The game really is designed to be played with friends anyway (though whether there's more or less awkward than your character's romance with strangers is debatable).
Sounds like there's a good chance for romances to show up, considering how important the relationship between the characters is, and from what one of the writer's was saying on the RPGcodex.http://www.rpgcodex.net/content.php?id=10045
Pertinent section (honestly, pretty funny at parts):
Gameplay: So if you talk about acting like real characters, that means real emotions and interactions with each other. I've already asked about romance options, for example. You have plans to have it in there?
Kieron: Yeah... yeah!
Gameplay: Can you give some other examples about how they can interact with each other on an emotional level? Quarrels, fights... what else can we expect?
Kieron: I'm not sure what it will look like, but there will be a relationship system in there. It will have to be in there for the romance anyway. But about non-romantic options, I have no idea.
Watch: Why are there romantic options in the game?
Bubbles: Yes, wonderful question. [Even the Watch can have one from time to time.]
Watch: Yes. I don't know why. So why are you trying to put romantic elements in this game?
Sarah: Roleplay. A lot of... uhm... RPG players want to feel like they can, uhm... kind of... have a full experience. When you choose to play the role of somebody, what would that character do? Would that character have a certain feeling about a character in their party? Uhm... ...you kinda want... as many options as possible to be able to live out the story that you wanna build. Uhm... i think romance is, like, not necessarily a required part of it, but it depends on what kind of story you wanna build, what kind of character you wanna play, I think. And, uhm, I was surprised actually, but the desire for this is a lot stronger than I thought it was, the romantic options.
Watch: Of course, often it's very childish or often very limited: you have gay relationships and you can change sex in real life. So where's the limit? What do you define as being romantic or not?
Kieron: Well, I guess if there's one thing we want to do as writers...
Watch: Or pure sex, that's also possible, we've seen that in the past.
Kieron: We certainly don't want a childish, quest-based relationship progress, if that makes sense. One thing [I don't like], playing games, is if I'm playing a game and have an option to romance a certain character and it's just a matter of talking to them now and probably doing something for them, and then, a few more missions later, I talk to them again and do something else for them. It's this kind of robotic progression as writers we want to make sure that the characters feel so fleshed out when they're interacting, if something was potentially to blossom in their characters, plot-wise, we want the player to be able to explore that in a role playing context. But we don't want to give them a sort of childish kind of "tick a box" "oh, I have a romantic option!" or "Now she's my wife," or "Now he's my husband." That's not the goal, the goal is to actually allow you to express the character. If I feel like I'm really playing this character, this human rogue, and I'm getting really into him, and it makes sense that the flirtations between [him and] somebody else starts to go somewhere then it should make sense that it should start to go somewhere.
Sarah: That's something I felt while working on Original Sin, the first one, the companions that we were writing, they felt really real to me, and I saw moments where, the way they were interacting with the other characters, it would have made sense if there was a bit of a seed between them, or if the player would have felt a little bit of something. I see it as a natural story progression.
Bubbles: I didn't get the original information about romances [I really hadn't -- clear PR failure there]. What exactly have you planned: romances within your party, romances with NPCs, pregnancies, real marriages...?
Sarah: Everything is kind of on the table at the moment...
Kieron: It's too early to commit to doing or not doing one particular thing. It's just something we wanted to add in, not necessarily something that we have a direct plan for how that looks in the game.
Sarah: Oh, well, kind of... well, it's true there's nothing set in stone like quest design wise, but Jan [Van Dosselaer, senior writer] is working on a system, we're still trying to flesh out how many starting backgrounds you can have, and whether, from the beginning, you can play as a married couple [married characters] or as two people who have history together, to see if their relationship can grow together or decline, depending on the choices that you make. That's something we're talking about now, a system to implement that from the beginning, so that it's very organic from their backstory, that you have a sense of interacting with your partner especially since it's in co-op.
Kieron: A few have got a passion for that, to actually see two characters already having a history, and that you see the continuation of that history as opposed to just something new. These two characters can still do something separate if they wish; it's not like they're automatically joined.
Watch: And you will do same sex as well?
Sarah: It's.... one the table, definitely. It will depend on how thoroughly we can do, uhm, every character having the potential to romance any other character, I don't know if it's gonna be that way, or if only these characters can have romances with these characters, and it's planned from the beginning, but right now, the player characters, the list of options we're considering, it's, like, extremely diverse.
Kieron: Extremely diverse. And again, it won't be to tick a box, it will be because it feels good and it feels right for the characters.
Bubbles: You already said that romances would be an integral part of role playing. This is a tricky proposition you may act in a way that would make a romance likely, but you may not want a romance. Do you envision presenting the player with clear options saying: 泥oing this will start a romance? do you plan on putting up regular reminders that you might be able to pursue something?
Sarah: The way that I've seen it working so far is that you have an event or something that will trigger a dialogue, and you should be aware that this is a romance dialogue. Something will happen, you have a choice of four responses, one is very flirtatious, one is guarded or neutral, one is completely neutral, and one is dismissive or something like that. So you should be fairly aware of the relationship you're creating when you choose these. I'm not sure this is exactly how it's gonna go into the game, but when we've talked about how it's gonna work, this is kind of how we envision it. A bit like the affinity affection [sic] dialogues in D:OS they were a bit gamey, not the best element of the game, but we're envisioning something like this where you have four options.
Bubbles: In the first game, you had deeply intertwined systems between a character's personality and gameplay elements like combat. You could act a certain way and become immune to Charm. You could also choose between taking talents that were very relevant in combat, or you could take something like Pet Pal. Are you going to keep going with that mechanic, and have something like rivalries between characters or romances affecting concrete gameplay statistics?
Sarah: That would be fantastic! That would be amazing! Like, if we can keep that kind of basis that we built, and then build on that, so that the character development is even more tied to your progression? That would be very, very cool.