Call of Duty made bonkers bucks this generation by being an annualised series developed alternately by two studios: Treyarch and Infinity Ward (and later Sledgehammer with Raven helping out).
Could Battlefield do the same, an analyst asked EA?
"The challenges are you've got to most likely do it out of two studios because it's hard," answered chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen at a UBS conference (transcript by Seeking Alpha). "It's a two-year project."
"Battlefield takes us about two years to develop and so you want to make sure that you're sharing talent across studios, so you keep [the] core talent of the product and the experience for the consumer there. You also want to be really careful that you don't destroy the franchise along the way. You got to make it exciting and different, but at the same time you want to make sure you maintain a great franchise.
"And Battlefield is a product that doesn't just sell once," Jorgensen reminded us, "it sells for 24-months associated with not just Battlefield, but all the additional Battlefield Premium activities that the consumer wants. So you've got to be careful that you don't destroy some of that tail that is on the Battlefield product."
Swedish studio DICE makes the Battlefield games, the most recent of which is Battlefield 4, out now on PC, PS3 and 360, and on Friday on Xbox One and next Friday on PS4 (in the UK). After that, DICE will presumably move onto announced project Mirror's Edge 2.
Another DICE studio was opened in Los Angeles, US recently, but hands are full making Star Wars: Battlefront 3.
Was EA to annualise Battlefield, it's hard to see where the resources would come from.
One problem not having a Battlefield game - one backed by huge marketing bucks - on the slate does pose for EA is, "If Battlefield does well this year, you've dug a hole for next year," as Jorgensen put it. "How do you fill that hole?"
Well, he went on, there's a new UFC game coming out as well as "a magnificent Dragon Age... That should be a big hit for us next year." Then there's Titanfall, one of the highest-profile next-gen games on the horizon, which comes out 14th March 2014. EA is a busy bee.