Update: EA has confirmed that Battlefield: Hardline is the title of an in-development game and that an official announcement will be made June 9 during EA's E3 press conference.
Battlefield won't be disappearing 2014, with recent financial reports confirming that EA has an unannounced title in the line-up for a fall release. What that Battlefield title will be has been, up until today, largely a mystery. With EA DICE working on the publisher's likely new breadwinner, Star Wars: Battlefront, one of their other studios would have to take up the Battlefield mantle. Who could it be? According to what appears to be a reliable leak Dead Space developers Visceral Games will be taking that torch, putting together what's now known to be Battlefield: Hardline.
Whoa, that's a lot of information for a leak, right? When it rains, it pours. A blogger named Koen V. dove into the source code for Battlelog -- the Battlefield social tracking platform attached to both Battlefield 4 and Battlefield 3. Apparently it was attached to another game too when Koen discovered files related to Battlefield: Hardline. Included in the files Koen found were a logo, dozens of unlockable weapons and vehicles, awards and references to maps and game modes. He found a leaker's treasure trove.
As for actual details regarding the game, we can only speculate. It certainly looks to be a different direction of sorts. Certainly, we can't expect too much of a change with regards to Battlefield's core gameplay and leveling features with only a year of development since the last Battlefield was released. Yet specific details imply a much smaller-scale experience. The two sides in the game are referred to as SWAT and THIEVES implying a small-crime type of shooting affair, rather than the "Army vs. Terrorists" style of other Battlefield games. Game modes like Heist and Blood Money accent this new style of game, perhaps inspired by Payday to an extent.
Yet the inclusion of vehicles like humvees with turrets on top of them, military helicopters and hi-grade weaponry definitely shows that the game won't stray far from its roots. Think smaller in theme, rather than structure. City blocks where cops and robbers can play out both chase sequences and small shoot-outs.
E3 is almost certain to place for Battlefield: Hardline's official announcement, so long as EA and Visceral don't break down and announce the game early now that it's leaked. The sooner we move on from Battlefield 4, the better.