Yes, Elizabeth, BioShock Infinite has been delayed.
While on the surface this may seem like the end of the world for BioShock fans, fear not: this can only mean good things for the world of Columbia, its inhabitants, and that scary Songbird. Just look at the open letter on the subject written by Ken Levine himself:
A MESSAGE FROM KEN LEVINE
When we announced the release date of BioShock Infinite in March, we felt pretty good about the timing.
Since then, we’ve come to realize that some specific tweaks and improvements will make Infinite into something even more extraordinary. Therefore, to give our talented team the time they need, we’ve decided to move the game’s release to February 26, 2013. We wanted to let our loyal (and very patient!) fans know this as soon as possible.
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?”
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.
Those don’t sound like the words of a guy who’s in trouble, right? Most delays happen because the game’s a technical mess or not up to expected quality…Irrational is delaying BioShock because they thought of things to make it BETTER. I can get behind that.
This line in particular sticks out: “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 public will never know what decisions were made after the original BioShock’s delay, but I think we can all agree that every single one of them was the right call. I have full faith that Irrational will repeat history here. To be honest, I’m more angry about the fact that BioShock Infinite won’t be at E3 anymore. That’s one less game I get to see!
Sure, the delay means we have to wait longer to travel through this crazy world in the sky, but there are other implications from this that could be interesting.
First and foremost, the usually crowded holiday season just became a little less crowded. E3 2012 hasn’t even started yet, and September, October, and November are already full, to the point of one big release every week. Starting in the first week of September is Far Cry 3 (Sept. 4), then Borderlands 2 (Sept. 18), Dead or Alive 5 (Sept. 25), Resident Evil 6 (October 2nd), Medal of Honor: Warfighter (Oct. 23), Assassin’s Creed III (Oct. 30), Halo 4 (Nov. 6), and Black Ops 2 (Nov. 13). That’s only THREE WEEKS (Sept. 11, Oct. 9, and now Oct. 16) with no notable releases. LUDICROUS. Of course, this is the pre-E3 schedule, so things are bound to get worse for our wallets anyway.
There’s another theory floating around that definitely intrigues me: maybe 2K wanted to make room for Grand Theft Auto V. Yes, Ken Levine talks about how he wants more time to add new things to BioShock, but I wonder if 2K didn’t tell him he could have the time to add stuff if he wanted it. Better yet, maybe BioShock was intended for a February 2013 release all along, throwing people trying to pinpoint GTA V’s release off of the scent. Now that the “delay” is in place, there’s a nice October 16th release date there for GTA V to occupy. Of course, that would mean that Rockstar would buck their recent Spring release schedule, so I’m not sure how likely that is, but it’s fun to wonder, right?
Here’s what I’m getting at: the delay of BioShock Infinite, while unfortunate, can only be a good thing. The game will be better for it, our wallets will be better for it, and the void created in October may even be filled by another huge Take-Two title in Grand Theft Auto V. If that’s not enough for you, I leave you with this quote from Nintendo’s own Shigeru Miyamoto:
A delayed game is eventually good. A bad game is bad forever.
Fear not, BioShock fans. You’ll have your day in the sun. It’s just further away than originally suggested.