Over at SomethingAwful a poster said this. Take this with a grain of salt because although the post seems genuine you can never be truly sure as the poster isn't verified.
Most of DA2 was developed in 8 months! If that's true, then holy shit. When you look at other games that have small development cycles they are normally a disaster. Kotor 2 was a fucking mess with no ending and reused a lot of stuff and tons of content cut or missing. It makes me wonder how the game would have been if they gave it a standard 2 year cycle. Probably would have been amazing.
Well, nobody asked for my opinion, but here it is. In the interest of full disclosure, I'm a senior designer at BioWare but I did not work on DA:O or DA2.
fake edit: so I basically just spent an hour writing a magnum opus defending DA2. I deleted it after reading it back to myself and seeing a long list of excuses. Bottom line is, the game had a one-year production cycle and no amount of clever development can disguise this fact.
I will say that I am in awe of what they did from a technical standpoint- I simply cannot fathom how they accomplished as much as they did with that deadline. Most dev cycles of a game this size take 4-5 years; DA:O took nearly 7. You also have to factor in that there was no recycling from the first game and between pre-production and the time it takes to QA and gold-push a game you can lose a few months. BioWare games can be even worse about this because of the unusual amount of story variables involved. In essence they produced the vast majority of DA2 in about eight months. loving amazing.
That said, BioWare stands in a tough position. Their highest rated game, Mass Effect 2, got a metacritic score of 96 which is almost impossibly high. That game barely cracked 2 million copies sold. Compare this to the XBOX-only sales of Fallout 3 (3.5 million), Oblivion (3.5 mil), Fable 2 (4 mil), Red Dead Redemption (4.2 mil), Assassin's Creed (5 mil), forget BLOPS (12 mil). Dragon Age sold roughly the same as Mass 2, and both games cost and took about the same amount of time to produce as anything else on this list. So you have to wonder, why are BioWare game selling so much less with such higher quality?
Anyway, I'll let you come to your own conclusions about the state of Dragon Age 2 which, incidentally, had almost exactly the same first-week sales as DA:O. I will say, however, that once I stopped punishing the game for the sins of its fathers I ended up really enjoying it.