OMG....is that finally.... AN ANSWER????
Wow...ok, that wasn't so hard, was it? I mean, couldn't they have said that months ago? Sheesh.
Hard to say whether the NPC stuff will be enough to make up for a year of no companion romance, but it's a start. And there's hope for the future. I can't say this is the most satisfying answer I could hope for, but it sure beats the silence.