I think Corvus Belli fundamentally misunderstands why people like campaigns.
That’s a sentence that got your attention, and before you go and close the page, let me explain why.
Corvus Belli has done a pretty good job for a smaller company. By most metrics, their campaigns are successful and give players a bit of agency in how they play, in a school sports day sort of way. Its harmless, but I found myself simply not caring much with the news of the Kurage Crisis as they missed a golden opportunity to really give their players a say in the fluff. Even if it is horrifically rigged, they could have done Campaign: Uprising.
Most conflicts that escalate into something larger do not stem from 7 factions independently trying to achieve goals in a single location, but rather from a smaller conflict that is built up. In a setting as grey as Infinity’s, where forces from the same sectoral fight each other in secret, there needs to be a core for the campaign to build around. Without a center, it becomes like Flamestrike or Wotan, where participants are only capturing points for the sake of capturing points, reducing the achievements and events of months of play to a few sentences on the website. Players crave agency, and when given the opportunity, will take things seriously. CB has proven to be ambitious with its game and design, why should their campaigns be any different?
Yu Jing is one of the more interesting factions from a narrative perspective. We are not good, but we are not alien, we are completely honest in our intentions. Most importantly though, we can be humanity’s villain. Nobody is in a better position to be a villain for a campaign than us, and our, lets say, suboptimal relationship with the Japanese is a core part of both of our identities. If CB wanted to do something with this, why not make it the huge event it should be?
PanOceania’s rivalry with Yu Jing (YJ)gives them a choice. Either support the Uprising and diving Yj as they fall into civil war potentially destabilizing the area or support the State Empire, lightly humiliate them as they need assistance stropping the rebellion and put the honorable Imperial Court in their debt
Haqqislam historically has sided against the hyperpowers smaller nations banding together for political clout. Alternatively, an alliance with YJ would give insight to the command structure, some joint operations and intel sharing could easily see a few Hassassin Operatives placed inside the State Command Structure. Open war also means an increased demand for SIlk, and further reinforced convoys to ship it.
Ariadna is a bit of an oddball here, but like Haqqislam, tend to side against the hyperpowers for what they did on Dawn. But, as a smaller nation, they need help fighting off the Combined Forces. Given what CB decided to do with the Merovingians, this would also be a chance for Ariadna players to have a say in fluff. With YJ recalling forces as it descends into civil war, Ariadna would want to end the conflict as soon as possible to guarantee forces on Dawn. The Combined Army have been seen preparing for an invasion and they need all the help they can get.
Nomads have also sided with smaller nations in the past, Corregidor mercenaries could easily be paid for by the State Empire while the Court and State Corporations likely have financial ties to Tunguska. Nomads, more than the other minor powers would also be likely to realize the the fall of Yu Jing would lead to PanO becoming the sole hyperpower in the Human Sphere, and have a reason to back Yu Jing if only to try to keep the balance of power in check for now.
Combined Army would love to see a Divided Hyperpower, and could easily play both sides. Backing the Uprising to get the war going, and publicly working with Yu Jing, breaking their credibility and breeding distrust between humanity.
ALEPH needs Yu Jing stable to keep up the united front against the EL, but Yu Jing also openly commits war crimes, and O-12 may be unhappy to see how prevalent Kuang Shi are in the Imperial Service.
Tohaa’s Triumvirate also has a vested interest in a united Yu Jing as part of the humanity buffer zone between them and the EL. The Diplomatic side, on the other hand, would view the Nipponese as oppressed and come to their aid as the helpful aliens they want to present themselves as.
Mercs would be simple. As some great men once said, “Cash rules everything around me, C.R.E.A.M, get the money, dollar dollar bill, y’all” They’d just give their victory to whichever side they want, shifting allegiances with contracts.
With basic goals and benefits for backing either side of the Uprising, conflicts between factions as they try to subvert each other’s intentions and the lack of a clear, good, solution to the campaign would fit perfectly for the morally grey universe that Infinity’s fluff works to establish, so what would this proposed campaign look like?
Part 0: The Teasing
JSA is one of the most popular armies in Infinity, the weeb appeal is very strong in a game already pushing anime aesthetics. I even started with them myself. The teasing of a new army box is both a great way to push potential customers into taking the leap, a campaign is a perfect way to get players to meet up and get attention and word of mouth going. Hinting at the Japanese uprising is also a major event with actual consequences for the fluff changing. This way we attract the hobbyists, new players, fluff players, competitive players, and the core player base excited.
Part 1: The World is Changing
The seeds of dissent have been sown, and the Nipponese province is but dry tinder waiting for a spark. We must prepare for succession, and keep out of the Emperor’s gaze.
The campaign would open with a focus on objective games, gathering intel and supplies, and importantly, add the JRA, the Japanese Rebellion Army. Essentially a palette swap to allow players to simply play as the rebels. Many factions send out official support of Yu Jing to keep the area stable while sending out their own forces to subvert the Empire.
Part 2: The Sun Rises: Japanese Secession
The Nipponese have called for aid, make sure that the rebellion is crushed before it arrives.
At this point, regardless of how the faction standings are set, Japan declares independence. It may be from desperation for aid or confidence that they will win. YJ retaliates by escalating the conflict and deploying its standing forces to the area. If CB had the Invincible Army ready, now would be a perfect time to reveal it, alongside the JSA starter and other NA2 factions in the fluffless pdf release, leaving the fluff as something to be written later. Cross faction stake are also raised. If Japan secedes, Dawn’s lines will be weakened, Several PanO corporations are found to be backing the the Rebellion, and one of the officials backing the Rebellion is assassinated. The Imperial Service, Loyalist JSA forces, Hassassins, and the Shasvastii all claim responsibility with hints of co-operation between them. The Minor powers are enough of a barrier to be costly for either side. Yu Jing would risk being superseded and look weak enough to embolden others. Japanese forces backing down would mean death, or a the very least, Yu Jing occupation. Missions would start to move away from specialist objectives as the conflict heats up.
Part 3: Independence Day
I will not let everything we fought for go quietly into the night. Nippon will rise with the sun! Hold out until morning at any cost. Make it though and it will be celebrated as our Independence Day!
Combined Army forces are approaching Dawn. Humanity and even Tohaa want to see this resolved as soon as possible to form a joint force and repel the El. After much deliberation. Yu Jing decides it’s able to launch one last strike at the Rebellion to cut off its head and declares war. It diverts its fleet from its course to the battle line and attempts to storm as many Rebellion Strongholds as possible. Yuan Dun is revealed if it was not part of the previous release. Missions are focused on Direct action, crushing or saving the rebellion as the clock ticks ever closer.
Part 4: Closure
The skeleton of the fluff here is pretty straightforward, easy to fill in who sided with who, add a few pages on whether or not the uprising was successful, or in the unlikely event, how it was crushed by Yu Jing and allies. The Rebellion weakend and delayed the joint force sent to Dawn. The Combined Forces arrive early and alone, the MRRF bastions are crippled repelling the first wave. This would either set up the next campaign to be set here, or leave it as is to be recorded in the full book release of Uprising down the line.
I don’t think anything I proposed here is particularly unreasonable. Ambitious to be sure, it takes serious trust in their player base to hand over such a big part of the fluff for the game to the players. I think people will rise to the occasion and take it seriously. There are still people bitter about how the previous campaigns only had points and a paragraph at stake. A lore changing event like this would be a perfect way to show the relationship CB has with its community and the evolving universe of Infinity.