I believe the reason why GSC neglected the production of Cossacks 2 and, after it, abandoned the franchise altogether (so far), has to do a lot with what angel mentioned previously. We must not forget that GSC is a company interested, above everything else, in making money and pleasing its own shareholders. While the initial Cossacks tittles provided a nice foundation for GSC to expand, these still lacked popularity on more mainstream crowds, such as the american market, chiefly due to the game's dated aspect (even for it's time) and for a relatively poor marketing campaign that, as most of you may be aware of, greatly influences the game's amount of initial sales according to its publicity and coverage. The original Cossacks was a word-by-mouth phenomenon, whose success derives a lot more from the quality of the gameplay and the extent of its features than to groundbreaking graphics or overly simplified arcade mechanics, the paragons of every massively sucessful video game franchise in the current state of the industry. Cossacks appealed essentially to a niche crowd of militaria fans and hardcore RTS gamers who were in the disposition for something more deep, and that worked greatly for GSC during the development of the 1st Cossacks series but it started to flop by the development of American Conquest, which although it produced a very positive response from the by then quite solid Cossacks fanbase, it most likely failed its obvious goals of reaching a far wider fanbase in the american consumers.
Another factor that must be taken in account while interperting these events, is that these further expansions of the original C1 engine must have been relatively cheap to produce with the great majority of the costs being overall implied in the production of new artwork assets, which means the core game code only required slight tweaks and modifications leaving the rest of the GSC production crews with enough free time to start the development of more ambitious projects. So the impressive visuals of games like Stalker started to attract a lot more attention than the timid, RTS-fan focused Cossacks franchise, which probably led GSC to consider its objectives thorougly. By then, Cossacks 2 had already been announced, and as far as it was planned objective-wise, it was clearly a project that was more intended to please the Cossacks fanbase than to create a large mainstream game. They took a lot of risks by keeping a more a conservative look, closer to the original Cossacks, while severely upgrading the C1 engine and drastically altering the core gameplay yet making it resemble the original, and in the eventually it simply didn't pay off. They realized the final production costs would be much higher than the amount of sales could support, so they delayed it indefinitively, as you may remember, and after it, release it in a rather incomplete form mianly because the angry fans wouldn't simply take a "no" for an answer.
And that's what Cossacks 2 is. A buggy incomplete game that in the eventuality of its completion would have been a lot different.
Can we hope for a sequel/remake? Perhaps, but if so expect it to be in full 3D. Reviewers criticized C2 almost exclusively for the datedness of its graphics while letting pass more important flaws, simply because that's how the industry works these days, praising graphics over general gameplay quality. It's pure speculation based only on the looks, just like someone who picks a girl on how good-looking she is, rather than how captivating her personality or wits may be.
So quite honestly, the only hope I see for C2 would be the creation of an engine port, using the original game's graphic assets. This would imply a complete reconstruction of all game features while fixing all the conceptual flaws left behind. Being the gameplay more formation-based than its predecessors, Cossacks 2 mechanics react poorly to the classic RTS economy, almost as if begging to a more warfare-oriented style on the likes of Dawn of War, Company of Heroes or Blitzkrieg, IE, zone control games on which resource management is reduced to minimum and troop recruiting is effected via full squads/formations instead of creating every unit individually on a player-built barracks. Otherwise, might aswell stick to C1 player mods like the well known European Warfare mod by Gex.
Ideally the parameters that would adequate to Cossacks 2 would be something like this:
- No peasant units.
- No player-built buildings. All buildings are present on the map and captured.
- Only buildables would be minor battlefield tactical obstacles, like stakes, trenches and so on, all of these handled by sapper teams.
- Map splitted in control zones.
- Each control zone captured earns a certain amount of points to the player
- Player can spend these points on troop squads/formations, that are automatically deployed.
- The objective is to capture all zones or eliminate the enemy player's command center
Gameplay & mechanics (essentially the current C2 mechanics)
- Real time
- Formation based
- Capture & conquer warfare oriented
- No resources other thant the already mentioned "requisition" points.
And this is a very superficial sketch. There are many gameplay features that could be added aswell in order to make troop management a lot easier. Frankly I was hoping c2 would be similar to this from the beginning, but the final result was a far too close from the original Cossacks economy system with a set of poorly translated mechanics. While the village capturing took the emphasis out of manual resource management, the village building system ensured the game remained theorically the same. Obviously this made the game feel disconnected and confusing, adding to the many many engine bugs you're all familiar with.