Will EA release a new Battlefield game in 2014?

Unconfirmed reports abound, as analyst says if there is a new Battlefield game next year, DICE won't be the developer; could it be Criterion?

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Electronic Arts management has informed gaming business analyst Michael Pachter that if there is a new Battlefield game in 2014, it won't come from series steward DICE.

"Although they have not yet announced a version of Battlefield for FY:15, they confirmed that our understanding is spot on and that if a version of Battlefield were to be released in FY:15, it would be developed by a studio other than DICE," Pachter said in a note to investors obtained by Kotaku.

For reference, EA's fiscal year 2015 runs April 1, 2014 through March 31, 2015.

If it's not DICE developing 2014's Battlefield game, who could it be? It was suggested today that Burnout developer Criterion Games had been enlisted for the job. Writing on Twitter today, studio head Alex Ward did not deny this, but instead said, "I'm not in a position to comment." Criterion may be best known for creating the Burnout series, but the United Kingdom studio also developed 2006's PlayStation 2 and original Xbox FPS Black.

Separately, Pachter told Eurogamer that Dead Space 3 developer Visceral Games is a likely candidate for the job. Visceral Games' only confirmed project currently is a new Star Wars title as part of EA's wide-ranging deal with Disney that makes the game publisher the exclusive creator of Star Wars games through 2023.

DICE, which is a multi-team studio, has a number of projects on its hands already. In addition to additional Battlefield 4 expansions, the studio is working on an all-new Mirror's Edge game and a new Star Wars: Battlefront title.

With the Medal of Honor series now out of rotation, some have suggested that EA would elect to annualize the Battlefield series, similar to Assassin's Creed or Call of Duty. However, CFO Blake Jorgensen explained last month why doing so could be problematic from a business and creative perspective.

"You also want to be really careful that you don’t destroy the franchise along the way," Jorgensen said at the time. "You've got to make it exciting and different, but at the same time you want to make sure you maintain a great franchise." He also explained that core Battlefield games can't be developed in under two years, necessitating that development be spread across at least two studios.

We've reached out to EA for comment.

Activision will deliver a new Call of Duty game in fall 2014, and EA will presumably launch a product alongside it. What the game is, however, remains to be seen.

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