+1 to 6 party members
-1 Volo, sorry
I would like to have both a dyed in the wool paladin type along side a Jan Jansen sort. I loved the Keldorn / Jan interactions.
Funnily enough, I'm nearing the end of a playthrough with Jan and Mazzy in the party. It's great. Jan is the only character I saw getting Mazzy out of her knightly poise. And then a couple of exchanges later their conversations ended on a heartwarming note.
My disappointment will be immeasurable if we get no companion that could fill Jan's role in the party.
I agree, but this is exactly why the party size of four hurts so very badly. In the original games you can have set up your party really well for party role balance with five of your party members, and you then got to use that sixth spot for an eclectic character that you otherwise may have not taken along with you. Now, with only four party slots, I won't be willing to use a very precious slot for a character that does not fully support role balance needs within my party.
Yeah. I mean, 5e lets you get away with all kinds of wonky class configurations, but with 4 slots and 8 companions? It doesn't even matter that much. Even if you ignore party balance entirely, the choice is still very poor. And then you have party banter/interactions. 4 and 8 is just... bad. Really bad.
Ideally (and yes, very unrealistically), I'd like there to be 6 slots, 12 origin companions (playable and with lots of story as per what Larian said) and 12 non-origin companions that range from BG1 to BG2 level of companion depth. (Why 12? One per class.)
Even if not the pie-in-the-sky above, "playable camp followers" would be great. No need for a whole separate plot for those companions - just some personality and banter, so the alternative isn't soulless mercenaries. Maybe a quest or two.
To be honest, with how the party system/companions work right now, I find myself considering custom party from the get-go (as they'll be "my" PCs and not mercenaries; yeah, a matter of perception). And "no companions, custom party" has been enough to scare me off from an RPG pretty much until now. (Planning to play Solasta and IWD soon-ish.)