Watch Dogs began life as a very different game. When the team was formed years ago, the goal was to create a driving game.
"They were working on a driving engine, working on something. We had the Driver license. This was years ago," Ubisoft North America President Laurent Detoc told IGN. "Then we were thinking, 'no, this is not the way we want to go with a driving game,' so we canceled that and restarted. It's not like Watch Dogs started as Watch Dogs. The Watch Dogs project was initially another game."
Detoc added that some parts of the engine were then incorporated into Watch Dogs after the team reshuffled and added a new creative director. Ubisoft was also working on another driving game at the time – either Driver: San Francisco or The Crew – so it made sense to cancel the project. "What happens is that a game gets canceled, 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."
Watch Dogs, which was originally due to launch this year, was pushed back to Spring 2014 in October. The delay contributed to a drop in Ubisoft's stock, though company president Yves Guillemot is adamant "the team needed additional time to realize the game's full potential."