I disagree with the notion that my examples exemplify your points, but I also see what you mean.
Even so I think there is one thing we must remind ourselves above all-
Forge content is fan content.
Granted Forge stuff isn’t the same as an official offering, but it is currently a hotly discussed topic in Halo circles and only just relevant enough for public interest to at least pop up here, like images of all the crazy stuff you can do in Infinite’s Forge getting into publications.
And Forge isn’t even exclusive to Halo, just as it debuted on Halo 3 it was born in Marathon Infinity (or Marathon 3). Even long ago, Bungie knew fan content was vitally important to a game’s lifespan. I agree it’s no substitute for official offerings, but it keeps the franchise afloat through the downtime (which we are getting A LOT of as of recently) until official offerings are available.
The only real difference Forge content has over mods is that mods aren’t generally official due to Forge being an in game feature.
The more I type the more I see a weird level of parallels in our arguments, the differences largely being how we perceive said fan projects and their impact at large. With this in mind, yes, official offerings are what revitalize a franchise in the eyes of the public, which can lead to revitalization within the franchise itself through the approval of more content for said franchise.
But when the official stuff isn’t enough, people try to make their own stuff. Be it through forge or mods, they will find a way. And although I agree that new IPs and experiences born of fans are ideal, some of these projects are born as mods.
Plus I know it’s not quite the same, but lest we remind ourselves that Red Vs Blue was a Halo fan project before it became… well, its own franchise. Sure it took dramatic liberties with the lore, but it’s literally unmistakable as Halo to the extent where it’s (mostly) filmed in game. It’s this weird frankenstein, like what Power Rangers was to Super Sentai but with more in jokes and tiny references to the source material sprinkled throughout. It showed (for better or worse) that fan projects can explode into its own unique thing and still be rooted in its fandom.
The same can be said of Bruva Alfabusa’s work, from WH40KTTS to Hunter: The Parenting to Half-Life Viscosity, these are fan projects and are faithful to their source material even as they parody said source material yet stand firmly and strongly on their own even as fan works.
I will confess, by naming videos as evidence I am reaching quite a bit. I kinda lack the words to articulate my point otherwise. But my point remains, sometimes fan work literally keeps franchises alive. TF2 has slain Overwatch 2 despite effectively being completely zombified, kept alive through memes and references. If that is possible, I see no reason why the same can’t be said of Halo someday.