You can scratch one game release off your calendar for this year. On the official Irrational Games blog this morning, company co-founder and design guru Ken Levine announced that BioShock Infinite will miss its planned October 16 release by quite a bit. A little over four months, in fact. The pseudo-steampunk shooter is now scheduled for a February 26, 2013 debut.
That's a pretty long delay for a title whose exact release date was set more than two months ago. What gives? According to Levine, the Infinite team has "come to realize that some specific tweaks and improvements will make Infinite into something even more extraordinary." Or, to elaborate:
I won’t kid you: BioShock Infinite is a very big game, and we’re doing things that no one has ever done in a first-person shooter. We had a similar experience with the original BioShock, which was delayed several months as our original ship date drew near. Why? Because the Big Daddies weren’t the Big Daddies you’ve since come to know and love. Because Andrew Ryan’s golf club didn’t have exactly the right swing. Because Rapture needed one more coat of grimy Art Deco.
As much as that sounds like pure spin, I can't fault the Irrational guys if they're really letting a deadline slip for the sake of quality and polish. Entirely too many games ship with bugs and rushed, unfulfilling content these days. Studios that take their time, like Valve and id Software, almost always produce substantially higher-quality games, even if they spend a long time in incubation. I'd say that's a small price to pay.