Since the recession there was definately some scare mongering in the media like oh no we should do some sequels and cash ins and lay off the original concept games.
One of the most frustrating examples is lord of the rings, so far it has had tons of linear games based just on the battles of the films which is really sad as as far as the novels go they are crammed with years worth of lore and story opportunities.
I look at how EA dropped lord of the rings white council seen here
which was billed as a mostly open world middle earth rpg based before the events of the war of the ring using your own character. It was an exciting concept which was dropped in favour of yet another linear cliched new fellowship war in the north game.
I dont think developers are thinking outside the box enough, I mean when you look at the recent x-men game it would have been ten times more appealing if you could have created your own x-man/woman with more of a open world feel to it (i.e west chester new york where the x-men academy is based that way it could be partially based inside xaviers school). Point being it was another missed opportunity.
The lord of the rings novels including the hobbit and the silmarillion and the unfinished tails have more characters and lore that makes the elderscrolls look like a kids story. With Dragon's Dogma coming out in a month or two, theres definately enough room for some competition for the usual suspects of action adventure rpg's.
A truly original lord of the rings story that isnt anything to do with what happens in the fellowship of the rings or the hobbit would be a breath of fresh air and something we could all lose ourselves in for hours on end without the need for an internet connection.
The lord of the rings franchise is one on par with the star wars franchise for cash ins but is there a serious game here that would rival some of star wars greatest games.
One rpg to rule them all and in the darkness destroy them.