Operating on the idea that the market currently runs in a "blockbuster world," Ubisoft will not develop a game unless they feel they can build a franchise on it, according to a recent interview with senior vice president of sales and marketing Tony Key on A List Daily.
Key said that last fall's Assassin's Creed 3 included the largest marketing campaign the company has ever launched, but that it "doesn't feel so big any more." The company now sets the game's campaign as a precedent, and will apply the "blockbuster" approach to upcoming titles Assassin's Creed 4 and Watch Dogs.
When asked, Key said that the company views Watch Dogs as the foundation of a larger franchise, something the company keeps in mind when deliberating game ideas.
"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," he said. "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," he added. "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."
Key added that Ubisoft "absolutely" changes its marketing technique when a current event relates to their game. The ongoing situation regarding the Prism surveillance program is similar to Watch Dogs' strong emphasis on information sharing and intelligence gathering — something Ubisoft has taken advantage of.
"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," he said. "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."