Oh, Origin. You do it for a bit of attention, don't you? Like the kid at school that gets picked on for being a bit of a goof, every now and then you trip up in the school playground just to give the other children something else to laugh at.

If Crysis 3 wasn't a big enough leak, Origin now has its sights set on something bigger, spilling the beans on Battlefield 4 - a game which, you know, is probably hidden somewhere deep inside a Swedish vault.

But ignoring EA's gaffe for a moment (an Origin leak, after all, is soon becoming par for the course), it was the reaction to the 'reveal' of Battlefield 4 that took me by surprise.

Flicking through various message boards, forums and article reactions, there is an astonishing amount of people disappointed, upset, or even angry at the existence of Battlefield 4.

There appear to be three key problems with the idea of the next game being Battlefield 4 - but I'm struggling to understand the logic behind any of them.


'It isn't Bad Company 3'

Bad company

As much as I'd love to see the return of Marlowe, Sweetwater and the rest of B Company, given the sales gap between Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3, I think it would be rather optimistic to believe that EA would pass up the opportunity to release Battlefield 4 while hype for the core series is still high. Releasing another entry in the less popular Bad Company series could potentially hurt the momentum of the Battlefield brand, and when EA is battling against Call of Duty for shooter dominance, that's the last thing it would want to do.

The core Battlefield series is clearly where the chatter is at the moment, then. It crops up almost every week in our VG Plays, and just look at how many of you have signed up for Premium. Given how hard EA worked on restoring anticipation for its core brand last year, it would be silly to expect them to switch the focus back to the sub-series.

The only key difference between the two is the single-player, and who buys a Battlefield game for that anyway? Granted, multiplayer map design may be slightly different, especially given the new modes introduced in Battlefield 3. But who's to say that the maps which could have appeared in Bad Company 3 won't appear in Battlefield 4?


'I've only just bought Battlefield 3: Premium'


Dropping £40 on a service only to learn that a sequel is on the way is clearly going to be a disappointment, and I can certainly empathise with anyone who has signed up to Premium only to learn that their content could be redundant within 18 months.

But the assumption that we wouldn't see another Battlefield game for a while because of Premium, or that the revelation of Battlefield 4 'devalues' your Premium content, seems a fairly ignorant argument.

After all, when compared to the service provided by Activision, it still seems to offer the best long term value of the two 'big' shooters. Premium's content will likely offer you two years' worth of entertainment, rather than the 12 month turnaround of Call of Duty: Elite.

The argument here, I guess, is that players won't get quite as much play time out of their content as they had initially thought, given that a new Battlefield game could be released in the months following the final drop.

But given the timings of the DLC releases (the final piece launches in March 2013), Battlefield 3's DLC has clearly been fashioned to transition players onto a new Battlefield game just as the excitement of the final expansion pack starts to wane. And really, didn't we all expect that...?


'It's too soon'


This one is the most difficult point to argue given that there's no indication of release timings for Battlefield 4. But nonetheless, there appears to be an argument that core Battlefield games deserve more time to breathe than sub-series' like Bad Company or 2142. Battlefield 2, players are arguing, was played by many for years, and Battlefield 3 deserves a similar grace.

At this stage, though - and as I argued earlier - is there all that much to differentiate the Bad Company series and the core one? Let's say the next game had been Bad Company 3. I'd wager that EA would still be targeting a good proportion of players to jump over from Battlefield 3.

And if you're concerned that this means new Battlefield games might start being released on a more regular basis than in years previous, I'd suggest you stop worrying.

EA has been surprisingly forthcoming on its strategy to alternate between Battlefield and Medal of Honor on a bi-annual basis. Only last week, a comment from EA Labels boss Frank Gibeau said that the publisher was avoiding annualising Battlefield to avoid "sequel fatigue", and to "use a sequencing strategy to keep it as fresh and different as possible."

From Gibeau's comments it's logical to deduct that Battlefield 4 won't be released until at least 2013, and likely not until EA's favoured late October slot.

Gibeau's comments are echoed by DICE's Patrick Bach, too, who believes that annualising Battlefield will eventually "kill the franchise".

"We need the time to be able to create the next game that consumers will hopefully like," Bach told me in an interview prior to my time at VideoGamer.

"If we were to release another big Battlefield title [in 2012], that would mean that we'd have less than a year to build it, and that would mean that we'd have to have another studio building it for us, which would mean it wouldn't have that DICE seal of approval, which would mean they'd just have to release a copy of the game we just released. Ugh, no."

He continued: "EA would never force [DICE] to release a game every year".

EA may have shot its load early then, albeit accidentally, but its strategy for the future of the Battlefield franchise still seems fairly reasonable.

And, lest we forget, very few people complained when Battlefield 3 launched only 18 months after Bad Company 2...