Alright, I know this has been a question in the fandom's mind for a long while now, and I've analyzed all the clues. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind…
The Frostlands have no real-life location. I'm sorry, and I sound like a party pooper, but there's still lore to be had, don't you worry!
By now, everybody's seen the sign from the New London campaign mentioning the distance from London. 1934 miles, which puts us in Svalbard… or the middle of Greenland… or the northern Russian coast… or a hundred miles away from the only coastal forest in Greenland.
But consider the other clues: an "Arctic" location, chosen for its large coal deposits, existing forests, geothermal energy for keeping glaciers away in a roughly circular pattern. It all fits THIS location
An imaginary landmass off the coast of Canada. Probably based off Newfoundland.
You might call this "a waste of time" or maybe even "what are you even talking about", but it's the only location that fits every clue given.
- British-owned. Newfoundland by the this point was a Crown colony.
- Forested. Presumably right on the edge of the arctic circle, like Newfoundland.
- Mineral Rich. Again, presumed, but this was the era that Canadian provincial mining really got started. It's possible for colonies to have untapped mineral wealth right up to the 2nd industrial revolution (Frostpunk's tech period, ignoring the Babbage-tech and steamcores)
- American access. We have to assume something in the timeline prevented Tesla (a New York/New Jersey resident) from joining other New York elites in the obvious American choice: Appalachia. Maybe the civil war turned out differently in this timeline. Whatever the case, the Americans next closest high-coal region would be either Pennsylvania or this imaginary island.
- French access. French colonizers are also on the island trying their own thing. What exactly is it? References to Snowpiercer, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Charles Darwin appear. My money's on ultra-deep underground colony only reached by rail. But their presence implies the island's territorial status is a bit disputed, similar to Quebec and Montreal's eternal rebellion against the British Crown.
- The Viking Connection. In multiple parts of Norse Mythology, wolves eating suns keep cropping up. One of the loading screen quotes mentions that Norse mythology is coming back in a big way, and is probably the source of the vague "Faith" that powers your Theocracy cities. Newfoundland was the site of the ancient Norse colony "Vinland". If the game starts to surprise us with more dark Norse connections, it would make more sense in this pseudo-Canada than on Greenland, where Norse colonies barely existed.
- The name. Frostlands is used pretty frequently on the map screen, and I am inclined to believe that the mysterious Newfoundland-based island I'm ranting about is literally named "Frostland", in keeping with other Viking colony names "Greenland" and "Iceland". "Frostlands" plural may even refer to a chain of islands, now joined by ice.
So what does this reveal? Nothing. The devs could throw anything at us and we'd have to accept it as fact. We can't ever rant about how "That doesn't match the real world" if the Frostlands were never part of the real world to begin with.
The one thing that does excite me, though, is the much higher probability now that all the generators are on the same island or group of islands. If there was ever a sequel, we could focus on how the colonies all start to connect to each other.
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