The PC version of Dragon Age: Origins got a 1.01 patch not 72 hours after release; lead designer Mike Laidlaw jumped onto BioWare's forums to explain its necessity.
First, the changes, according to BioWare:
• Fixed potential corruption of character statistics • Fixed portrait appearance sliders when importing a character from the downloadable Character Creator • Fixed import for preset face settings from the downloadable Character Creator • Made Easy difficulty easier • Slightly increased attack, defence, and damage scores for all party members at Normal difficulty • Fixed video issues when running on a very wide screen display, including ATI Eyefinity displays
Hey, who doesn't like easier easy? Anyway, notice of the patch brought out some catcalls about the quality of the game's shipped code. So Laidlaw posted a comment to "pull back the curtain a bit," on game development.
Game development seems like it's extremely up to the moment, but at the end of every game there is a period where you have to enter a lockdown so that final QA runs and certifications can be completed. This process is exhaustive and is the kind of thing that you have to completely re-do if you make any changes.
That said, it's hard not to be proud of your game, and to want it to be perfect, so we try to identify things that might be patch candidates. In Dragon Age's case, we had a unique opportunity to compare balance numbers between console and PC, and in the end we decided to make some tweaks and put them in the pipe for around launch day, while keeping an eye for any extremely bad bugs to include.
There's good odds that there will be another patch, as there seem to be a few issues still creeping up (dagger damage, etc) and I would like to see those addressed. Of course, we have to do due diligence and test and QA these things properly, so it's not an instant fix. Just be aware that we are watching these forums and working to try and nail down any issues that are creeping up.
Laidlaw then returned to the forum to say that future patches will likely continue to address game balance. "Mages, however, are awesome," he wrote. "That's not going to change."
Dragon Age Origins Patch v1.01 Released [BioWare Forums]