Ubisoft North American president Laurent Detoc told the publication that the developer first had its eyes on a new Driver title. Three years ago, however, the team changed directions.
"We were thinking, ‘no, this is not the way we want to go with a driving game,' so we cancelled that and restarted," Detoc said. "It's not like Watch Dogs started as Watch Dogs. The Watch Dogs project was initially another game. At some point it changed."
According to Detoc, it's not as though Driver morphed into Watch Dogs, but rather that the initial racing project was canned. Some of the work created for that project, however, was reused in the upcoming open-world title.
"I wouldn't say that Driver became Watch Dogs, because that's not true," Detoc said. "That's not really what happens. 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 is slated for launch in spring 2014.