It's because business and marketing departments actually design games, and not the developers. Sad truth. And what do business and marketing care about? Money (Well we all care about money) To get the most money, you must appeal to that 14 year old male. Tomb Raider stars a beautiful women who kills and adventures and wears tight clothing.
We must make those teenage males feel empowered! Lets make them able to kill and conquer with pressing as few buttons as possible! Cool, now lets do some user testing. Oh no, the people we brought in to user test, who have never played a video game before, can't jump over a ledge. Metrics driven design to the rescue!!!! It seems these numbers go up if we make difficulty go down, oh man, I'm a hot shot producer and designer.
Ok I could go on and on. But yeah, pretty much the story of this generation. Rail shooters, QTE based combat, regenerating health, no game over state, etc. From the outside, I always wondered how such crappy games got made. But, after working (programming) on a crappy game, you see exactly how this happens. Most programmers, artist, designers who work on these games know the flaws and how to fix them. The problem is the producers and marketing teams hold all the power. Even though you may have a MS in computer science and more shipped games, some banker who got hired on his first game as a producer is going to be making most of the decisions. And those decisions will be made for monetary reasons based on numbers and projections provided by the marketing team, not fun/quality/community/making a great product.
I'm sure we have all experienced this. Anyways TL;DR: Make your own games that rock ;)
It's quite understandable that the companies investing their money into you hold the power. I'd also like to point out that the new Lara Croft is holding to the same consensus it always has, being hot. The only difference now is that the graphics level is to a point where you can feel outraged at this supposed 'specification to teenagers'. Are you saying adults are any more mature when it comes to women and their looks?
So let's get to the core of the problem, you hate that the people who are trying to make money, try and make money when designing a game? To me this makes no sense. It should be a given that a company investment will seek to maximise that investment, this includes pandering to a more casual audience that has no interest in playing a demoralising games.
Oh no I'm not saying that, I'm saying I hate when people in charge make short sighted decisions for immediate gains. This happens all too often in the game industry. For example, a F2P company sells amazing items for a discount and everyone buys them and the company makes a lot of money. But then a month later the MAU drops like crazy because the integrity of the game was compromised to make short sighted money. Now 90% of the game's items are worthless and the other 10% aren't worth their return in time investment considering you got these amazing items for doing next to nothing.
So for Tomb Raider it's the same thing. Instead of developing a well crafted game that is difficult, and challenges players; the producers wanted a super easy, appeal to the lowest common denominator, game with simple puzzles, non-challenging combat and tons of QTE events. It was lazy and just development by the numbers. What's selling? COD? Ok we're going to make Tomb Raider ala COD.
The game industry is just short sighted. How many times has DLC been released on a constant stream until players stopped buying it? I mean you can say "Hey, they made lots of easy money off DLC", but in reality they beat the DLC horse dead. Now players are left with a bad taste in their mouth and the franchise/developer lost a lot of fans.