Fictional corporations (corps, companies) are a common worldbuilding element and are especially prevalent within the cyberpunk genre, where they generally act as aggressive and often amoral conglomerations. Corporations may fund expeditions to unknown lands, can oversee the creation of new technologies, or can act as a personal source of cover and income for a wealthy superhero or villain. Creating fictional corporations can give worldbuilders the chance to explore fictional products, fictional economies, or themes of greed and entrepreneurship.
The first thing to consider when designing a fictional corporation is which industry it operates in. Corporations may span several industries and the definitions may be mirky, but in general it may be helpful to consider the following areas:
- Consumer Goods
Specific corporations will further specialize within these categories. For instance:
- Weapons Research
- Spacecraft Manufacturing
- Genetic Biotechnology
- Off-World Mining & Development
- Magic Development
If your world contains fantastic elements, consider if corporations have been established to profit from those unique elements. For example a world in which there is a fantastic material may have a fictional corporation focused on manufacturing or refining that resource.
Including competitor corporations can be a great way to both increase detail in your world, as well as generate new avenues to explore with respect to that relationship.
Consider what logos and slogans are used by your fictional corporation. Placing these on products, as well as on advertisements for this company and whatever goods or services it provides, at scattered locations throughout your world can help a fictional world seem more believable.
Determine the corporation’s organizational structure, including its hierarchy, departments, and leadership. This can help you understand the company’s decision-making processes, internal communication, and overall management style. Friction between departments, or high ranking individuals, can be used by worldbuilders to generate tension. Corporate espionage, back-stabbing, and plotting is a regular occurrence in many narratives that use corporations.