Not only am I vehemently in favour of option 1, but I’ll be seriously pissed off if we don’t get a ‘save anywhere’ system. I can see the argument for limited saves in a survival horror game (where it’s part of the survival mechanic) or a game based on short missions (where each mission is designed to be completed as a whole), but this is an open-world RPG, for crying out loud. How would an autosave system even work? What, you play for 2 hours but don’t make any important quest decisions, then the game crashes so you lose all your progress?
Just let people save wherever they want. And don’t penalise them for doing it either, with XP penalties and the like. I have a very slow, cautious playstyle that tends to involve a lot of reloading - for instance, if I take heavy damage in a fight, I’ll usually reload and try to do better - and why the hell shouldn’t I? It’s a single-player game. Why should I care if someone else thinks it destroys the tension? Personally there’s nothing I find duller and more frustrating than having to replay the same damn sequence over and over because the game won’t let me save where I want.
That said, I have no problem with a ‘limited saves’ mode for people who want it, but it shouldn’t be tied to the general difficulty level. Choosing unlimited saves doesn’t mean people want easier gameplay; it means they don’t want to be restricted in where they save. The best system, IMO, is the one used in Pillars of Eternity - it has separate modes for limited saves and permadeath, both of which can be set independently from the difficulty level. Everyone can play as they like and is happy. Problem solved.