When asked about this at one point, Swen commented that "It's just like real life, you have to choose.", as though it was not real-life feasible to have more than a few friends whom you keep glued to your side at all times, and that even if you try to have more friends than that, you'll invariably lose control of them and they'll leave you, if you don't keep them under your eye.
Someone should probably tell him that that's not, actually, normal or healthy. That it's normal in real life to have an array of friends whom you maintain varying degrees of regular or irregular contact with, but whom are all still your friends and companions who you'll help out and who will help you out in turn, when you need it, even if they aren't hanging out with you ever minute of the day.
Doing this doesn't increase "Replay Value". It creates drudgery, and makes false, unfulfilling replayability that no-one ever actually enjoys. The presumption of replayability is that you have to play a few times to see all the different content lines... but what that actually is saying is that you have to play the same game, multiple times through, and experience what will, in reality, be about 80-90% of the same content, over and over again, just to see that extra 10-20% that's different this time through. That's not fun; it's never fun. Sometimes a game is good enough that players will put up with slogging through it, but it's never a good way to handle things, and it's a terrible way to try to make your game have replay value.