Part of the difficulty in create genuinely introductory versions of existing games nowadays is that a lot of contemporary RPGs are simply too complex mechanically to easily pare down into something that could reasonably be called basic. I don't think there's anything wrong with rules complexity. Indeed, I suspect that many gamers, after they've played a game for a long enough time, crave a certain degree of rules complexity, since it can be a way to reinvigorate one's interest in a game one has already played extensively. That's why, for all the grousing I do about AD&D compared to OD&D, my feeling remains that AD&D is not so complex a game that it can't be pared down into something simpler that is nevertheless a good reflection of what the full game is like.
Of course, in my ideal world, Dungeons & Dragons would have, at some point, exist as a three-tiered RPG:
- Basic: A simple, straightforward and complete dungeon-focused game.
- Expert: An expansion to Basic that expands the scope of the game, adding wilderness and "otherworldly" exploration rules, as well as more stuff in general. Together, Basic and Expert give you everything you need to play almost any kind of fantasy campaign, from dungeon delving to wilderness exploration to mass combats to domain rulership.
- Advanced: Another expansion that adds further detail for those who desire it but is wholly optional and modular, adding to but not replacing the rules in Basic and Expert. Advanced books are geared toward a "hardcore," experienced audience who crave novelty and depth
That's where the real trick lies, from what I can see. Too many "intro" games are little more than elaborate advertisements for the "real" game and that strikes me as counterproductive in the long run. So, Paizo, if you really want to make a good intro version of Pathfinder, make sure it's actually compatible with your core rulebook. Simplify it by all means. Eliminate a lot of options. But, for the love of Gygax, don't make people who buy it have to rebuild their characters when they move on to the big rulebook. Better yet, make that if they move on to the big rulebook. Find a way to do that and I'll be mightily impressed (and not just because you'll be listening to me).