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Why was Sniper Elite 4 delayed?

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Because they could delay it, basically

Sniper Elite's two releases since the series effectively rebooted in 2012 have all come in May or June. Tuesday, Rebellion Developments revealed their next game, Sniper Elite 4, launches Feb. 14, 2017, where many in the series' cult following had expected the game to arrive this year. What gives?

Jason and Chris Kingsley, the brothers who co-founded Rebellion, acknowledged that the studio originally planned to launch Sniper Elite 4 this year, making this a delay even if no formal date had been given.

"When we sat down recently to decide a launch date, we had a decision to make," the Kingsleys said in a statement. "Do we stick to 2016 as planned many moons ago, or do we give the team just a little more time to help them deliver beyond the promise that the game has already shown?"

The Kingsleys implied the decision was made sometime after a pre-alpha version was shown off at GDC in March. They noted that independently developing and publishing this game gives them the prerogative of doing so, rather than rushing out a sequel to meet a contracted deadline.

Sniper Elite 4 continues the story of jut-jawed, hawkeyed hero Karl Fairburne in World War II this time setting him down in Italy in 1943, on a mission preceding the Allied liberation of Europe. The game will feature a single-player campaign as well as co-operative and competitive multiplayer modes.

The first Sniper Elite launched on Xbox in 2005, then went quiet for seven years before returning in 2012 with Sniper Elite V2. Sniper Elite 3 was a surprise sales hit, particularly in Europe, when it launched in the early summer of 2014, typically a quiet period on the games calendar. Despite middling review scores over its lifespan, the series has still built a large and loyal following. Sniper Elite 4 will launch on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.

The game is being shown at E3. Here is 27 minutes of gameplay, via Eurogamer.