Ubisoft has revealed that the engine for Watch Dogs was originally intended for a different game focused on driving, potentially in the Driver franchise. Speaking to IGN, Ubisoft North American president Laurent Detoc explained that the team working on the project realized an open-world game was a better fit than their original vision.
“Watch Dogs wasn’t started as Watch Dogs,” Detoc told IGN. “They were working on a driving engine, working on something. We had the Driver license. This was years ago. Then we were thinking, ‘no, this is not the way we want to go with a driving game,’ so we cancelled that and restarted. It’s not like Watch Dogs started as Watch Dogs. The Watch Dogs project was initially another game. At some point it changed. That’s at least three years ago, and then the Watch Dogs project reused some of the work that had been done on this driving engine.”
“It’s not that Driver became Watch Dogs, so much as the driving game we made was a driving game,” Detoc elaborated. “The decision was made that there was another driving game being made and this one should be an open-world game where the guy comes out of the car and does other things. Then the team decides to reshuffle itself entirely. A few other people come in, a new creative director, and then they start a new game. I wouldn’t say that Driver became Watch Dogs, because that’s not true. 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. We could have had another driving engine from another team in another place, and then it would have been used by the Watch Dogs team.”
Quoted from IGN
Interesting, I loved the Driver franchise until the one with Vin Diesel in it. I'd love to see a new Driver game in the future. Maybe a reboot for the franchise.