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Like many people, I'm a bit concerned about the small pool of potential companions, and the implications that this has for player choice & party size. After some thinking, though, I realized that there may be a still be a way to achive a high level of player choise and a large party size (6) with the small pool of potential companions:


Provide all (or most) of the companions with corrupted / redemption / similar plot-lines, and allow these quests to be triggered and completed early in the game (first third of the game). Such quest lines are common in other games, of course, but inevitable either resolve very late in the game or have pratically no impact on the character's actual personality (expressed in dialog). This is due to the branching problem -- if a character's alignment / worldview changes dramatically in the course of the game (and you don't ignore it), then you effectively end up with "1 and half companions" -- same graphics / character, but all the dialog that occurs after the redemption / corruption plot resolves has to be written twice (once for the "good" version, and once for the "evil" version).


But given the small number of potential companions such a model might work in this case, and doing so effectively doubles the number of companions available. it also provides lots of opportunity for the player to develop HIS character along the way. Just a thought... :)


Note: I use "corruption / redemption" above, as that's typically how such character changes are described. However, changing a character's class (at the prompting of the PC) might well be modeled in a similar way -- for example, consider a character who starts out hating mages, but the player convinces him that the best way to defeat mages is to become a mage him/herself (fight fire with fire, basically), or convincing a straight "tank" type character that stealth is a much more effective way to achive his/her goals.

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