PISA, welcome to the Empires in Arguments forum! LOL Just a few comments here to bring you up to speed. I personally do not update anything except the game manual; Marshall Ellis is the game designer and maintains proprietary rights to his game code. Matrix is a publisher and does not control the code, so cannot be held wholly responsible for fixing bugs or updating the game. IMHO there are things they could be doing to encourage developers to stay with a product or introduce third parties to pick up development, but that's another issue. As for Avalon Hill rights, I don't think so; ADG maintains the rights to their games and the computer versions published by Matrix- EiA and WiF. ADG could maybe work out something with Marshall and Matrix to continue game development with this product or create something new from scratch (which would be YEARS in the making), but again that's another issue.
I do agree that this game, with some additional development work, can become great. Fix several lingering bugs (more like deviations from the boardgame), improve the game editor and introduce classic EiA map and scenarios, improve the AI, introduce TCP/IP or NetPlay capability for online play, etc., and this would be great. Marshall has in fact fixed a few more bugs, ported the game code to a new compiler and introduced wide-screen graphics capability. But, he also has real-world life to deal with and we need to be patient. At this point, about all we can do is wait and hope for another update one of these days. Patience is a virtue...
Someone needs to convince them to open source this thing OR at the very least, give rights of the code to a few developers in an 'open source' sort of format... this could keep their 'rights' to the game and their ability to continue to make money off it.