This game as it is has a great potential to become something similar to Pirates: a player may choose either to develop as a trader or warrior or be a mix of those 2 things. The setting is new. There is a look and feel of Patrician, yet there is an RPG system that looks really cool. Another game that comes to mind is Jagged Aliance 2: it would have also benefited a lot if there is a better developed economy system. But merc structure is very similar, perks, weapon upgrades etc. The thing that needs to be done is adding a possibility of building sites in villages, maybe even building and training militia, maybe run for a mayor office, maybe forming a new trade house and possibly “buying” nobility with the help of misalliance. I am sure there is more to be added to this idea if you guys are going to try digging deeper in the subject. The issue with “running several companies at the same time” can be either addressed in the same way as Jugged Alliance did it, or you can just have other parties (except main) run automatically on assigned missions, like patrols or your caravan escorts.
Adding it as DLC would be perfect because:
1. This is a huge amount of content and there is no reason not to get payed for it
2. It would be separated from the main game, so people who enjoy just running a merc company can keep doing so.
3. There will be more depth in the game and more point of continuing playing after reaching max level.