Dragon Age II has achieved gold master status, which puts it on target for its March 8 release in North America and March 11 release in Europe.
Game Banshee wrote a transcript of the developer chat, and described the gameplay demo that was shown off with a female Hawke. The quest shown was "Fools Rush In", and starred the memorable Captain Isabella, whom most gamers recall as the pirate who was more than willing to invite you, Zevran and Leliana into a foursome (and if Oghren was in your party, he'd faint from just thinking about the sheer awesomeness of that encounter.)
According to Game Banshee: The quest takes place at night and Laidlaw notes the streets are more empty (and indeed there were no NPCs walking around) and dangerous at this hour, and, as expected, the group is attacked in the course of the quest, showing off the combat, pause functions, and special attacks. Laidlaw explains how mages have a supportive roles in applying buffs, like stone armor and elemental weapons. The buff effects are no longer shown outside of combat. Weapons and items are graded by a star system which allows you to compare at a quick glance.
The entire transcript can be read.