Hehe, quite the opposite - Standoff had it harder than Saga in this regard . See, each piece of the story we released, we had to live with. At the very end of the project, we actually did revisit Episode 1 & 2, add a couple of FMV cutscenes, and remove a couple of emails in exchange - but we did not change a single line or movie that had already been recorded. Not only did we not like the idea of revising existing work, but it's also more troublesome to patch an existing episode with a new one than it is to simply revise things before release.One of the "problems" with the story was of course that it was worked on the whole time, but after a certain point during the ten years of development you just couldn't go back and change stuff because too much was already based on it. That's one of the risks when working on such a huge project over a long time. Change something and you have to change it everywhere so it still looks like one piece. Standoff had it a bit easier there, with the episodic release.
Saga, on the other hand, could have re-written and re-recorded the dialogues for any character in the game a month before release. For some of the non-FMV characters, even a week before release would have been enough. It's not as hard as it may sound. I've been on projects where I had to rewrite all the game dialogues within two days, and I've been on projects where we had to beg the voiceover studio to call in the actors on an emergency schedule and get the voiceovers back to us within four-five days. And that's dealing with professional companies, where you need to settle on a price, get accounting to accept it and make a transfer, and where they need to schedule your project between other projects that they have. Dealing with an individual actor is much easier - you shoot him an email telling him you had to rewrite a bunch of lines, and asking if he would, pretty please, re-record them for you quickly. If he can't, you've always got the originals to fall back on, so it's not a big risk.
On top of that, Saga is not as big a project as it may feel, in this regard. Most roles are tiny ones that bother nobody. The big damage is inflicted by probably less than ten speaking roles, each with probably no more than five hundred lines (at the most). A rewrite is much faster than writing from scratch, and if you keep the filenames unchanged, you don't need to even touch the missions (except where cutting dialogues).
So, Saga's story could have been fixed even right before release. Two weeks would have been enough. But the real problem is not time, is it? The real problem is that until you release something to the public, all you have is your own impressions to go by. If you wrote something and you thought it was good, years may pass and you'll still think it's good, until you're confronted with public reaction that tells you otherwise. From what you guys tell me, it seems even so, there was a lot of internal debate about writing in Saga, and I'm guessing that the team did rewrite parts of the game a few months prior to release, and everyone were probably convinced that it's all looking good. That's pretty normal, and that's the real challenge developers have to deal with .