Grand Theft Auto 5 will be available globally on September 17 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Rockstar has announced.

Although a release date has never been mentioned prior to this news, the game was expected somewhat earlier.

“We know this is about four months later than originally planned and we know that this short delay will come as a disappointment to many of you, but, trust us, it will be worth the extra time,”said Rockstar.

“GTA V is a massively ambitious and complex game and it simply needs a little more polish to be of the standard we and, more importantly, you require.

“To all Grand Theft Auto fans, please accept our apologies for the delay, and our promise that the entire team here is working very hard to make the game all it can be.

“We are doing all we can to help ensure it will meet if not exceed your expectations come September – we thank you for your support and patience.”

After some users commenting on the news were less than understanding, Rockstar was prompted to add:

“Hey all, we understand many of you guys are disappointed with this news – unfortunately sometimes such delays are necessary in all forms of entertainment, and especially in the case of a game experience as massive and complex as GTAV.”

“However this does not give you free reign to be abusive in comments. The general rules of common courtesy, decency and behavior as listed above the Comment Box still apply here, therefore anyone continuing to post abusive comments will have their privileges suspended.

“Also for those of you asking about the official box art, that will be coming out a bit later as well. Thank you all for understanding.”

There was no further word on a PC version, which – along with a Wii U port – Rockstar said is "up for consideration".

GTA V is one of the most anticipated games of 2013, and is the first in the series to feature three protagonists.