When I came by two years ago and said that Elemental was too bland, I did so because it was a game solely involving differently-hued humans fighting over some huts. It didn't really have anything to do with the AI or bugs or the core gameplay, it was the setting that needed the most help. That's exactly what people were hoping that Kael would bring with him from Fall from Heaven. We wanted a game where a race of fire-breathing golems were fighting against a kingdom of sentient spells in a floating castle while dragon people marched in from the sea to escape the deep ones in their underwater cities. After two years and Kael's involvement we got... another game where differently-hued humans were fighting over some huts.
A fantasy 4X is the perfect opportunity to be, well, fantastic. Weird and amazing and more variety than one could shake a stick at. Kael nailed that with FFH2, so we know he's got it in him!
Of course, it's not too late to add the weird and amazing and variety. I wouldn't have any complaint about buying addons for extra races, units, and features like flying, subterranean, or aquatic cities, because those things add the variety the game so desperately needs.