I think you all are getting a bit too paranoid with Steam...
My guess is that steam is only for the multiplayer.
Keyword is Steamworks. That means Steam is 100% mandatory, and must be running to play the game.
What's with the Steam bitchfest?
To be entirely honest, I'm too tired at this point to even have the argument again. If you like Steam, that's great, it doesn't bother me. The problem is that I do not and with Steamworks integration I will be forced to use a platform that I have rejected.
Steamworks is DRM, and fairly onerous DRM at that (only a few steps behind Spore). Valve has managed to make users accept that by offering useful services and maintaining a good PR. That doesn't change the fact that I am unwilling to accept that kind of DRM. If Valve wants to do business like that, I won't be their customer. If a game goes Steamworks, I will not purchase it. End. Of. Story.