I think they would be making a mistake to do another project at this time. While you have a active interested audience, keep it active. It seems the turn around time for games is about three years, if they are working on a new game now thats a completion date around 2012. After a Sins 2 development, your talking 2015 release date. We will all have arthritis or carpel tunnel by then.
No, I agree with TFLBigBandTheory. It's a good thing they're working on something else. When Sins 2 does come out, it shouldn't be rushed and it should be something that their hearts are fully into. Even if that means it takes a little longer for it to come out, the wait will be worth it. The Sins audience isn't just going a disappear if there isn't a sequal ASAP. Sure, people will eventually drift off to other games, but that happens with every game. It's not like an MMO where the game's entire future is determined by how active it is. And there is the old saying "Absence makes the heart grow fonder"
Is Ironclad being forced to lay low so that Stardock can promote Elemental ?
Why would they be doing that? They're in two different genres. And at best whatever IC is working on is probably a couple years out, even if Elemental and the secret project were the same kind of game it wouldn't affect sales of Elemental. Plus, how long can they have been working on it? Diplomacy only came out ~6 months ago. Even if they wanted to show anything, they probably don't have anything to show.
Couldnt Ironclad outsource and hire some modders to work in the meanwhile? Any of the mods with a little stablity polish would sell lots. Think Requiem, SOGE, as a commercial release.
I doubt that would work, because those mods are both based on lisensed property. IC would have to purchase the rights to make a Star Wars game from LucasArts. The same would go for any other similar mods (Star Trek, BSG, etc). And IC is a small company and probably can't afford to hire a bunch of modders (even more so if they also have to buy the rights to sell those mods).