As an additional note, the Japanese version of Dragon Age II is the first game of the Dragon Age saga with Japanese voice acting, since the prequel only had the original English voices with Japanese subtitles and text translations for everything else.note In fact this is the first BioWare game with any Japanese voice acting at all, since their other games weren't released there or without Japanese voice acting. It had something to do with the fact this game will be released in Japan by Spike and not by EA's Japanese branch unlike their other games.
I Knew It: A few fans noticed that Qunari, other than Sten, likely possessed horns in Origins and that trait might turn up in future installments. Surely enough, the Qunari faction were redesigned with horned heads being the norm in the sequel. The hints came from a lone codex entry and the darkspawn Ogres (once you learn where they come from). Behind the scenes, Sten was originally supposed to be horned, but they proved problematic when mapping them to helmets, so he lost them.
Dragon Age 2 was originally going to be a Gaiden Game called "Dragon Age: Exodus" with the plot for what would later become Dragon Age III being planned for Dragon Age II. Among other differences, Hawke was originally intended to be an NPC named Ulrich Von Hawke who was a werewolf with a tendency for Licking the Blade, thus explaining the blood splatter on the default character appearance.
Anders wasn't the only candidate for the "renegade mage" role. David Gaider has said that Velanna was also considered in early development to potentially join Hawke's companions and serve as the new host for Justice.
The boss fight against Orsino was originally going to be exclusive to the Templar endgame. However, it was added to the mage endgame for the sake of another boss fight.
Anders' cat Ser-Pounce-A-Lot was going to still be around, walking around in Anders' clinic. However, he was cut since it would require making a new character model.
The Exiled Prince DLC was originally going to have Nathaniel Howe play a major role. While Nathaniel can still appear in the main game, he was cut from the DLC due to the possibility of his death in Awakening.
Much like how Origins has Awakening, Dragon Age II was going to have an expansion pack called Exalted March but was cancelled due to other projects. Some of the story elements are (apparently) being kept for Dragon Age III instead.
There was meant to be a third post-release story DLC, but it was at first lumped with Exalted March, and then canceled altogether along with it. The basic storyline, however, has been worked into DAI.
Those who lamented the fact that Varric was not a romance option could be either cheered or further disappointed by the statement that an extra scene was cut from the very end of the game. According to Word of God, there was to have been a scene after Cassandra releases Varric, in which he reunites with Hawke and reassures her/him that while he did tell the Seeker the whole story, "I didn't tell her anything about us."