Watch Dogs: we won’t start a game unless we can franchise it, says Ubisoft

Monday, 15th July 2013 15:45 GMT By Dave Cook

Watch Dogs sounds like it will become a long-running series, following comments from Ubisoft’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, Tony Key, who has said the company won’t start a game unless it can turn it into a franchise.

Speaking with [a]List Daily, Key was asked if he wanted to see Watch Dogs become a franchise, to which he replied, “That’s what all our games are about; we won’t even start if we don’t think we can build a franchise out of it. There’s no more fire and forget – it’s too expensive.

“We feel like we’re in a really good place with Watch_Dogs, but until we’re the biggest game of the year we’re not going to be satisfied. Last year we cleaned up at E3 because we were pretty much the only next-gen game around.

“Watch_Dogs for us is really a franchise because we’re tapping into something people really care about, never more than when the NSA PRISM scandal broke.”

When asked how closely Watch Dogs was created with real-world surveillance scandals and strategies like PRISM in mind, Key added, “Absolutely. At one point in Watch Dogs, Aidan taps into the surveillance system of an apartment building and he’s looking at what everyone is doing.

“We had a screen shot of this guy sitting in his apartment with a department store female mannequin sitting with him and he’s talking to it. When the PRISM story broke on Wednesday, we had that screen shot out on Friday on social media and said ‘You never know who’s watching.’ We were able to react very quickly, and that’s what social media brings.”

Meanwhile, Ubisoft has stressed that current-gen builds of Watch Dogs will have no trimmed-down features when compared to next-gen editions. Check out the details here.




  1. Dark

    Can’t wait for
    Assassins Creed 14 ,Watch Dogs 8 ,The Division 5 , The Crew 4 and FarCry 7!!!

    #1 1 year ago
  2. SplatteredHouse

    This sounds like silliness. Anything can be the start of a franchise, as long as there are other, related, titles following it. If things are only developed with that as one of the corner-stones: “Must have a sequel”. Well, I’m not sure that’s healthy.

    “That’s what all our games are about” Thanks for reminding me about why AC stopped at 2.
    Oh, and they broke their own rule so far, with BG&E!

    #2 1 year ago
  3. Edo

    #3 1 year ago
  4. JRNO

    I would rather have some finality at the end of a game than go through a dozen games with 4 fluff filled spin-offs in between releases just to experience another cliffhanger. Assassin’s really dropped the ball after Brotherhood in this regard.

    It’s a request made in vain, but I’ll make it: please don’t milk it too much.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Madgame

    Zombii U 2?

    #5 1 year ago
  6. SplatteredHouse

    @5 “ZombiiU not even close to being profitable” – Yves Guillemot, 2013 I don’t see them going for that particular sequel, somehow!

    #6 1 year ago
  7. monkeygourmet

    All Ubi’s ‘franchises’ are starting to bleed into each other though…

    Watchdogs plays like Splinter Cell, which plays a bit like AC etc… etc…

    All these ‘borrowed’ ideas are making their titles less and less unique.

    Ironically, the freshest and most fun idea I think they have had recently is Zombi U… And their NOT making a sequel?! lol

    #7 1 year ago
  8. DSB


    #8 1 year ago
  9. monkeygourmet


    I still think thats because they changed the whole game mid way through the dev cycle…

    #9 1 year ago
  10. SplatteredHouse

    OH god, Splinter Cell… *sound of cats clashing, things crashing and smashing in the process* Why did you have to remind me about that? :p

    @9 I was not aware of that, but it does explain a bit. I always thought they were hit by developing alongside the platform, launch came and they went with what they had, to catch initial wave of interest. Didn’t exactly get a tsunami, though.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. hitnrun

    @8: Yep, we sure are.

    Companies don’t do this crap out of malevolence. They do it because people buy annual sequels.

    I felt my brain go numb about 1/4 of the way through AC:BroHood, and when I awoke in the darkness I hit the power button on my Xbox and haven’t paid the franchise a speck of attention since. (Fun MP on that title though).

    But people keep buying the annual installments. And since I myself bought a nested sequel to a sequel, I can’t really judge. But as long as gamers keep buying them, they’ll keep making them that way.

    The only obstacle is that when you design a franchise, you forget that you’re actually designing a game first, and sometimes it’s no good.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. MCTJim

    Now this is a game where Digital Content download can offer cheaper future sequels.

    #12 1 year ago
  13. Madgame

    @6 I know, that’s why I posted that since the title of the article indicates they won’t create a game unless they can franchise it. It’s a false statement, given the statement regarding Zombii U

    #13 1 year ago
  14. fearmonkey

    IF they can make Bioshock a multi-game franchise, they can make anything a franchise.

    #14 1 year ago
  15. bradk825

    It makes good financial sense but it’s not a good commentary on creativity.

    On the one hand the fire and forget stories are good, they offer closure at the end of the game most of the time, and they offer us something new.

    On the other, when storytellers create a world that’s good enough, people want more of it. That’s why the star wars universe has so many movies, cartoons, novels and games based on it, as well as star trek while we’re talking about stars.

    We all know what it comes down to. It takes at least four times the staff to make a great AAA game now than it did in the days of PS2 and Xbox. The graphics and physics have drastically improved, and with them come man-hours and tech that is pricey. Not to mention the heightened demand for great story-telling is causing companies to invest in better writers and voice actors. In the early days of Xbox 360 I played a little game that included Patrick Stewart and Sean Bean.

    So the tremendous expense of building bigger and better certainly would cause them to make decisions on games that they can make more of. I like it but I don’t, because I like to play more games set in a universe I have long enjoyed, but I also like stories in new settings that I’ve never seen before.

    That being said, I am sure to pick up Elder Scrolls Online, Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, Thief and other sequels of beloved stories, but along with that I expect to add Destiny to my collection and see what new world Bungie has in store for me this time.

    #15 1 year ago
  16. TheWulf


    That, right there, is exactly what’s wrong with the mainstream.

    We make generic burgers, so you always know what you can expect when you come back for another!

    It’s sad that the mainstream isn’t even the slight bit adventurous, and thus new IPs are hard to come by, and everyone has a chronic case of sequel-itis, even resorting to IP rape when necessary.

    Well, that’s binned my hope for this one, seeing how Ubisoft ran Assassin’s Creed into the ground.

    Thanks for saving me money, Ubi!

    #16 1 year ago
  17. TheWulf


    That’s one of the reasons I love indie games, they tend to be complete experiences, and brilliantly different ones at that. You can sit down with an indie game and expect a complete story, rather than having the ending replaced with a trollface taglined with ‘stay tuned for the next expensive installment.’

    Even with Telltale’s episodes, you can expect them to bring the story to the end after the already agreed upon number of episodes. So that’s nice. But with this… I don’t know, they just remove the ending to release another game, full of padding, just so they can run the IP into the ground. How many times has Assassin’s Creed pulled the trollface ending now, anyway? When will it stop doing that?

    I’m just really not interested in it any more. I don’t like the flavour of the mainstream, anyway. It tastes like burger joint, and I know I can do better for myself.

    #17 1 year ago

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