway and System Update 2021 are now slated for release in the first quarter of 2021.

The extra time will allow us to complete the remaining work for these sets. Much has already been completed: card designs are finalized for System Gateway, the card list for System Update 2021 is locked in, playtesting has finished, and the majority of art has been created. Templating for both sets is currently underway. And many of our teams, including Creative and Rules, have been putting together learn-to-play resources so that System Gateway is more than simply a pack of cards, but a fully-functional entry point into the game. The extra time will allow us to finish the outstanding work, perform quality control checks, and release these sets with the confidence that we’re putting top-quality products into the world.

Artwork by Galen Dara depicting three figures in cyberspace sprinting toward the viewer
Artwork by Galen Dara

Why have we chosen to fully postpone both sets, rather than releasing System Update 2021 as a card list like we’ve done in the past? System Gateway and System Update 2021 were playtested together under the assumption they would be released simultaneously and System Core 2019 would rotate out alongside. Releasing a list now would require us to either rotate System Core 2019 or create a brief period where both System Core 2019 and System Update 2021 are legal together. Neither of these options is appealing. Rotating the previous core set before the release of System Gateway would leave gaping holes in the Standard cardpool, and a System Update 2021 + System Core 2019 meta was never tested, so we would be wading into uncharted, unplaytested territory, with possibly disastrous effects on game balance. We believe it is best for the health of the game that we release both sets together, as planned and playtested, rather than publishing a System Update 2021 card list early.

But let’s be clear: We know it sucks to see another delay, especially after you have waited so long. The community has been overwhelmingly generous with their patience, and we want to make it up to you. Rather than fully postpone the start of card previews–which we know you’re eager for–we’re planning ways to drip some sneak peeks and teasers out before scoops officially begin, just to whet your appetite. We may not have the full sets ready, but we’re close enough that we can begin pulling the curtain back. Keep your eyes on in the coming weeks.

Creating any set, but especially a cornerstone introductory set, is a significant undertaking, and we want to be certain that we do this right. We don’t take your patience or trust for granted. Thank you for bearing with us as we put the final touches on.

We’re confident that when you get your hands on these sets in the first part of next year, it will have been worth the wait.

Artwork by Zoe Cohen, depicting a spaceship pod coming in to dock at a much larger vessel
Artwork by Zoe Cohen


  • Spencer Dub

    Spencer hangs out on Null Signal's Narrative and Visual teams. He lives in Oregon, USA with his wife, cat, and daughter, only one of whom he's successfully introduced to the game so far.