California studio Visceral is developing the latest instalment in the Battlefield series, with a release date planned for 2014, according to a new report.
A Polygon report suggests that the project, code-named Havana, is a police-themed Battlefield title. Aside from its suggested 2014 release date, there were no further details on the rumoured title.
Questions over how EA was going to annualise its FPS properties were raised when, in January 2013, it was announced that EA would withdraw investment in its Medal of Honor titles.
In August, then-EA Games label boss Frank Gibeau said the new vision for EA FPSes was based on three franchises:
"The shooter rotation we think about now is Battlefield, Titanfall and Battlefront, and so we like those three brands going forward. We're working out how we're going to line that up because that's what you'll see from us," he said at the time.
At the same time, a representative for Sweden studio DICE, the creator and custodian of the Battlefield series, insisted that the outfit "can't build a Battlefield game at DICE every year".
It is possible that DICE will now focus efforts on the Battlefield 5 project, planned for release in late 2015, while Visceral develops the spin-off, though such plans have not yet been announced.
Behind the scenes, Visceral has been gradually hiring key developers with expertise in first-person shooters. In September, a Halo 4 lead designer joined the outfit, and in February 2012 the studio hired Guerrilla co-founder Arjan Brussee.
Visceral Games is known for its work on the acclaimed Dead Space series, of which the third instalment sold below internal expectations. This resulted in a rumour that a Visceral satellite studio, based in Montreal, was told the Dead Space 4 project was cancelled amid a round of redundancies.
EA denied the report at the time, but has yet to confirm whether it is working on a new Dead Space game.
In January, an unknown number of developers at the newly-formed Guildford studio Ghost Games were told they were being considered for redundancy. It is also claimed that remaining staff are now helping on the Battlefield project at Visceral, with the new Need For Speed project suspended.
EA has confirmed that some Ghost Games staff have entered into a consultation period, meaning their jobs are not entirely secure, but has not commented further.