So maybe when "fans of the series" are dead, companies will be allowed to be creative (sometimes for good, sometimes for bad) with the licenses that they buy? Otherwise, seems better to leave the old IPs buried face down. New X-Com Enemy Unkown? Cancel it!!! Why? It's not going to be X-Com with better graphics!!! *inserts link to flame war about TUs*
See, I don't see it this way at all. They have access to many piles of good names if they want to do something *inspired by* another game. The problem for us rabid gaming fundamentalists is when they take something that was successful and then do MASSIVE changes to the fundamental identity of the game.
Master of Orion 3: They took a game about strategic micromanagement of an empire and tried to turn it into a macro-management game where you had to have governors do the work, and you just direct the governors. MoO3 is NOT fundamentally a Master of Orion game. It is a space game with the MoO franchise name. Massive Failure.
Fallout 3: Admittedly, this is probably the "best" example of a successful fundamental rework of IP, but those of you who really loved the first three games can't tell me that you weren't just a little disappointed to see that it went real time FPS instead of isometric and turn based. Yeah, there was VATS but that was a sorry nod to the days of yore. Similar writing, similar world, but the underlying system is radically and fundamentally different from the original games. For the record, I enjoy Fallout 3, I just think that it was erroneously named.
X-Com Enforcer: Real Time, mission based Third Person Shooter. "Research" added to make it look like it might be a true X-Com game. Massive Failure.
I know that this is going to come of as incredibly ironic to those of you who read my posts in the FE threads, but one way in which I think that FE is a really good example of how to properly tribute awesome games. Totally different name, many similar features, but enough of a different focus that it's got its own identity (and yes, I would love nothing more than someone to slap city production queues and new graphics/sound onto MoM and sell it to me, but I can gracefully accept that that's not what Elemental is).
Back to original point, if you are going to utilize an IP, you need to either CLEARLY differentiate it as a fundamentally different game or create new on top of the existing fundamentals. Otherwise choose a new name.