I think the worst part of all of this is the way they tried to be more commercial while still despising commercial games.
I see this kind of thinking a lot from artists. They tend to think it's somehow much easier to make mainstream crap than their own work, but to even make mainstream crap, you have to understand the genres and audiences you're trying to appeal to. They never seem to realize that there are a million hacks out there that LOVE mainstream crap that are also trying to make it and failing everyday. If Lars von Trier is upset that he doesn't do as well as Michael Bay, I don't think the answer is for him to adopt the strategies of Michael Bay. I've seen auteurs cross over and make more successful mainstream work, but it's usually backed up by an interest the mainstream genre they're moving into, not a hatred for it.
Even worse, these guys are like "Fuck this, we tried to be commercial and failed!" when (even though it might be more mainstream than their earlier work) Sunset isn't really even that mainstream. If you show it to the average COD or Madden fan, they're not exactly going to get excited. What made them think their first try at a type of game they're not comfortable making would even be a success?
The funny thing about all of this is that I used to wait years to play some games and felt fine about it. It certainly makes me feel less bad about not finishing a game when I only spend $20 on it. Probably the best thing to do is just play the one or two that appeal to me the most and save the rest for some day down the road when there's nothing out I'm interested in.
I'm one of those lousy goons who everyone thought would be a huge writer or do something big and then ended up realizing that I either lack desire to create or any real substance with which to create, with all that added baggage of wondering whether I'm just finding another reason to continue not writing and so on and so on. You know, poser shit. Trying to wrestle with whether I even want to try to make anything has the added downside of leaving that imaginative, angry spark still glowing and cranking out fever dreams. Open-world games give me a set of rules and narrative function that lets me give that garbage form - a pallid, self-obsessed form, but one that sedates me nonetheless.
You sound a lot like me over the last few years. I am an artist and occasionally make comics, but I always struggle with having something to say or wanting my skills to be better before I bother, especially when it comes to writing. The problem is that puts me in a loop where I'm never getting enough practice to get better because I won't risk churning out a bunch of stuff I'm not satisfied with. I read a lot of books on writing and while I've learned a lot about technical stuff from a lot of them, the one that actually got me writing was If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland. If you're into that, I'd also recommend a book called Art & Fear.
My problem with how games intersect with these issues is that they give you an artificial sense of purpose or achievable goals that satisfy you while playing them, but never really make up for the lack of a sense of purpose you're experiencing IRL. I could go on about it at length, but if you're interested in it I'll just point you to Schopenhauer's aesthetic theory which has helped me resolve a lot of my issues with all of that.