As much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, I've got to say that I think the mouse-flight space combat games are here to stay. Why? Dropping money on a joystick, when they are only useful in one or two different types of game doesn't make sense to the average user anymore. If the flight sim genre and space action genres hadn't crapped out, the joystick market would probably still be thriving, but the genres lost steam, so joystick sales tanked. (The situation is a really ugly, cyclic thought process now: You can't make a game depend on joysticks because they aren't prevalent, but joysticks aren't prevalent because there aren't many games that support/require them.) In order for the genres to regain a solid user base, they need to adopt mouse-keyboard configurations for broader appeal.
Now, for all of FreeLancer's faults, I think they did a pretty respectable job of creating an intuitive mouse-keyboard control scheme, where other space combat games had half-assed the task, expecting users to have or buy joysticks. That makes FreeLancer's gameplay the formula to build on and refine for the next several years. Okay, FreeLancer was certainly no gem, in and of itself, but neither was the first Command & Conquer game, but when you look at the series' successors, they got progressively better, to the point where even modern RTS games still have that little seed of C&C floating around at their respective cores. In ten years, I think we'll be seeing more space action games that still hang onto FreeLancer's basic control scheme. Why? Because it's intuitive; it works, and it doesn't require you double the cost of your game with the addition of your first joystick.
What got me in a twist about FreeLancer, before the game hit shelves, was the choice to completely drop joystick support. While I fully agree with and support the decision of developers to design the game around mouse-keyboard configurations, it's really, really weak to nix joystick configurations entirely. I had other complaints about the game, but nothing hit me quite so early or hard as the loss of joystick support.
At any rate, Rogue Universe looks nifty right now, but really, when has a publisher ever put out a trailer that makes a game they're producing look like crap? I'll certainly be keeping an eye on this game, but I'll withhold judgement for now.