I recently replayed BG 1 before the EA release of BG 3.
I could change my party right up to the last boss fight- no problem.
Also had 6 (Me + 5) dynamic members that felt unique and interesting.
I didn't feel like I "missed out on some parts of the story" because there were many more companions I didn't bring along.
I didn't feel overwhelmed by the need to control and level up 6 total party members.
I felt like I had the freedom to create a really unique party built from really unique characters, and could opt to swap one out if one of mine dislikes my decisions or dies in combat.
I felt like the main character.
Party locking at end of Act 1:
Sure- let Astarion leave and be inaccessible if you don't pick him up in Act 1 or early into Act 2.
These things are honestly perfectly okay design choices- IF AND ONLY IF there are a slew of other companions to meet and align with along the way. When I first met
I loved him. I immediately had a sad feeling inside thinking that Larian won't end up allowing many companions because they're shooting for such a high bar for the companion's dialog options.
won't make the cut, and neither will most NPCs.
It's EA, I know- but the decisions I've seen so far have me worried for the integrity of party dynamics. There is so much- SO MUCH time being spent on the origin characters and I can only assume they're going to put even more time into developing the story branches for the origin characters in the later acts. If there is a party lock at the end of Act 1- that is a very clear confirmation that we won't have any new companions after Act 1. Why would we? Our party would be locked.
I'm sure the occasional temporary party member will be added for a quest element or something- but that's just simply not the same- period.
Limiting to 4 members - especially when locking at the end of Act 1 - is not a good feeling.
What I want:
I want 6 members- I want an unlocked party- I want diverse options for companions throughout the entire game.