Publisher 2K Games seems to be miraculously lenient with its developers and release schedules, first moving an entire release (XCOM), to come out long after a newer, related title (XCOM: Enemy Unknown), and now delaying BioShock Infinite simply because it can be even better (at least that's the reason Irrational Games creative director Ken Levine gives). It's almost like they care more about game quality than the bottom line or something crazy like that.
We'll let Levine spill it all:
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?”
It's noted you won't see the game at E3 and Gamescom, but when you do again, it will be pretty much exactly what you get on launch day (now February 26, 2013).