Driver’s last title, San Francisco, was released in 2011 and failed to reach the sales success of its predecessors, but Watch Dogs was intended to rejuvenate the series with a modern-day upgrade.
According to VG247, Driver: San Francisco was in development at Ubisoft Reflections, while the Watch Dogs/Driver project was being discussed at Ubisoft Montreal.
“It was always modern day,” a Ubisoft source explained. “It had on-foot, parkour, combat as well as driving, all set in a large open-world city, and the main hook was always modern technology and hacking.
“After a while trying to make this concept fit into the Driver franchise, the decision was made to turn it into its own, new IP.”
They added: “[Ubisoft Montreal] just did their own thing and convinced Yves [Guillemot, CEO] he could have ‘his own GTA’ instead of the low selling Driver.”
Back in 2013, Ubisoft’s North American president Laurent Detoc told IGN about the process as one where the game had been cancelled and then remade to fit another IP.
“I wouldn’t say that Driver became Watch Dogs, because that’s not true,” he said. “That’s not really what happens. What happens is that a game gets cancelled, and then you take pieces of that game to make a new one.”
The VG247 article claims the project was “always largely what you see in the final product”. Ubisoft declined to comment on the article.
Meanwhile, a new Watch Dogs: Legion roadmap has been revealed, accounting for setbacks and delays to PvP mode and DLC.