I tend to disagree, and I do think there is a problem with the writing. I for one didn't follow the marketing, and, believe it or not, I didn't know Astarion was a Vampire. Or whatever was up with Wyll or Shadowheart. That aside, let's focus for a moment on Astarion. So you find him, and maybe after some sort of misunderstanding you agree that it is better to work together. We both have a bloody tadpole crawling around in our head, and we both agree that we need to remove it, and that our best chance is to work together. Fair enough up to that point.
So what does he do? He sneaks up on you one night and tries to drain your blood. No matter what he says afterwards, he has proven that he is entirely untrustworthy. Given the situation I'm in, I'd kick him from the group. I have enough problems as it is, I don't need a Vampire in my group that I cannot trust (okey, that seems to be redundant).
As for the others, Wyll and Gale are completely overdone. Their backstories do not link up with what they actually can deliver. Shadowheart and Lae'zel are better in that regard, but swing between arrogance and rudeness. I don't expect them to be particularly nice to me, but given the situatuion, and the fact that we apparently agree that we are better off as a group, I expect something more civil.
So I do have a problem with the writing. So far it seems to me that Larian was trying to outdo what they had delivered in DOS and DOS 2, but they overshot the target.
You can actually kick him from the group.
Yep, i know. I kicked him in one playthrough because I had a shit day. The point is really that I keep him in the group for metagaming reasons: I want to see how this plays out.
Nothing wrong with that. I could come up with a ton of RP reasons to keep him, even if I don't trust him. Resource management, for one, if he's a better lockpicker than I am. I also don't have any reason to really trust him on some of the characters I may play. Just one example would be "we must find a way to control it" instead of going straight to "get this thing out of my head". For those characters, there is an option to reject him outright, on the spot, I believe? That said, some of my characters will, undoubtedly, be right there with him on learning to control it, and use it for my own ends.
However, not liking a character doesn't have to equate to bad writing. In fact, not liking a character can come down to good writing. I don't know enough about any of the companions to say for sure, at this point in the game. My prime example for this will always be Alistair in Dragon Age. I despise him as a person. I really do. However, I love the fact that David Gaider could write him in such a way that he garners that vitriol from me. It is, however, entirely possible to play about 3/4 of the game before you get to where he showed his true colors to me, on the way in to Redcliffe. The point being, that there may well be redeeming qualities in any or all of these companions, and we'll never know if we just let first impressions rule whether we keep them or not. I really think there should be a dialog about Astarion with the rest of the party to the effect of "we can't trust him, because vampire, but we need him if we're going to get rid of these tadpoles", or, something completely opposite of that if we're going to remove him. It's not a "hey, you have to like x" thing either. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's more of a "we really don't know much about any of them, and we're not in a position where we're going to learn much in what we have" thing, and as with my position on the setting's feel, we're deliberately placed in such a way as to not spoil a lot of what's to come. It may well come to pass that some of them are irredeemable, and I sincerely hope that this is the case. "Bringing everyone to the light" is way too tropey to keep happening all the time, and it would be a refreshing change of pace, sort of like Morrigan.