Hehe. I remember this discussion from a year ago. Game is typically over by the end of February on average on Legend, but the Food facilities don’t even pay for themselves until far beyond that point.
I could see the game being improved if these facilities weren’t restricted to Anu research and maybe produced 5x as much food or more. Trading meta game wouldn’t be trading everything for everything, but just trading food for other resources, offering slightly more resources (and a lot more food) and giving more wiggle room throughout the game. Finally my request of “mindless to replace soldiers” would be partially answered, because I’d always have the food to get them (just like I always had the funds to get more soldiers in original Xcom). Wouldn’t make sense in regards to surviving in a starving world really, but… w/e.
So, that all being said… I’d found that this imbalance didn’t really matter when I tried to do a hardcore “devoted to Anu” playthrough one time. I literally trashed most of my technology, ran out with mostly mutated soldiers and relied almost entirely on basic Anu tech and skills. I got all my tech/materials from dismantling everything looted, and putting those resources into these food facilities so I’d always have food available to trade and purchase another soldier (since I’d be sacrificing them left and right in missions). The materials/tech almost didn’t even matter (since my soldiers were disposable), and I was hostile with both Synedrion and New Jericho which limited my available trades since raiding them in this manner wasn’t particularly rewarding. It was a hard and interesting game, didn’t make it to the end though before getting bored at about 2nd week of February or so. Not sure if the use of those Phoenix Shields should’ve been allowed, because they were pretty helpful. But honestly, about 99% of the work was done by Speed, +dmg talents, and a melee weapon + frenzy.
Consider that Anu Tech costs are pretty low, and almost everything can be replaced by Mutagen which is harvested from Aliens (so you can’t harvest food from them). I began to wonder if this was the intent?