Ken Levine has just announced that BioShock Infinite will now be released on February 26 2013, rather than the original date of October 16 this year.

The news was broken via email about 10 minutes ago.

"When we announced the release date of BioShock Infinite in March, we felt pretty good about the timing," reads the message from Levine.

"Since then, we've come to realise 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."

Levine adds that the final game will benefit from the increased development time:

"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?'"

Furthermore, Irrational and 2K have elected not to show off the game at E3 or gamecom, preferring to concentrate on getting everything finished.

"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."

BioShock Infinite will almost certainly benefit from the move to Februrary; rather than competing against the likes of Halo 4, Black Ops 2 and Assassin's Creed 3, it'll now sit comfortably in the same slot that did well for Mass Effect 3.

Does this lend credence to the idea that Grand Theft Auto V could be released in October, as suggested by Michael Pachter, a few weeks ago? That now seems like less of a silly notion, though I'd personally still bet on Rockstar favouring May, a month that's served them well in the recent past.