PR does not intend to reach larger audience, its intent was always to remain relatively obscure, and I'm actually still surprised it reached as many people and regions as it did. I think it was a bit of luck, alot of hard work, and largely the great community that formed around it that gave it a very widespread "word of mouth" following that is still felt to this day!
Why Squad is more ambitious? Higher fidelity in all aspects, from graphics to sounds to view distances to authenticity of vehicles and weapons, weapon ballistics, vehicle physics & component systems, greater depth of logistics and strategic planning. Basically I think Squad is raising the stakes on most assets of combined arms. And the fact that its appealing to diverse crowd from hardcore milsim players to the more casual players, makes it ambitious in that there is a huge segment and diversity to the playerbase, that simply not present in any of the design of PR.
To your point on stuff being ruled out, I think the key thing is there is a focus on community building and teamwork aspects of the gameplay. Not to say we wont be focusing on other aspects, but thats the main focus in developement of squad.
Things like VBIED's are already possible, just not specifically setup to be as user friendly like in PR... will that change in the future? perhaps, but I hardly think that it is holding Squad back from being ambitious project.
Snipers are not a focus simply because it doesnt add alot of value to the teamplay aspect, however we definitely do want to see ALOT more value placed on recon and intel of enemy dispositions, that simply is not that important right now and is something we want to change in the future. Things like ability for CO to change their vehicle composition, Fog of War for RAAS objectives, Territory Control game mode, would all help on this front. And I would much rather see a Forward Observer role added before a "Sniper" role. However we may get that anyways with SLs acting as such in the future with CO air assets.
Breaching ropes or ladders have not been ruled out, its just not an easy system to incorporate and the current vaulting and climbing animation system has made it less badly needed than it was in PR. But we still want a Breacher class to happen, but its not top priority, which again as I've said, is 100 players, Transport Helicopters and Commander.
Real life factions: I loved that PR had these. There is reasons why commercial games avoid having this kind of stuff. Maybe in the future these can be included but it was chosen not to do this for various reasons at the start of the project, and everyone has their own personal take on the topic. I'm sure mods will incorporate this stuff in the future, but I think there is a certain benefit to having factions a little lee-way to have some creative freedoms when it comes to uniform colors blending to map color palette and assets/configs on map layer creation.
I agree maybe more risks could have been taken, but I think in the last little bit you can see some more experimentation and new ideas, we do want to continue to push the envelope of what the UE4 engine is capable of!! All the while working the optimization and performance side so that normal PC's can jump in and play!
Most don't remember as it was so long ago and now it looks quite dated, but PR was an absolute performance killer, it was taking the Refractor 2 engine and bringing most PC's to their knees - and not necessarily because of bleeding edge graphics but rather because modders putting stuff in engines that aren't meant to handle them, and having no way to change said engine, causes alot of bad perf issues. The PR team did amazing work, but time was on our side - as players upgraded their PC's, the PR team was able to get away with more - one of the benefits of being a 13 year old modding project
Thanks for the feedback!