Tomb RaiderCrystal Dynamics’ reboot of the classic Tomb Raider franchise has been delayed until early next year, the developer announced in a forum post today.

Crystal Dynamics, a subsidiary of publisher Square Enix, says it wants to ensure that it can “fully deliver the very highest quality game.” Studio Head Darrell Gallagher writes, “In order to do this, we have decided to move the game’s release date by a few months, from fall 2012 to the first quarter of 2013.”

The new Tomb Raider features a young and inexperienced Lara Croft who struggles to survive on a forgotten island armed only with her own instincts and will to survive. The developer is promising an intense and gritty story that will be a departure from the series’ earlier, lighter fare.

“We’re doing things that are completely new to Tomb Raider in this game, and the additional development time will allow us to put the finishing touches into the game and polish it to a level that you deserve,” Gallagher adds. “We believe this is the right choice, and I guarantee it will be worth the wait. The game is looking amazing, and we can’t wait to show it to everyone at [industry trade show] E3 in a few weeks.”

Delaying Tomb Raider is probably a smart move on Square Enix’s part, as it keeps the game’s launch within the publisher’s fiscal year but also moves it out of a very crowded holiday season. The original expected launch window of fall 2012 would have put the title in direct competition with Resident Evil 6, Dishonored, and Assassin’s Creed III in October, or Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Halo 4 in November.