EA could be planning to take Need For Speed out of annual rotation according to hints from Ghost Games' creative director Craig Sullivan, who told VideoGamer.com earlier this week that the developer "could stop and wait a few years" before doing another title.
"Who knows?" said Sullivan, when asked whether Need For Speed could be moving away from annualisation. "At the moment everybody [at Ghost UK] and everybody at Gothenburg is working on Rivals and we need to finish the game. There are lots of different things we could do after that, but no core decisions have been made yet.
"There are lots of ideas floating around, but the reality is that it takes so much for a team to ship a game that we are 100 per cent focussed on this. Then when we're done and the game is out and people are having fun with it, then we'll look at exactly what the future holds for us.
"The future is obviously Need For Speed because Ghost are picking up the Need For Speed banner, but that can mean many different things. We've done many different things at Criterion and Ghost in the past. When we finished Burnout Paradise we did a year of Paradise. We could stop and wait a few years and do another game or we could do another game sooner. Or we could do a service or we could do tablet stuff. The fact is, there are lots of different things we can do and we will make the decision on exactly what that's going to be once this game is done."
If the decision is made to move away from annual releases it would break a 16-year tradition for the series, which has seen a new Need For Speed title released each year since 1997.
This year, however, has seen big changes made to the series, with control over the IP being transferred from Criterion to Ghost - a change Sullivan believes has been "beneficial to everybody involved".
"We have some interesting plans for the future which obviously I'm not going to talk about," said Sullivan when quizzed over how Ghost UK and Ghost Gothenburg would be co-ordinating on projects going forward.
"At the moment our focus is on Rivals and making this game as good as we possibly can. We've been through some changes and it's all been good and really beneficial to everybody involved, but what happens after this is something that we're working out now and looking very closely at. I can't go into details on that stuff. I'm sure you and many other people will draw your own conclusions from that."
Need For Speed: Rivals launches on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on November 22. A PlayStation 4 version follows on November 29.