I suspect this discussion is heavily aimed at the hexcrawl type of game--which is certainly still a thing, how much of one I couldn't even guess.My impression was that a common game mode, after tomb raiding/dungeon looting, was knight errant/wuxia. You wander around until someone asks you to solve a problem for them. Freelance bandit/monster hunters. Hard to see that as 'colonialist' in itself.
And a pretty heavy failure-state.Special forces behind enemy lines would be a great way of justifying a lot of standard tropes: high risk of encounters, which you often seek out rather than avoiding; wandering monster (patrol) rolls, killing Imperials and taking their stuff, while also having social encounters with civilians or corrupt/sympathetic Imperials. It does have a high baseline of intensity, though.