Well... just my two cents, but if IC did something NEW, like they did here in Sins, mixing RTS and 4X then we might expect something along the lines of...
It would be cool to have cutscenes of your crew rushing about the ship preparing for battle, or running as a bulkhead blows in!
A sandbox, with battle cutscenes doesnt have to be a campaign, and could keep the game open ended. One of the things i have come to really like about Sins, is no matter how often i play, when i come back its a new game, new setup, new buildup...etc...
Keeps it interesting instead of reaching the end of the campaign and ending there.
Longer game life it seems to me.
Just my opinion,