Quoting Suomi Sotilashenkilo,
The biggest problems with games that have both tactical and strategic modes are:
1.) Resources need to be allocated to fund two major projects rather than one. Right now, this game is having trouble keeping up with the projects that they're currently working on and they're talking about people switching projects (since apparently spending over a year working on one thing gets dull). Even worse, the AI is having trouble playing the game as it is right now; coding the AI to play a tactical minigame as well will take up a lot of time that should be spent fixing and improving its current state.
2.) A tactical game mode is not something that you can simply add to a strategy game because it significantly-changes the way combat works and therefore the strategy you have to use to fight battles (for instance in Empire at War I would never autoresolve a land defense battle because I can do a ton better than the AI, but I don't really like land battles in that game...). The tactical game mode has to be balanced sufficiently that players aren't feeling pushed to fight every tactical battle.
I'd rather see them flesh out the strategic stuff than add tactical elements since the game is about strategy more than tactics (whereas the whole total war series is about tactics then strategy; the strategic depth is all designed to make tactical battles unique rather than perfectly-balanced random battles like they end up online or in single-player skirmish).
Haven't even finished the first project to be honest. I wish Stardock would design a product on the far end of the production possibility curve instead of the other way around. But to hear Brad say it they are fanatically happy to tell the tale of great sales exceeding all expectations and costs recovered and live to fight another day. Yes good for business but not exactly an industry shattering experience or leap forward. What exists needs work and what is missing leaves plenty to be desired.
The whole idea that tactical combat wouldn't be do-able is another cop out, it would be both beneficial by on several levels do-able, and make up for some of the flaws that exist. Do-able because MOO did it in every iteration, fun because tactics go best hand in hand with strategy, deepening the game because while they made it bigger they did not make it better. Starfleet command did it way better than MOO as far as tactical but even MOOs simple combat would be better than nothing. Hell even being able to direct your ships to which targets and still be mostly watching would be less of a snore-fest the battles are. It just isn't satisfying building up a huge empire and only really being able to use the stats from combat for substance.
Yes it would cost more, to build but there are plenty of gamers on the fence about it and while Stardock has a good patching record their release record is not as solid.
I am in complete agreement though that they should flesh out the strategic stuff, and UI, and AI, and well just about everything, turn times, CPU utilization, features which were in previous incarnations that are not in GC3.
I feel that GC3 deserves none of the 9/10s or even 8/10s it got and all of the 5s 6s and 7s players have given it. It is worth the purchase in a year when it is discounted but full price for a game missing a bunch of features and with pretty poor AI and strategic depth where it is at is ludacris.
One thing that I was reading about the other day on another company is that they want every release to be "noteworthy" and that they don't want to sequel to death or DLC everybody to death but that they want large polished, refined, and filled out products that are noteworthy which compliment their brands. I just get the sense that the whole lets make GC3 noteworthy box wasn't checked and the lets develop it to exactly the line where everybody else is at and expand it +/- 1mm.
To be fair I do find the ability to put in 100+ races to be noteworthy, in the middle of a crap ton of bad AI, and other implementations which aren't fleshed out or filled in it feels like a hollow accomplishment.