Also, by that token, you could argue having only 3 recruitable party members is better than 4 because you get to use more resources on each character and spend time honing them. I do not see the soundness of this argument. You could come up with a million examples in this vein.
Well yeah, that's why indie games are often more simple in mechanics. A good lead developer then uses the resources available on the systems most critical to the game. So if Larian had a tiny budget, it would make a better RPG to have less recruitable characters and spend more time developing them than to have more characters who are bland. If you want party members with personalities and not just disposable hired guns.
Taking BG as an example, half of the recruitable NPC's were bland and kinda useless. In my opinion it had been better for them to develop more dialog, quests and so on for less characters than to have so many who are just cardboard cut offs. Kivan for example, or that young bard from Beregost. Totally forgettable and really added nothing to the game.