BioShock Infinite Delayed Until February 2013 to Make the Game ‘Even Better’

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Irrational Games

You’ll have to wait a little longer to visit BioShock Infinite‘s theocratic dystopia-in-the-sky: Creative lead Ken Levine says the company has decided to push back the release to February 26, 2013 in order to “give our talented team the time they need.”

“When we announced the release date of BioShock Infinite in March, we felt pretty good about the timing,” writes Levine in a note posted on Irrational’s website. “Since then, we’ve come to realize that some specific tweaks and improvements will make Infinite into something even more extraordinary.”

BioShock Infinite is Irrational’s followup to the original BioShock — not a direct sequel or prequel, but a spiritual successor with thematic and mechanical similarities. Like the original game, it’s a first-person shooter with roleplaying aspects as well as a paranormal angle whereby you gain special abilities over the course of the game. But the way all those pieces interrelate is significantly different, as is the game’s alternate history setting: an enigmatic floating city (suspended by blimps and balloons) called Columbia, circa 1912.

Levine says it’s the sheer scope of the game that prompted Irrational to push back the release date:

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 … The same principle now applies to BioShock Infinite.

What does this mean for you? It means a bit more waiting, but more importantly, it means an even better BioShock Infinite. The great can be made greater, and we owe it to both ourselves and to you, our fans, to take this opportunity. Irrational Games is one of those rare developers lucky enough to ask the people who sign the checks: “Hey, can we have a few more of those checks?”

And in a move I’ll applaud because I personally find most tech and game trade shows a waste of time (well, unless they’re GDC), Irrational says not to look for BioShock Infinite to hit the stage this summer:

We are also going to hold off on showing BioShock Infinite at the big events of the summer, like E3 and Gamescom. That way, the next time you see our game, it will be essentially the product we intend to put in the box. Preparing for these events takes time away from development, time we’re going to use instead to get the best version of Infinite into your hands in February.

Levine was one of our picks for the 2012 TIME 100 Poll of the world’s most influential people “from politics to tech to pop culture.” If he says the game needs more time, it needs more time, and I’d wholeheartedly endorse pushing it back to 2015 and beyond if that’s what it takes to get the job done right.