Source: Enthusiast gaming site Battlefield 3 Blog.
What we heard: Battlefield 3 has done what Electronic Arts had hoped it would, with COO Peter Moore saying there's no doubt DICE's first-person shooter has taken market share from Call of Duty. EA must now press that advantage, and it appears as if it may do so by returning to its sci-fi spin-off, Battlefield 2142.
As first reported by Battlefield 3 Blog, DICE included a small graffiti tag (pictured) in Battlefield 3's recently released Back to Karkand map pack reading "2143." The tag can be found in the Wake Island map. However, whether or not this figure portends an imminent game announcement or simply a developer teasing its fans remains to be seen.
BF3 Blog argues that DICE has a history of planting Easter Eggs in its add-on packs, most notably Battlefield 2 Armored Fury. In that game, the site notes, the number 2142 was a recurring figure, appearing on the license plate of a car and in a billboard ad.
The site claims these teases predated the announcement of Battlefield 2142. However, the timing on that isn't quite right, as EA officially confirmed Battlefield 2142 in March 2006, but didn't release Battlefield 2 Armored Fury until June 2006.
Still, the number 2143 is tantalizing. In 2009, EA released Battlefield 1943, a stand-alone download-only shooter set a year after the original installment in the franchise. The Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and PC game featured a number of maps first seen in previous Battlefield games. The game proved to be a substantial success for EA, setting then-Xbox Live sales records and going on to sell more than 1.2 million units.
The official story: "We love our fans attention to detail and hunger for more Battlefield but there is no news on this front."--An EA representative.
Bogus or not bogus: Tentative not bogus. If EA is looking to differentiate itself in the current landscape of first-person shooters (as much as one can differentiate itself in the current landscape of first-person shooters), time warping back to the future seems like a smart move. Plus, it seems highly unlikely DICE would include such a loaded number as 2143 without some ulterior motive.