whether NPC is released long or short i do not really mind, the game is already great as is.
If its taking too long like maybe 10 more years then ill see free 10 years of development on this game features (maybe basements, sewers, bicycles, boats, garage doors, large 2 tiled doors for bases, zombie traps, moats or even crazier digging a personal fish pond or making a swimming pool, and more height than 8 storey buildings, they did mention optimisation on not rendering furnitures in building above you and maybe under too if not outside.)
If its short and its finished by less than 2 years than we will get NPC faster but get maybe less features, i really hope they continue adding stuff for this unique and amazing game. highly detailed zombie survival game with isometric view that has a huge base modifications options is uniquely Zomboid.
I just hope they release a dummy NPC as a placeholder (with option to disable in the menu) that can have idle animation (not doing anything) maybe guarding a place by shooting at incoming hordes or meleeing it kinda like a tower in a tower defense game (dont need to feed it just need to spawn it by some requirement like having found a survivor from radio then you have to have x units of food and water plus gears and weapons and ammos to spawn a never hungry never out of ammo stationary guard that can be moved to a certain spot) this will achieve a feel of a base defended by team of survivors and aliviate a little bit of lonelines for single players.