Upon hearing EA claim that Battlefield will not succumb to annual sequelitis like Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, and their ilk, I was immediately reminded of that time it snapped up the domains for Battlefields 13-20. I'm not saying it's indicative of anything, just that I can't help but think of it, given the context. But yes, despite the fact that we're now on our second consecutive battleyear thanks to Battlefield Hardline, the series is apparently not an annual guarantee.
EA Studios executive vice president Patrick Söderlund explained to Polygon:
"The EA that I'm trying to help build isn't an EA that needs to annualize everything."
The actual genesis of Hardline, apparently, was simply an idea from Visceral, and even before that DICE had wanted to do a cops and robbers themed game. It just made sense, or so the story goes. The plan, then, was simple: put Visceral on a Battlefield pseudo-expansion to test their Battlefield chops. And thus, Hardline was born.
"[Hardline] doesn't necessarily mean that we need to annualize Battlefield and that's the way it's going to be forever and ever. I understand that some people may look at it that way but that's what happened."
Which is all to say, it might be a little while before EA decides it needs to nab the domains for Battlefields 21 through XCIX-13B.
Now let's hope the next "real" Battlefield only shows up when it's good and ready, because BF4 was an inexcusable mess. And as for Hardline, well, I hope Visceral can make better use of what is essentially the same framework. Otherwise it's gonna be a looooooooong battleyear.