I agree that this convention is tiresome, but you have to be careful with radical ideas like this.
The evolution towards removing the NPC is definitely a result of the 'lazy gamer' who is used to the convention and just wants it to happen quicker with less thinking involved.
It's risky to add cerebral elements to mainstream-types of games, you know, parts where you have to think and be creative. I think it's risk because most players just want to shut their brain OFF when they play games. Thinking is a BAD THING to most people. We as indy developers are enticed by cerebral experiences, but mainstream gamers really aren't. The mainstream wants easy gratification, and addiction badges that prove they have less of a life than everyone else and are therefore somehow better people.
I agree it would be a great idea, but my instinct tells me that anything I think would be great is something the mainstream just won't dig.