Isn't that pretty much the blueprint of every big publisher for AAA games?
Just so you know that I totally understand your point, just think of the famous artist Picaso. He was on the nose. "Good artist copy, great artist steal" and all that. Its all make-believe (selling a game that is bad because its based on something, its ideas directly taken from other famous things) and a great way for a quick buck. Picaso knew that being an artist creating art can be a fruitable business, depending on what people want (and all of which entails from such reasoning).
But I still disagree with you because saying that AAA are just cashcows? 95% of all AAA games are actually fairly unique and even have unique ideas in them (though multitude of DLCs or other predatory shit hampers the experience). Its just that you know the wrong ones. For instance, not every car racing game is a copycat of Gran Turismo and I'd say that for instance Forza Horizons proves this point. Most big simulators are AAA games as well. This still goes hand in hand with what Picaso was saying, its just that many people don't actually know what they want unless you present it to them
. If they want more, people at least have some direction of what to do.
Even Ubisoft with their Assassins Creed game (one of the more famous examples of a bad AAA game, at least from public discourses and shit like that) at least try to reinvent the wheel once in a while. Its not always the same recycled stuff. Its just that most people see AAA and stay the fuck away (I was like that with Doom: Eternal which was a huge mistake because that game is incredible) or Cyberpunk 2077 (too ambigious for a small company like CDPR to handle, needed over 1500+ people working on it for at least 12 years, the game itself doesn't even feel that it is a third complete of what it is supposed to be).
And besides, even a game like No Man Sky is more AAA than Indie (it still is indie obviously, its more about how the company structures resources, including time in order to even release something).
Most AAA games nowadays are available console/mobile games though but anything I wrote still applies to the underlying resoning why I think differently that you. A lot of games have uniqueness attached to them that I've either seen being copied badly or completely botched. No Man Sky has some botched ideas, back in 2020 I've thought the UI was absolutely terrible and taking away from the experience. I'm going to jump into NMS once the devs consider it complete.
However, I also partially with some of your reasonings. For instance most games based on a comic, anime or movie could easily considered a cash in. Its super rare for these games to have a soul attached to them. A similar soul seems to be missing from this game but I'd always like and enjoy being proven wrong, at least that means thatg I learn something from it.