It came out of the Great Kingdom documentary Kickstarter that I backed...eons ago. Still no sign of that, alas. But the podcast is pretty informative and well done.Listening to that podcast now, thanks for the rec.
I would concur that that was the intention. Of course, I think most of us still modded the heck out of 1e, if nothing else but by ignoring whole swathes of rules like parasitic infections and that specific weapons vs. armor table.I'm not sure the premise really holds. I didn't play 2E, so I'm not the best judge of that edition, but having read it and played the hell out of AD&D, if I had to compare them, I'd say AD&D is the more explicitly "locked down" of the two editions. Gygax goes on at length about how only RAW AD&D is real D&D in the books whereas in the 2E books there's mounds of optional rules all over the place.
So I'm not sure the premise that "the corporation dictates how the game is played" really holds. From what I've heard about 3E, it's much the same in reverse. Lots of "things must be done this way and no other" in the feat chains, building monsters in specific ways, and rules for everything.
I would likewise agree with that assessment of 3e. When I looked at the things I didn't like about it, I found that removing or modifying certain elements was like pulling a thread and having the whole garment unravel.