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Where the two previous cycles, SanSan and Mumbad, rooted themselves in the meatspace they explore, the Flashpoint Cycle follows the course of a world-changing event. It returns to New Angeles and the city's familiar cast of corps and characters, but this time, everything has changed.
Lead developer Damon Stone explains:
"Thematically, the Flashpoint Cycle is about what happens when the largest city in the solar system suffers a cyber attack of unheralded proportions. Titan Transnational, the Goliath of the New Angeles financial market, suffers a breach of security. For twenty-three seconds, all its sysops are locked out, and all its defenses are down. Simultaneously. For those twenty-three seconds, all its logs are erased. Millions of micro-transactions take place in each fraction of each second, but for twenty-three seconds, no transactions are being logged. No one knows who owns what.
"This creates a powder keg. Then it becomes known that one Titan executive who left the Weyland Consortium just twenty-four hours earlier is now employed by Jinteki. The match has been lit, and conspiracy theories race across the Net. Her death sparks a war in the streets, and it's corp against corp.
"The idea of open warfare between the corps sounds like a runner's dream, but mercenaries and prisecs are not well-known for their discrimination. During the chaos, phrases like "acceptable losses" and "collateral damage" go hand-in-hand. Flashpoint looks at what happens when the corps decide they are a law unto themselves. Runners try to survive against much more hostile measures than are usually employed, even while they try to use the chaos as a means to grab fame, make a quick credit, or expose malfeasance."
What can you expect in an environment in which desperate corps go more aggressive and flex their muscles harder than ever before? In addition to the cycle's Terminal operations, its new trashable ice and operations, you'll find newer, more aggressive identities for each of the core factions. You'll find one card each for the Runner mini-factions introduced in Data and Destiny, and you'll find many of your favorite characters and themes revisited, even as the cycle introduces a wealth of new corporate executives.
Finally, and arguably most importantly, the Flashpoint Cycle introduces operations, events, and other cards that vary in their effectiveness depending upon how many credits either you or your opponent have at hand. In the midst of a crash, it's good to be liquid.
After a dramatic System Outage (23 Seconds, 1), newly hired Jinteki sysop Georgia Emelyov (23 Seconds, 14) finds herself very much at the center of a maelstrom. But was the blackout her fault? Or did it originate elsewhere?
Your clicks and your credits are more vulnerable than ever. What will you do to protect what's yours?