I would say modern day AAA games do suffer from same issues as modern day Blockbuster movies.
A blockbuster is a work of entertainment—typically used to describe a feature film, but also other media—that is highly popular and financially successful. The term has also come to refer to any large-budget production intended for “blockbuster” status, aimed at mass markets with associated merchandising, sometimes on a scale that meant the financial fortunes of a film studio or a distributor could depend on it.
This video here does pretty well explain the big picture of the issue we see.
High budget games for mass market tend to be generic. Just because you can play the game, does not mean you have fun doing so. As it comes to successful games, they are not created by making them “accessible”, those dull and boring. But by be the genre definition.
Take as example RTS vs RPGs, what game is today the genre definition? Sure for old days you can say Starcraft and Diablo, for modern day RPG you can say Skyrim or Witcher 3, but for RTS such counterpart doesn’t exist. There were a lot RTS games for big AAA and AA budget, but non of them can be called genre definition.
And its clear, if a game is already by merits of own genre a flaw,
why should people from other genres show interest to try it out?
That’s why something like Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed draw so large numbers,
because they are genre definition games.
As it comes to AoE4, the big question is, what does the Publisher want to achieve?
Do they want to be like Disney with The Lone Ranger, John Carter, Star Wars Rise of Skywalker?
We have seen by each team entire make RTS “accessible” does backfire, as it makes game boring.
If we want a successful RTS, AoE4 has to become the genre definition.
If people ask what is RTS, the answer should not be look for something made over 20 years ago.
So how can we achieve to make AoE4 the genre definition for RTS games? It’s clearly has to appeal to people who play RTS games and most importantly the pace has to keep peoples attention to the entire game.