I'd say major design decisions were made years ago. The time consuming things are art, programming, and polishing. Marketing is the sort of thing that kicks in late, after most of the other stuff is done.
Hope you guys are right...My job in RL is kicking in here... backfill. When I have someone on my team leave, I need to backfill that person.
They may have had a person in charge of player relations, giving input to decisions about business models and marketing plans for 1-year, 3-year, 5-year horizons after release. They may be backfilling that person, not creating a brand new position and filling it for the first time.
The key decisions about business models -- how to release DLC, how often, when to do expansions -- can be made or changed while development continues. The key decisions about gameplay -- how to build cities, how to wage war, which yields are used for which purposes -- those should be made already and locked in.