This is just speculation. Just my thoughts of what I'd not be surprised to see and maybe actually glad to.
From what I saw in the game itself (damn, it was good!), I would like to see the new world where people adapted to the changing climate and now actually expand and improve their dominance over the new Icy Earth instead of just barely surviving. Where their entire life, from science to entertainment, has changed to the new reality instead of lingering connection to the Old World.
I'd see this as factions that, following years or even decades after the events of FP, began to finally reclaim the planet. In fact, I'd expect them to be based around the very Purposes we have so far, each actually represented by a number of characters (one of the things I don't like about FP1 is that we basically have ONE named, non-randomly generated character that actually appears on-screen and not just in text logs: Effie):
Faith – more like Brotherhood of Nod. Not a cult, but rather a trans-national corporation with elements of the state believing in coming of the After-Age, that it's their sacred duty bestowed by God to survive in the Frostland and, once the Earth becomes warm again, remake it as a new garden of Eden. Possibly blaming the corrupt pre-Frost mankind for bringing the Frost down upon humanity, they could be trying to transform the pre-Frost way of living, developing their own technology that would be "pure", not the legacy of the twisted old world. Their military strength is few in number, but the Faith Keepers of the Voice of God are known to wield powers that other nations could mistake for divine miracles.
Order – the faction of the New London, favoring strict doctrines and semi-military expansion. Submit or die. Law above all. Mankind Must Survive, and for that, every surviving nation must embrace the New Order. Relying on obedience not seen in any normal human being, on fearless soldiers willing to go to any length for the General himself. Volunteers joining them in droves because it's the only faction where crime – the very concept of crime – is unthinkable, as is any kind of selfish, egocentric effort not directed at survival. Iron and Fire, black and red banners flying over more and more cities, with each subsequent one more likely to join without the fight. All will join or perish. The Mankind Must Survive, and any who cling to the selfish, savage, chaotic nature of scavenging will see the error of their ways, and, should they live through it, become part of the Order as well.
Industry – the underground empire, holding pre-Frost ways sacred. Humanity was perfect before, and is a shadow of its former self now, but left the wonders of the old world to keep existing in the dark times. Using the pre-Frost symbols, a multi-nation faction of the remnants of old governments and nobility, the only one who managed to master the storms and lightning itself, developed the new Steam Wonders and makes use of the Automata as they were planned to be: perfect killing machines. Where others see salvage, they see the old glory waiting to be reborn. The Grandmaster's will is adamant: preserve knowledge and multiply the wealth for those who know it's true value.
Science – the only ones who embraced the Frost and try to comprehend it. Instead of fighting it, use it, bend it to their will, evolve humanity into a new lifeform that will change the world as they see fit, and not just adapt to it and pray that nothing worse comes. I'd envision them as the original creators of the Saffron Cloud, who took to the sky and from the very start had a plan B. Rumors are that they are not humans anymore, but a blend of man and machine, artificial and natural, seeking to become one with the new reality… and then twist it even further. Their Overseer alone holds the full vision of the future, and knows that even the harshest winter is just a minor setback, for the grand plan is already in motion.
Labor – descendants of the Refugees, the "normal", simple people, whose main strength is sheer numbers and flexibility. They outbreed, outmaneuver, outrun the other four nations, because for them, no grand scheme exists: they are merely an all-equal, all-free society with no plans of world domination. Composed of all the outcasts, from the builders of IEC to stranded foreign crews, they took to the sea, where not even the New Order could follow, living on ships, forever in motion. As other factions fight, Labor merely reacts, adding everything they encounter to their migrant fleet. It's not until the world, having recovered from the initial blow of the nature, goes to war, that they even decide they need a leader.
All this could give us:
– A larger open world where settlements not only coexist, but are interdependent. They are not allies, but there are many ways to resolve the conflict, force included. Fight or coexist, that's the whole choice.
– Survivors are not just begging for anyone to let them in, you have to lure them to your ways by promising them what they need.
– Many cities of the same faction in one game are connected. They feed each other and supply each other, forming an actual state. Every new region begins with a small expedition from one of the factions, until it evolves into a trade route (or a battlefield).
– Not just survival, but improvement, of both peace and war. It's not nature who is your enemy now, it's the inhabited world where resources are plenty – you just need to know where to look for them – but you are not alone in your quest for them.
– How will you deal with this new world? Will you persuade others that your way is right? Will you show your force? Will you just hold your ground, living and letting live, but punishing anyone who tries to take from you? Or will you focus on a greater mission in which other factions are merely an obstacle that can be bypassed, deceived, outrun – or destroyed?
Or maybe I am just… overreacting from the excitement of the game I liked?
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