A Change

Update: We’ve heard your feedback, and realize that the timing of this announcement caused a great deal of hurt and stress among the community. We apologize unreservedly! Please read this article to find out how we plan to make it right.

When your printed copy of Midnight Sun arrives, you might notice something different as you’re shuffling through your new cards. We’ve removed something from the card backs, and it heralds a larger change for our organization.

Corp and Runner card backs lacking the "NISEI" text

We’re changing our name and leaving “Project NISEI” behind.

What’s in a Name?

As we approach the fourth anniversary of our inaugural board’s selection, we’ve been having a lot of internal discussions about the future of our organisation. While we can’t announce specifics yet, suffice it to say we have big plans. Yet as we planned and dreamed , we kept running into the issue of our name. As our community has pointed out to us, the name we chose for ourselves—”NISEI”—has a specific meaning that does not quite match who we are as an organisation.

The term nisei (二世), which means “second generation” in Japanese, is often used specifically to refer to second-generation immigrants, such as Japanese-Americans or Japanese-Brazilians. Nisei is an identity and one that is not free of persecution. Many nisei were forcibly removed to internment camps during the Second World War, under Executive Order 9066, and forced to leave behind property and belongings that were lost during their internment. This act also encouraged other nations, in North and South America, to extradite their own citizens of Japanese descent, many who had never been to Japan or spoke Japanese, to the US as a solution to their own racial discrimination problems. As an organisation, we find this mistreatment abhorrent.

At the end of the day, although this name has served us well for nearly four years, we no longer want an appropriated term to be the face of our organisation. We’re therefore retiring “Project NISEI”.

We’re currently in the process of deciding on our replacement name and will announce it as soon as we can. Once the new name is decided on, we’ll be changing the website and all of our social media to reflect our new identity.

Remastering the Classics

Unfortunately for this plan, our current card backs have a big “NISEI” on them.

Obviously, this has to be changed too. In fact, it already has been! As mentioned, when you receive your printed copy of Midnight Sun, you’ll notice we’ve removed the name NISEI from the back of our cards. The slick infinity/N/double-helix logo remains and now represents Netrunner.

We’re aware, however, that this means another change that makes newer cards inconsistent with older ones. Since our very first set, Downfall, we’ve changed the card backs, added terminology like interface, breach, and core damage, changed the color of the agenda points symbol, reworked Runner identity frames, and so much more. We know members of the community have long wanted us to issue a “remastered edition” of our earlier products that addressed these issues.

Now’s the time. We’re going to do exactly that.

Our teams are going to begin work on a remaster of our four previous sets, Downfall, Uprising, System Gateway, and System Update 2021 to incorporate these significant changes. We will additionally consider the Magnum Opus Reprint, and will at least replace the card back for that set as well.

This will not be a quick project, though. We need to determine the scope of our desired changes, reword every card we identify as needing attention, have them translated, and then lay them out anew—because our production and layout process has changed since our early days.

Since there are no playable cards in System Gateway or System Update 2021 significantly affected by our wording and templating changes, we expect the changes for those sets to be minor: we will update their card backs and replace the wording and iconography on the “Brain Damage” tracker card in System Update 2021. Downfall and Uprising, however, will both benefit from a refresh, and this will take some time.

If you don’t care about the card backs, but want the faces of your Ashes Cycle cards to be up-to-date, we will be releasing a Remastered Pack containing just the cards with the most significant rules or templating changes, alongside the new “Core Damage” tracker.

We do not have an estimated release date yet. When we have a rough idea, we’ll put it in a future production article. Normally, we aren’t keen on announcing products before we have an estimated release date, but given the magnitude of this change, we were eager to get the word out as soon as possible.

We’re excited to finally meet this popular community request.

Questions You Might Have

Nisei is a cultural identity with a complicated history. We now know taking it as our own name was a form of appropriation. As we plan our next steps, we want a name that will better represent our community and can better suit us in our future marketing and diversity plans.

We don’t speak of the backronym. But seriously, a jokey acronym doesn’t change the cultural appropriation in the name.

No.

Call us by how we’re presenting publicly—you don’t need to rebrand us before we do. “Project NISEI” is slated to be retired, but it’s not a dead name just yet.

Once we have the new name lined up, we’ll purchase the domain name immediately. Rebranding of the site and our social media pages will depend on how long it takes us to get all the assets ready.

It’s still called Netrunner.

This is unlikely. We are renaming because, first and foremost, we are uncomfortable continuing to refer to ourselves with another cultural group’s identity. “Nisei” is not a bad word, never to be spoken; it is an identity we as an organisation cannot claim.

Yes. You can safely ignore the remaster completely if you aren’t bothered by the template changes or updated card backs. Opaque sleeves are still required for competitive play.

For the Remastered Pack (containing only the cards that have changed), this depends on how many cards need template changes. The full Remastered Editions will cost the same as the current versions.

We will be remastering these products:

The extent of the remasters for each of the above sets is yet to be determined, but will at very least include replacing the card backs.

It’s relatively well known.

We are investigating the changes that need to be made and do not expect it to be ready before 2023.

We don’t expect to need to.

Between restructuring the organization, fixing our product pipeline, and releasing Midnight Sun, we have been in full working mode. Now we have completed the release, we will be able to focus on the remaster.

We get it, we’ve changed a lot in our first four years, and we hope that this remaster project will make up for that inconsistency. Our team thinks now that we’ve made most of the big structural changes that will allow us to settle into a relatively consistent position.

But that’s not a guarantee! Change and growth is par for the course among printed card games.

We have a really cool automatic templating tool that takes data from a spreadsheet and uses that to magic the cards into place.

We’re excited for the future of our organisation and eager to bring our back catalog up to speed, once and for all. Thank you for growing with us.

Author

  • Serenity is the VP of Engagement for NISEI, and wishes it was her full time job. Known by some as "Netrunner's Cool Goth Mom", she's a DJ in her spare-spare time and streams under the psuedonym SwearyPrincess!