Ubisoft senior vice president of sales and marketing Tony Key has said in an [A]list Daily interview that its upcoming action title Watch Dogs will be the foundation of a major franchise.
Key said that while the game is putting Ubisoft "in a really good place," the company will not be satisfied with just the first entry. "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 – [starting and releasing one is] too expensive."
Key also explained the difficulty in launching and building up new intellectual properties. "There's no proven DNA for people to latch onto for people to say 'I understand what that brand is about.' Especially when you're annualizing something like Just Dance or an Assassin's Creed, you understand that experience and you either want to be part of that community or you don't. We can tap into that and get a faster start."
"With Assassin's Creed IV, we start with those 4 million users on our Facebook page. With Watch Dogs, we're in acquisition mode--we're trying to find people who are intrigued by the concept of what Watch Dogs is all about, about the surveillance and the hacking. It's a whole different strategy in the social space--we're trying to acquire people, where with Assassin's Creed we're trying to get more engagement."
Key added that despite the press being excited for Watch Dogs, there are people outside the gaming community who aren't aware of the game's existence. "We're in blockbuster world, and Watch Dogs needs to be a blockbuster because it deserves to be and as a company that's what we need it to be. It's the most ambitious production in the history of Ubisoft, and we need to make sure that everybody who likes video games has a chance to decide that this game is going to be hot. That's the hard part about a new brand, that awareness outside the core needs to be created."