I understand how they work, pretty sure I even said that democracy is nothing Mojang should ever worry about again.I have yet to see such an idealistic project in my professional career. Usually it's layers of management all with stakeholders that can enforce decisions that affect the project. And as the project gets closer to completion more and more layers of management get involved and throw in their pet projects.
I can't speak for Microsoft but I would assume marketing, PR, legal, and finance all have some sort of say in the direction the project will go, and that's just divisions external to development. For example, say in 18 months they have a bad quarter, management will probably pressure all divisions to increase revenue, and for the most part they will comply.
Corporations behave more like totalitarian feudal states. Not democracies. And MS is one of the more aggressive ones when it comes to competing with the other feudal states.
An oldie but goodie that pretty accurately demonstrates how creative projects work in corporations.
My description was just less bleak than yours, sorry. Should I not have left any room for an "acceptable" ending? Should I have dashed all hope?