It's been a long while since I played SR2, but IIRC, the timing basically just put pressure on you to keep pushing forward to the end game. A "living galaxy" doesn't have to be a countdown timer to some end point
I don't recall anything where you lost due to time passage; if the war vs the dominators was going poorly then yea, time was of the essence, but as long as the coalition didn't flat out lose it was fine (I never saw if they could fully lose).
Inflation was pretty killer if too much time passed, though
Kinda ironic that inflation was in some ways more of a threat to me than the antagonists...
So in between the triggers, the dynamic factions give the galaxy a living feel, but the players would be free to spend as much time as they want, doing what they want, bewteen trigger missions.
That has its place (for instance, things going off the rails once you take out one of the end-bosses), but isn't really what I'm looking for as a common way of gating things. To a significant extent I like the idea that important things could happen without the player. Like I said, commercialization could be problematic
And as far as a next game for Arcen somewhere down the line, I'd still love to see Arcen's take on the Tower Defnse genre. I was pretty disappointed when you guys announced you weren't going to do that. There's very few good ones, so I think there's still a market for them out there.
Yea, this is just one of the things I'm thinkering on, not at all an Arcen project
As for TD... Tidalis was kind of a burn on anything at-all-confusable-with-casual, you know? AIW is likely to be as close as we really get to TD for at least a few years. Personally I also wish I'd seen the "Tower Defense Tactical JRPG" idea of AVWW seen to fruition, as that's far more up my alley than anything that gets shot from the side, but can't do everything