David Crane co-founded Atari. Not the crummy Atari of today, the real, proper, industry giant Atari. Dude also made Pitfall, so the least we can do is lend an ear when he's got something to say.
Yes, today's video game business has become very derivative.
Reason? There's two, he says, one being that naturally there's only a limited number of stories that can be told. The other, though, is the size of development teams. Big teams and big money mean no big risks, so we get the same old crap over and over and over again. Pretty bleak worldview there, David. And a familiar one, one we've been hearing for, oh, about ten years now. It's not all that bad. Is it? Activision Co-Founder on Today's 'Derivative' Video Games [GameDaily]