I think you under-estimate the state of the AAA games industry right now, and the amount of time and the cost to develop a game. It’s nothing like how games were made in the 1990s or even early-mid 00s where a relatively small team of say 30-40 people could put together an AAA game within a 2-year release cycle. The development teams needed nowadays have become massive and development times overall have expanded massively. Even creating and animating a single character model can take hundreds of hours.
I’m aware some developers have been able to sustain fast-turn around on new franchises - like Unisoft with Assassin’s Creed, managed (at least for a while) to sustain a tight release schedule of 1-2 yearly releases (as well as other Ubisoft IPs like the Tom Clancy series), but Ubisoft is massive and have something like 100x the personnel over multiple teams across the globe comapred to TC, so they have the luxury of being able to draw more resources from other teams, and/or overlap development for games. TC may be able to draw on some additional resources now they’re part of the MS Game Studios family from other studios within, but this would need to be balanced widely across the board because MS will want other games to stay on track too.
Even for old GOW4 character skins to be ported over require a bit of extra work and isn’t a totally straightforward copy and paste job.
I know it sounds like I’m defending TC, but this is the case for the AAA industry as a whole. It’s not simply about will unfortunately.
Jobs are being shedded across the entire games industry, especially in the AAA sector because it’s become so bloated and cannot sustain itself given the current economic climate. You might have heard that recently it was announced that TC were abandoning their work on a new IP (which was believed to be originally to be developed and released before GOW6). This may mean we get GOW6 a bit sooner than previously intended, but as I said, development for AAA games is so complex and time consuming nowadays that we’re probably still talking 18 months or more away (this is my educated guess, not based on anything TC or MS have said).
Also just to add, a couple of your ideas, while they are good for the player, would not be financially viable for TC or MS. For example making the multiplayer portion of the game free-to-play is all very well, but TC/MS will need to generate revenue alternatively to sustain it, so this would mean even more pricy and aggressive microtransactions. The sad truth is, we can’t have it all. It definitely highlights some of the age-old problems with capitalism and the financial demands/expectations of shareholders etc etc, but it is what it is.
Just to add, with doing live research/data gathering and feedback from players using GOW5, I expect it’s not as simple as you make out. I mean, they can gather the data, but interpreting it and coming to a decision on what to implement…? I expect there aren’t just say, 2 or 3 distinct groups of PVP players who support this set of tuning or that set. There are probably dozens of preferences across the playerbase and interpreting the data would be a crazy task. I think TC need to accept that they’ve opened Pandora’s Box with GOW4’s two tunings, and also through all the fiddling around with tunings over the years, they’re now in a position where they can’t please everyone. I’d even go as far to say that they wouldn’t be able to please the majority because preferences are spread so widely across so many different tunings.