Crystal Dynamics' next Tomb Raider title has been moved from its crowded Fall 2012 slot to "the first quarter of 2013," studio head Darrell Gallagher announced.
The official reason behind the delay is the usual rationale of polishing and tweaking "to make this the very highest quality game" the studio can deliver, and the Crystal D community is invited to ask Gallagher questions about the delay in this forum thread, which will be addressed in a podcast later on.
Getting Tomb Raider the hell out of the busiest season of the year is probably a more likely reason. While August is still relatively calm before any the E3 release date announcements, Square Enix -- Tomb Raider's publisher -- already has Sleeping Dogs positioned in the middle of the month. September features Far Cry 3 and Borderlands 2, and probably a million other games trying to escape the later months' madness.
Releasing it in October would pit Tomb Raider against Resident Evil 6, Dishonored, Medal of Honor: Warfighter, and Assassin's Creed III. November has Halo 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and Square Enix's Hitman: Absolution.
Given that the last two years, the first quarter of the calendar year has seen a healthy flow of big games with plenty of breathing space between them, it's safe to say we'll have to wait for a February or March release.
Crystal Dynamics also revealed a shiny new screenshot of Miss Croft trying to hit a corpse pinata, "hinting at content you'll be seeing at E3," to keep everyone occupied for the next 3 weeks.
Tomb Raider release date shifts to 2013 [Tomb Raider official forum]