Please let this fascinating article on how designers fail to see how weak their AAA games are distract you from the fact that I still haven't answered those requests for a longer forum post in weeks now.
Thanks to GAF for the article.
And now you look for excuses. Stop it. This conversation is not about misdirected marketing campaigns, bad economy or the rise of mobile. We are talking about you. About how well you understand your craft.
Let’s try something here. Think of that AAA game you are making right now.
And would the game still be fun if people played it in god mode? If yes, then why don’t you allow for such mode to be one of the difficulty options? Is it to make the game better or is it to hide the fact it’s not very long, really?
Would people love your game even if the visuals sucked? Catch 22 is an excellent book even in Comic Sans, and Unforgiven is a fantastic movie even on a small black and white TV in a cheap roadside motel. How about your game? Are your fancy graphics an extra layer, or a crutch?
It's an interesting read when coupled with Polygon's article on the fall of Homefront devs Kaos.