DOS2 allowed you to customize the appearance of your origin story characters within the boundaries of the race. And later you found a mirror that allowed you to customize the appearance, feats and stats of your companions as well. But you couldn't change their race or class. I assume BG3 will eventually allow the same.
Origin stories are a good compromise between different story experiences and budget. For example, take the origin characters name. If you want anyone in the game to be able to say that characters name, it has to be known upfront. So Name and Gender are generally locked down so they don't have to record 4 or 6 people saying all of that characters lines. So I don't have a problem with a button that says "Astarion". It is a male character named Astarion with some traits and a backstory that you will read about above the persons head.
It would be nice if BG3 let us do more than DOS2 did. For example, Wyll needs to be a Warlock, but could he also chose some of the other races? Laz'el must be a Gith, but does she have to be a fighter? Gale needs to be a mage, but does he have to be human? And does Astarion have to be a rogue or an elf? Of the available options, shadowheart seems to be the most constrained.
So I am in favor of expanding our ability to customize the Origins as much as possible, but I am NOT in favor of scrapping them for generic templates. The Template play through is what we are play testing right now.
There are some other great comments in here in regards to companion treatment of the player. I will note that in real life, most relationships are in fact self-serving. So I find the current reactions and commentary pretty realistic and in line with the NPCs personalities. The only unrealistic thing is that Laz sticks around as long as she does if you don't maintain progress on her quest (new stage every day) until a certain milestone is reached. I think Larian should focus on adding more good natured companion options and less on fixing the current companion options.