AAA games have also gotten significantly longer.
Where do I find the time to play >30 hour games like Far Cry 5, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War and Shadow of the Tomb Raider? Let alone all the lovely indie games that came out this year. That's enough to keep me busy for an entire year.
Is free roam about to run it's course? What made games interesting to me is the stories behind them. I played Fallout 3 and New Vegas which were my introduction to open world game play. They certainly fun and I enjoyed the freedom. After a while though, it became monotonous. I was just collecting stuff. When I played The Last of Us, I was gripped and into the story and had to follow and investigate to what happened next. Resident Evil also had a good story to pull you in. We need new stories, new gameplay.
As they say. To each their own. I find life itself to be a multiplayer battle royal. Games and stories are my escape.The tough thing is we all want something different. My favorite games of all time are almost entirely devoid of story telling. I haven't spent thousands of hours playing XCOM2, Diablo, Battlefield (BC2, BF3/BF4), Ori and the Blind Forest, Frost Punk, Shadow of War, GTA5, etc for the story. Even games like Dragon Age Inquisition, I loved it for the cool party command mechanics and multiplayer, not for the story.
To be fair, I have never in my life loved a game for the story and I'm 37 years old. I want a title that will swallow 800+ hours of time based solely on quality game play. That is a tough thing to find in the era of battle royale.
If you sent modern AAA publishers who treat any new idea on par with Leprosy and the Bubonic Plague
Not entirely true. A successful game will likely make sequels. But it doesn't become successful because it is a sequel. The elements that make a game successful and in return a sequel are what is needed. And the elements are creativity of some form.The most successful games are sequels.