Indie games these days are hard. The tools available to indie developers are getting better, but not as quickly as the work required to bring a game to market. Big-budget games have larger teams behind them every year. They keep raising the bar on what players expect. This puts some games out of reach of indie games entirely. For example, I can’t imagine a couple of guys whipping up their own rendering engine and tools and making their own first-person shooter. Animated characters take 3d modeling and texturing and programming and animations, which means in most cases a single character running around the game world is the work of at least four people. Articulated characters are maddenly expensive, and there is no way around it.
I don’t think this is going to change anytime soon, either. Better tools might make creating an animated character easier, but it’s an inherantly complex task and there is only so much help the software can give.
This is a lot of the reason I feel like I can’t do anything with the dueling game I came up with. It’s fairly modest in scope, since it doesn’t require epic environments or dozens of voice actors. However, it does require well-animated human figures. If this were a game with a couple of tanks driving around blasting each other, the whole thing would only be a few of weeks of work at most. But since we’re dealing with humans, the time to implement it jumps from weeks to months, and the team goes from one guy to several. Suddenly the thing is too big to be a hobby project.