Frostpunk

The symbolism between Worker and Engineer law paths

frostpunk 4 - The symbolism between Worker and Engineer law paths
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Has anyone looked at the symbolism behind the Labor and Engineer paths? It's interesting how many buildings and laws are precursors to laws in the main game.

For instance, both paths are the equivalent to 'Order'. If you look at their endgame, the result is the same – your project ends up becoming an authoritarian regime. But the individual paths they take are distinct.

Workers start out as a labor movement (union) , escalating to a socialist system (workers council) to full blown communism. The progression seems VERY similar to the Soviet revolution of the early twentieth century; workers overthrowing their company masters to reclaim the world for themselves, but going way too hog wild with it what with the executions and purges. In fact one of the pictures, I think for inspiring speech, looks EXACTLY LIKE this famous photo of Lenin giving a speech! When your see some of the problems faced with other cities later on, it's plausible that irate Captains inadvertently purged off the few people knowledgeable enough to actually maintain the generator.

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Engineer path is just as sinister. It starts with a focus on safety in mind. The Engineers feel like they are the only ones who really know the dangers and challenges in the road ahead. They feel indispensable and a major priority in the new world. But this quickly descends into a class struggle as they seek to put their station above everyone else's, throwing their weight around at every opportunity. Strikes are met with violence, and eventually prison labor replaces workers. In the end, site 113 is little more than a concentration camp. This seems much more in line with a descent into fascism. It uses an existential threat (the ice age) to justify extreme measures and pits groups with little agency (workers, prisoners) as scapegoats for all the problems. The imagery is super similar to Order uniforms; jet black with red trim, and if you look at the little lapel pins the engineers have it looks similar to the New Order's logo. It's also no coincidence the engineer pins suggest they are some alternative universe freemasons.

I find it really interesting. You note there's very little carryover to 'faith' here, just a chapel and some Doomsday whacko event near the end of the mission. I'm pretty sure all that happened much later than Order getting founded. Their new religion seemed to happen much more organically (though it would be cool to have a TLA type campaign that has its origins). Angel wings and elevating the captain as a messianic figure suggest people anticipating a kind of salvation in the future, compared to New Order reinforcing a status quo through propiganda, intimidation, and power.

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