A delay? From Blizzard? That is the most unexpected thing I've read all day.

Knock the company for their seemingly infinite ability to push project launch windows back all you want, but Blizzard knows how to make a well polished, quality video game. They're looking to repeat their process with Diablo III.

It was announced by way of press release this morning that Blizzard will not be shipping Diablo III this year. Instead, they've delayed the title until sometime in early 2012. Let it be known that this official press release actually pokes fun at the delaying tendencies of Blizzard, as the headline reads "HELL FREEZES OVER — DIABLO® III TO SHIP IN EARLY 2012…" The opening words of the release are also amazing:

"Despite a sterling record of always hitting its release targets, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced that the expected launch window for Diablo® III, the next title in the company's critically acclaimed series of action role-playing games, will be moving into early 2012."

Yes, a sterling record. Love it.

The company looks to take the extra time to continue their closed beta phase and learn as much as they possibly can about the project while completing their build. Mike Morhaime, CEO and Co-founder of Blizzard, spoke more seriously about the decision to delay the game and offered a comment that suggested the delay will definitely benefit consumers in the long run.

"With every game we make, the temptation is always very strong to launch as soon as possible. However, we didn't put so many years of work into Diablo III to release a game that was almost read…

…The beta test is going very well, and we look forward to making the most of the extra time we're taking to deliver an experience that lives up to our vision for the game and the expectations of our players. Next year is going to be an incredibly busy one for Blizzard, and we hope an incredibly fun one for Blizzard gamers."

Okay, seriously, you had to see this coming. Right?

[via Blizzard]