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A journey through the history of Anno

The Anno Union is about the journey of Anno 1800 and future Anno titles, but sometimes it feels good to just lean back and take a look what made the previous Anno games so beloved for so many players. To start you all off into the weekend, come and join us on a trip down memory lane.

It all started in 1998 with the cornerstone of the franchise, Anno 1602. This classic established all the key ingredients of the Anno gameplay formula that we still adhere to, from the humble beginnings with just a ship full of goods and an empty island, to your first few fishing and woodcutting huts and finally, after many hours (and the occasional bankruptcy and restart) a flourishing city.

And while a lot has changed since (hello, third dimension!), we still adhere to many of those core tenets today in the development of Anno 1800.

Fans had to wait four long years for the next evolution in the series, with Anno 1503 releasing in fall 2002. As a classic sequel, 1503 offered fans more of the beloved Anno gameplay, while improving it and adding more complexity to many aspects. Players were now able to discover varied climate zones, interact with several new cultures, and use a larger variety of military units to settle any disputes. Of course, we couldn’t talk about Anno 1503 without mentioning the multiplayer controversy, with the initially promised mode being delayed and ultimately cancelled- in fact, those events are one of the reasons why we already announced that Anno 1800 will have multiplayer from day one!

The next game in the series, Anno 1701, is very special to us here at Ubisoft Blue Byte Mainz, as it was the first game in the series that our team (under its original name Related Designs) developed. In fact, many of the members of the 1701 team are still with us, and are now some of the key members of the Anno 1800 team -including our Executive Producer, Creative Director, Art Director and our Technical Directors! So what was new in Anno 1701 besides the developer? The biggest difference was of course the jump to 3D graphics, bringing your islands to life in an all-new dimension. By the time the game released in 2006, the step to 3D was overdue, especially given the series’ tradition of being on the cutting edge for strategy game visuals. Needless to say that this is a tradition that lives on to this day, as we definitely hope that Anno 1800 will be a great looking game by the time it releases in Winter 2018.

The new team here in Mainz were able to follow up their Anno debut with one of the most beloved entries in the series when they released Anno 1404 in 2009. Building on the three previous games, 1404 combined deep gameplay, great graphics and a lengthy campaign to become the pinnacle (and to date last) of the historic Anno games. It also introduced a Diplomacy system, which will return in Anno 1800 to give you many options when it comes to interacting with your fellow rulers.

Following that came a bold move with the announcement of Anno 2070. For the first time, players would go to the future, as we replaced beloved series staples like aforementioned fishing hut and instead allowed players to build huge futuristic metropolises on land, and even under the sea. Another element unique to Anno 2070 was the choice between which factions you wanted to align yourself with – Ecos, Tycoons or Techs – and the central role that topics like ecology and pollution played, challenging players to decide which path they wanted to follow.

So where do you go next after you built a futuristic underwater city? To space, obviously! With 2015’s Anno 2205, we decided that “the world is not enough”, as we allowed players to leave mother earth’s familiar embrace behind to colonize the moon. One big new feature in 2205 was the Session-based gameplay- instead of just building on one map, players could in parallel build in several different sectors across the globe and moon, and seamlessly switch between them. We are not going into too many details yet, but rest assured that this session-based gameplay is making a big return in Anno 1800. Where will you be able to settle? Well, that is a topic for another day…

Which brings us to the end of our little excursion through the history of Anno. We hope you have a great weekend, and please let us know in the comments what kind of throwback content you would love to see here on the Anno Union. Blog posts, old photos, Let’s Play streams of older games- we want to hear from you!




  1. r ruuti0 February 5, 2018

    All were good, but my favorite was 2070!

    Mostly because new technology allowed us get new ways to play game, such having energy transmission, shields, aircrafts etc.

  2. w waiwaw October 14, 2017

    Its Hard to make a playable game now, especially war, i start headache when make more fun war game, i also a software developer. I think now start make developing national game better, like start year 1800 start developing with limited money then survival a national until 1900, add finance feature like make debt with bank to start making industrial revolution and monthly payback debt. On multiplayer, developer can make industrial era with free market on random generate island and resource, who first success build which invention on between year 1900 – 1910, he is the winner.

    i know its risky when new idea come on huge game.

  3. M Milld76 September 29, 2017

    For me Anno 1404 and 1404 Venice is the best in the series so far. I like Anno 2070, but I preferred playing in the past. Anno 2205 looked great but had lost gameplay and you got to a stage where you thought what is the aim at playing this game. Sad really because the graphics was great.

    So you can imagine how happy I was when I heard about Anno 1800. I always hoped an Anno based on the past would be launched because I appreciate Anno 1404 is over 7 years old now.

    I just hope Anno 1800 is similar to Anno 1404 to an extent, but I also hope it has many new features.

    Please try and make sure gameplay is present because this was a massive let down in Anno 2205. In fact it was horrendous.

    Anno 1800 needs to concentrate on what Anno 1404 did, but with a lot more on top.

    Cannot wait for Winter 2018.


  4. d diddle783 September 15, 2017

    back into the old days playing the first anno games for weeks and on repeat modus 😉 must say i really hope (since there are also members that worked on 1701) that this game will be more like anno 1701/1404 because that where the best in my eyes..2205 i tried but i miss the old anno in it and there for i stopped playing that part

  5. M MinneIceCube September 12, 2017

    Not against the session mode from 2205, but make it randomly generated. That was the major killer for me in 2205. Otherwise, I though the game a shiny new semi-step forward.

  6. A AgmasGold September 8, 2017

    I wanted to mention (playing 1701, 1404, and 2070 for hundreds of hours a piece at least), the things that made these anno games better than 2205, was, as mentioned above the loading screens, and for me, the quests were much more interesting.

    I can remember playing 1404 for hours, waiting for a chain quest, and wondering what reward I was going to end up receiving at the end of it. Eventually after mainy games you end up recieving something very powerful, and it is this feeling that is lost in 2205 (and 1701 to some aspect).

  7. C ClemensX September 7, 2017

    It is always good to have a trip through memory lane like this. I can still remember standing in the store with the first coppy of anno 1602. And I was mesmerised by the box wich promised exploration adventure and a beautifull word. Now, countless hours of game play spread over centurys (1404 until 2205) later, I am trembeling with exitement for this new entry. 1800 Is a verry exiting time in history and I feel privaliged to be withnes of seeing it grow into a Anno game. Althoug the message that session-based gameplay is returning worrys me a bit (i was not a big fan because it broke my emergence of the game) I am willing to give the team the bennefit of the doubt in making this game in the series my new faforite

    I think my alltime faforite up to now is Anno 1404 The stunning world, the awsome story campain and the seemingly endles progression realy did it for me.

  8. n niekdebom September 5, 2017

    I really hope that this session-based gameplay is optional (as described early) because I have played Anno 1404 and 2070 for several 100 hours. But with 2205, I have the feeling that I am always waiting for another sector to load or needing to switch to another sector. This was the main reason that after a couple of hours in 2205, I started playing 2070 again so that I could play without waiting again and again and again…

  9. A ANN0nymity September 4, 2017

    Oh man, I can’t wait till it’s here.
    And ever since ANNO 1404, I have been thinking about a perfect ANNO game! (in my opinion) I’ve got so much idea’s that could be so much fun and challenging. For example: it would be so cool if it was at the time of the Roman empire, add seasons, This would result for exaple that the players would have to find other ways to keep there people happy during winter or that the mobility would be slower,,…
    Anyway, I am very curious how they will do the war system in ANNO 1800. I hope it won’t look like ANNO 2205.

    I am looking forward with pleasure to the release of ANNO 1800

  10. A Arkenophas September 3, 2017

    Aaaaah, so many good games ^^ And so many hours spent on it ! You really make a good work, I hope you’ll keep this way 🙂

  11. g gabrieltorress September 2, 2017

    other ideas that I had as private initiative (companies); financial and banking systems; more modules with different functions for all buildings; deeper logistics systems; greater supply of services that are not mandatory for development, as well as being able to sell goods only to increase profits; to be able to change and have several options of inputs for productive chains; different energy sources such as coal, wood and wind, and later oil, gas and electricity; services of water supply, collection and treatment of sewage and garbage.
    I did not develop these ideas very much, I’m pretty sure that almost none of them will go to the game, but if the developers find some of them interesting, they can ask me to develop a little more. I love being able to contribute to the game and have the possibility of some of my ideas added to the game.

  12. g gabrieltorress September 2, 2017

    Deep Economy
    One of the things I think could be improved would be the economic part giving it more depth. So far in the ANNO series you had 2 main ways to make money: exporting or (being the most important) getting money from your settlers while you keep them happy by providing them with goods and services. not that I do not like this model, but I think having more options to stay and grow economically would be interesting.

    One of the things I propose is to take the money costs out of the maintenance and construction of the buildings and vehicles, to build the structure or vehicle and make it work they need workers and a recurrent maintenance using some good (such as tools). Workers would then use the money they earned to buy goods and services, their purchasing power and the availability of goods and services for purchase would determine the level of satisfaction.
    The classes could be determined by the purchasing power and salary of the workers. the level of education would also be a factor, any person could assume any job, but low-skilled workers in highly specialized positions would make the process much less productive, while highly educated workers placed in positions that do not require high levels of education will cause a small increase in efficiency, and well-educated workers do not like to receive little.

  13. O Olinater September 2, 2017

    I couldn’t really get used to the sector gameplay in Anno 2205, because my PC isn’t really fast (loading a sector took quite some time), and it also made creating, managing and protecting your trading routes a thing of the past, while that was something I really liked about all the previous titles. However, I’m really interested in how it will be implemented in the 1800 since the devs were talking about the return of big, random generated, maps. I suppose it could be a good thing, if done right. I would really like to know more about the current state of development of the session-based gameplay. Can’t wait to find out!

  14. g gabrieltorress September 1, 2017

    Emperialists Empires
    I really liked the mechanics of anno 2205 that the players could in parallel build in several different sectors across the globe and moon, so I thought how to keep this in the anno1800 and had an idea inspired by age of empires 3. we founded colonies and settlements around the globe with the support of one of the nineteenth-century Emperialist countries that we chose to represent: England, France, Germany, Holland, Spain, Portugal, Russia and Japan. when we founded the colonies we would be increasing the power and influences of the country itself, they would provide us with some kind of help and unique bonuses. perhaps adding mechanics to taxes, requests, missions, and the desire for independence could be interesting.

    the area chosen on the map will be extremely important to define how the game mechanics will be, cold areas will require kaleification, bare regions will be more difficult to occupy, certain resources will be more abundant in some regions, besides the fertilites that will cause you have to have a sufficient global trading network or trade routes with other players.

    This type of game would be interesting in MMOs and Great multiplayer games, players would choose a country and expand the empire. with fully integrated commerce and with established prices among players in the global market of that world, npcs would be important to maintain a commercial flow.

  15. t teasercat September 1, 2017

    I would love to see the return of winter. Just watched a history reel of Anno games and saw winter screen shots. I great game play would be to follow the seasons and require players to store or import food to be available when growing is out of season.

    • d dernico14 September 2, 2017

      I would like seasons too, this would affect harvests of food or other things.

  16. D DoomDutch September 1, 2017

    I’m still a bit ify about the sectors coming to Anno 1800 from Anno 2205. But if big maps with multiple island can work together with the sectors, I might be more positive about it in the end.

  17. d dernico14 September 1, 2017

    Hello, i was really happy than we will be playing on one big map, but now you talk about the come back of sectors. How the ships go between sectors. It was a pain to go to a sector to another constantly to balance goods… Anyway I’m so excited about anno 1800!

    • B BlueBreath September 1, 2017

      I assume instead of getting only islands you’ll conquer entire sectors from the AI.

  18. P Ptit_Pois45 September 1, 2017

    which I loved in Anno 1404 and 2070 is the combat system that was removed in the 2205. This system allows to use it to threaten other non AI players in diplomacy, etc but especially for me to extend its territory at the end of the game or everything is colonized. I hope it will be well developed with a wide selection of naval unit and terrestrial in Anno 1800.

  19. P Ptit_Pois45 September 1, 2017

    which I loved in Anno 1404 and Anno 2070 is the combat system that was removed in the 2205. This system allows to use it to threaten other non AI players in diplomacy, etc but especially for me to extend its territory at the end of the game or everything is colonized. I hope it will be well developed with a wide selection of naval unit and terrestrial in Anno 1800.

  20. i iruet September 1, 2017

    I like the multiplayer aspect, I have been wondering for a while: Will it be online?

    I myself am most familiar with Anno-Online. I hope to see some online aspects if possible 🙂

  21. j jamieoglethorpe September 1, 2017

    I’m happy that so many of the 1701 people are still involved. To me that means that the spirit of Anno is strong in the new game.

  22. B BlueBreath September 1, 2017

    Just a thought: you could add some buildings from 1404 to be used as cultural landmarks. Like the cathedral, maybe a smaller size.

    And I guess most of the fans own one or more of the older games, we are hungry for new stuff at least I know I am.

  23. m minaton-ru September 1, 2017

    Anno 2070 for me is the lagerst game! it can be played by hundreds and thousands of hours. A lot of details, tasks, large islands, micro-management. Best game evar!


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