Destructoid has an article-style interview with lead designer Mike Laidlaw, discussing Dragon Age II's intro, its design intent to grab the player by the collar and drag him into the game.
"We saw a lot of people disengaging at hour one, hour two. Not pursuing it, right?" explains Laidlaw. The Dragon Age team might have chalked some of those lost players up to rentals, but the statistics didn't back it up: a significant number of people simply stopped playing Dragon Age: Origins after a few hours.
"I think what it really spoke to is something RPGs have been wrestling with for a long time: that first impression," says Laidlaw.
So they fixed it.
"You get to an RPG and fire it up, and ... it hits you in the face with a thousand stats. Those stats are very cool, but you may not be mentally or emotionally prepared to deal with them as your first thing to do in the game," he says.