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DevBlog: The High Life

It is a frigid night, a thick fog blankets the city, ahead of you dim lights spill onto bustling streets. A sea of faceless umbrellas bobbing up and down, caught within a current of unending urgency. You feel a cutting breeze, drops of rain, and in the distance, you hear rumbling thunder. You quicken your pace.

You see an immense silhouette, jutting between rooftops – a flash and the goliath skyscraper is illuminated! Beautiful and foreboding. You crane your neck in awe. There is a moment of stillness then, with a resounding clap, the sky breaks open.

You run. Drenched you burst into the lobby where warm lighting greets you. You take a breath. A mellow tune drifts towards you from a gramophone in the corner, its soothing cadence interspersed only by the quiet dripping of your coat, then a soft ding catches your attention, you look up.

The elevator doors slide open. A bellboy smiles at you. He takes a gentle bow and asks, “What floor will it be?”

Hey Anno Community,

After last week’s DevBlog which went into detail on the Skyscrapers, their historical references and the mechanics tied to them, today’s DevBlog provides you – as usual – with the full overview of all features of Anno 1800’s upcoming DLC: The High Life.

Grab a coffee (or a glass of champagne, if you’re feeling as fancy as the Investors), and let’s dive right in:

A Story of Architectural Progress

As we mentioned last week, the “The High Life” DLC took some strong inspiration from the early period of skyscraper construction during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These new architectural feats were made possible by new building techniques and supported by inventions like the hydraulic elevator.

Many of the early skyscrapers were built in New York and Chicago after large-scale fires destroyed existing housing and a population boom also required more and more residences. The iconic look of the early skyscrapers was shaped by the Chicago school of architecture by combining the French Beaux-Arts or renaissance style with practical and commercial elements. Influential examples include the 1908 Singer Tower and of course the 1930 Empire State Building.

The story of “The High Life” is therefore focused on these new architectural achievements, but also the exploits of enterprising businesspeople on the consumer market, when we’re looking at Shopping Arcades.

In this matter, you will make the acquaintance of Donald “Donny” Bader, a capitalist visionary who is eager to change the skyline of your cities with Anno 1800’s first Skyscrapers.

Donny’s a prolific Investor – the best in the city if you ask him – and he’s happy to share the tricks of the trade with you. Cutting corners, fudging numbers, splurging the health and safety budget on bubbly, it’s all in a day’s work for him. And he’s rather impressed by you, witnessing your achievements with rapt attention. Truth be told he’s quite the fanboy, eager to hitch a ride on your coattails towards glory and profits. He’ll invite you to the Skydeck to celebrate his victories, but he’ll never once give credit to the people who made them possible. With a winning smile to shame all the losers, his hair slathered with pomade, he’ll call the workers lazy and waste Theodora, his top Engineer, on fetching him refills.

The Skyscrapers, a Change to Your Skyline

Having set the scene, we’re sure you’re eager to know how to build these Skyscrapers in-game, right? As soon as you reach 5000 Investors, Donny will contact you about his ideas for a new construction project. It would be a shame to ignore such an opportunity, so better get started right away.

How to Build a Skyscraper

Before you can start building, though, you first need to set up a new production line: Skyscrapers require a new construction material, elevators, which are produced in an Assembly Line. We’ll get back on the topic of new production buildings and goods, for now, let’s stay with the Skyscrapers a little while longer.

Both Engineer as well as Investor residences can be upgraded to Skyscrapers. This allows you to increase your population without requiring building space for additional residences. The Skyscrapers themselves are modular, meaning you can upgrade them multiple times until they reach their maximum height: Investor Skyscrapers can consist of 5 levels, Engineer Skyscrapers of 3.

There are multiple different variants for each module and the general style of a Skyscraper also depends on the base residence underneath. You can change the look of each individual block via the building’s menu and clicking on the customization button.

It’s also possible to downgrade a Skyscraper or turn it back into a regular residence of the respective population tier – and yes, before you ask: Residence items also impact Skyscrapers.


Skyscrapers inherit all needs from their regular population tier, but with each level, you will need to fulfill additional new needs in order for more residents to move in. New needs can be goods (like cognac or biscuits) or the new Shopping Arcades like the Furniture Store.

While their residents pay taxes like all your citizens, Skyscrapers are special since they cost maintenance. If they’re not properly supplied and placed (check below for the “Panorama Effect”) they can cost you more than they pay you in taxes.

On the plus side, they do provide you with significantly more residents as well as influence points.

If you want to learn more about the development of the Skyscrapers for “The High Life”, make sure to check out our first DevBlog for more details on Design, Art and UI challenges.

The Panorama Effect

The Panorama Effect is a new mechanic exclusive to Skyscrapers. In short, your Skyscrapers will receive a buff if they are next to a skyscraper of a lower height.

This means, if a skyscraper has other skyscrapers of the same level or higher nearby, it has a negative effect on the buff, while taller skyscrapers are not bothered by having smaller ones nearby. A Skyscraper still profits from smaller ones but might not reach the full panorama effect if there’s a same height or higher skyscraper nearby.

A diverse town, therefore, leads to better buffs for the buildings (and honestly it looks much better). There is no punishment for “Skyscraper only” cities, but the buff significantly helps to offset the high maintenance costs.

The buff itself comes in several levels (intense, strong, solid, moderate, weak, none) and reduces maintenance costs, increases the maximum number of residents and provides bonus residents (this one only when supplied properly).

New Needs: Shopping Arcades

With a few Skyscrapers constructed, let’s take a look at the new needs of their residents, starting with the Shopping Arcades.

While department stores already existed in the US, some since the 1820s, they were innovated upon and expanded during the late 19th Century. Their popularity was propelled by a post-civil war economic boom and the demands of a quickly growing population. Retail moved away from local-owned businesses towards large corporations. The shiny new department stores offered personal shoppers, catalogues, and order by mail. But they also brought about a less obvious change. They opened their doors to women, enabling them for the first time to go shopping, and own and manage a budget— a small but significant step for female independence and autonomy.


Similar to the Restaurants in “Tourist Season”, there are three different kinds of Shopping Arcades your residents will ask you to build: The Department Store, the Furniture Store and the Drug Store. Each fulfils the respective need of your population, but depending on the patent you decide to equip, they provide a different bonus on the residences (regular ones as well as Skyscrapers) within its area of influence: Reduction of certain needs, a bonus to happiness or an increase in tax income.

From Secretaries over Lipstick and Tooth Paste to Toasters and Vacuum Cleaners there are many exciting products to choose from for modern shopping lovers.

Tutorial Menu

Like the previous DLC of Season 3, the new features and mechanics are also explained in the new in-game Tutorial Menu.

Want to double-check how the Panorama Effect works? Just click the “?” symbol in the top left corner of a Skyscraper’s object menu to receive an overview of all new mechanics.

New Needs: Products for High Society

As mentioned before, you will also need to supply new goods to your residents.

The Chemical Factory, which was added with “Tourist Season” receives a new recipe (Lacquer, requiring Ethanol, Resin and Quartz Sand), while the Orchard in the Old World can now produce Cherry Wood and Resin in addition to Jam.

On top of these additions, we’re adding two more Multifactories to the game: The Artisan Workshop producing many sought-after products like for example Violins (requiring Steel, Cherry Wood and Lacquer) or Cognac. The Assembly Line, on the other hand, is a great example of the technological progress the Industrial Revolution is bringing to Anno 1800: Aside from the already mentioned Elevators it’s also producing Typewriters. We’ve seen some guessing about which products might be needed to produce Elevators, so here you go: Steel, Steam Motors and Wood Veneers.

Finally, we’re also adding one more building to the New World: The southern session receives its own Chemical Factory, producing the very important Ethanol (using Corn and Wood) as well as another modern invention: Chewing Gum!

Based on community feedback from the Diary Study as well as the Technical Test, we made changes to the Multifactories in the construction menu: Each of their products has now its full production chain displayed, making it easier for you to see in advance, which goods and other production building you will need.

The recipes in the Shopping Arcades and Multifactories work just like you’re used to if you played “Tourist Season”: Some of them are unlocked via quests, others by fulfilling certain conditions. If you own “The Passage” or “Land of Lions”, you will be able to choose from a few additional recipes, more on that below.


Following your feedback from “Tourist Season”, we’re adding several new items with “The High Life” which specifically affect the new building types introduced since “Tourist Season”, like Hotels, Restaurants, and the new Shopping Arcades.

The Multifactory buildings even receive a completely new type of item which works a bit differently and usually comes with a trade-off of positive and negative effects. Some of them are more specialized in specific building types like the Chemical Plant, others work on all kinds of Multifactories.

This should give everyone who loves optimizing their economy more options to puzzle and make the most of the often-limited space.

Let’s talk DLC Synergies

Let’s now take a look at the synergies you can profit from when owning several of Anno 1800’s previous DLC, several of which were the results of playtest feedback:

Firstly, as already mentioned above, you will receive additional recipes for each Shopping Arcade with their unique buffs if you own “The Passage” or “Land of Lions”. This way you can supply your citizens with products like Refrigerators, Face Cream and Four-Poster Beds – for a truly luxurious life.

As a result of feedback from the playtests, the Skyline Tower – the new monument of “The High Life” – is a potential need for Tourists and can be connected with the bus network.

Certain sets from the Zoo or the Museum now also influence Multifactories. For example, the Bronze Age Exhibition or the Icebound Exhibition.

Finally, also based on community feedback, if you own “Seat of Power”, several of the Palace’s buffs are now affecting buildings from “The High Life” and “Tourist Season”, as long as they fulfill the conditions. For example, Orchards are not considered farms (just like Lumberjacks aren’t either) and the Artisan Workshop is – in contrast to the Assembly Line – not a “heavy industry”.

One word about the “public service” boost the Palace can provide to buildings like Theatres or Pubs: Shopping Arcades (and Restaurants, for that matter) technically aren’t your usual public services since they require input goods to provide their service – they just fulfill a similar gameplay function to standard public service buildings. They are therefore not affected by the buff from the Department of Welfare.

Further details: The technical side

For the ones among you who want a quick dive into parts of the game logic, here’s some more background on the matter:

Another aspect of this decision is technical reasons: In contrast to regular public services, the reach of Shopping Arcades is at the same time also the range of the carts delivering the required input goods. The Palace buff could increase their reach but not the cart range, which would then require two different visualizations on the same streets, making it complicated and confusing from a UI point of view.

On the other hand, if both ranges should be increased by the Palace buff, the cart logic would need a rework:

The maximum range of carts is currently directly bound to the production cycles of a building, assuring that they deliver the input goods in such intervals that the production building always has enough goods to continue production. Increasing the cart range would thereby also increase the time the cart takes to deliver the resources, leading to gaps in supply.

Let’s assume for a moment we accept this and let players decide if they want to accept production issues cause of delivery times. Here we have two more problems:

  1. Right now, we don’t have indicators for players about such a system
  2. Having production buildings search for a warehouse ‘somewhere’ on the island compared to just inside its set radius would directly impact game performance.

Alternatively, if we wanted to assure optimal supply no matter the distance, certain parameters would need to dynamically change based on the current cart range, for example the speed of the carts (which would end up looking extremely silly) or the production cycle of the respective building.

All this, mind you, would mean making changes to a core system of the game just for a specific new building type for a DLC – which would be a loooot of work. And then we would need to make sure all this is also transparently communicated to you, the players, so you can understand the mechanics and adjust your production accordingly.

For Restaurants, this is even a whole different matter, since here the effect range towards Tourists is decided by the bus network, and not by pure street distance, complicating matters further.

A new Monument

Let’s end this DevBlog with a high point – literally: The “Skyline Tower”.

After you’ve built a sufficient number of level 5 Skyscrapers, Donny will contact you with his most ambitious project yet: a monumental tower!

The Skyline Tower is a multi-stage monument and the tallest building in Anno 1800. It contains the probably most luxurious apartments and can house several thousand Investors. They have all the needs of regular Investor residences but there is a twist: The maximum number of residents of the monument depends on the number of Shopping Arcades in your city. Each Shopping Arcade recipe makes the Skyline Tower more interesting to residents, adding another 100 to the maximum population. The respective Shopping Arcade does not have to be in range but simply has to be located on the same island.

This brings us almost to the end of this DevBlog. But we can’t end it without mentioning that you’ll again receive several new ornaments fitting to the theme – including something red and round which uses hot air… what could that be?

If you’re curious for some live gameplay of “The High Life”, mark the 26th of August in your calendars: At 5 PM CEST the Anno team will do their English gamescom stream on twitch.tv/ubisoftbluebyte, presenting the upcoming DLC and talking a bit about what else you can still expect to come to Anno 1800 this year. Don’t miss this!




  1. m m72h93o August 21, 2021

    my name is Mohammad from Iran
    I’m a ubisoft’s big fan
    I love all Anno series specifically Anno 1800.
    I thought and said myself why Anno’s team don’t think but rivers in game?
    Do you not see London or Paris and all Europeans city that built side rivers and have stoned shares?
    I think but a DLC about Riverland like dockland that focus on rivers in all regions
    I have a idea about a new region.
    a dlc at Persia .my country have a ancient culture , history and architecture.
    Iran has a long history of Western colonization and it has taken a lot of influence and change from the West.
    please do not consider Iranian architecture and culture like the Arabs.
    Research the difference and build something new from the unknown

    your job is very very very good
    well done and Thanks from all Anno’s team

  2. M MisterElliot August 20, 2021

    The team does it again. Thanks for all the info and hard work!

  3. S Sad0x_ August 20, 2021

    First of all: Im always impressed how you guys can make a wonderful game better with every DLC. If there will be a fourth season pass keep up the great work! If not you can be proud of one of the best games ever created. Thanks for that. But I would like to see that there would be a new street type, the Asphalt street. It would be compatible with the timeline of the game and I personally dont like the aestethics of a stone road side to side with a skyscraper. Also, when im right informed, the goods for the restaurants and the mall are still driven by carts pulled by horses/donkeys which is in my view a bit odd. You have the 1950s and youre still using those carts? Please use therefore the cars which are already being used by the industrial buildings when there connected to the power grid. That would also that the cars can go further with an increased speed and could potentially fix the problem where you have to build warehouses in your city centres, which arent looking great. Would be much appreciated, if you consider these ideas for a future update (or still this). Thanks! Sad0x_

    • f frasoucos August 20, 2021

      I agree regarding the vehicles used for logistics. But I think the asphalt should be an optional game feature like the electric poles.

      • A Alister-MIV August 20, 2021

        I would suggest expanding the options, well, or paying attention to mods. Considering that the game is based on the 19th century, I don’t see any special problems. But there will always be few options for the design of cities in it. ))) The game is fantastic!!!

    • m m72h93o August 21, 2021

      asphalt roads is Excellent . I really agree with you

      • S Sad0x_ August 21, 2021

        Yeah im pretty sure this will give the game a more modern look that its now implementing with the skyscrapers. It would be good to see some asphalt roads leading up to the Skyline Tower. Stone Roads are definitly nice looking but i think they arent contemporary any more with the new DLC options. Greetings

  4. A Alister-MIV August 20, 2021

    Many thanks to the developers!!! You guys are great fellows!!! This is the best game in the series, there has never been such a variety. I am impressed and inspired by new ideas for building cities. There are no words, only emotions!!! ))) But I would like to express my wishes for the further development of the seasons / new content. I want to see Asia in the game and the corresponding gameplay, for example, China with their supplies of tea, rice, antiques (porcelain, silk) and other exquisite goods – to see the development of the plot of Princess Qing, she was left without attention, and the character is interesting and unusual.

  5. m mcetnar August 20, 2021

    It seems that I’ll have some demolishing to do in my captial. Unlike Chicago I can’t wait for the fires to do the work for me. 😉
    Also who would’ve thought that making babies could be so resource-consuming. 😉

  6. M MrNFOX August 20, 2021

    All in… I think this will be one of the best dlc’s.. A chance to potentially push the max pop record.? Items promised for the new production chains. I can’t wait to push this dlc to the limit. ?

  7. 1 10223281052238672 August 20, 2021

    Wow, this appear to be one of the best DLC, and also, cannot beleave it will be on this mounth, but, problem I can see we will have, I already have a very dificult time managing the transport of goods between islands, so many boats, we need some way to massive transport goods.

  8. f frasoucos August 19, 2021

    Hello everyone!

    It seems that this new High Life DLC will become the most exciting DLC. 
    Apparently, we will have to demolish existing production and residential buildings in order to make room for new factories and shopping malls. I think it will work if the current production chain’s output of many goods is modified, as far as I can see, despite the explanations provided by the devblog so far. I may be wrong on this one.
    As an alternative, a while ago I suggested making a terraforming tool that the developing team used to create the islands available on the game for those players who would like to modify the isle area and its topography, making it as an optional download or just adding it to the new update. That would make the game more customizable and engaging.
    I know that it has the potential to create some performance issue for some players who abuse it, depending on their hardware configuration, but I think this issue should be left for players themselves to assess the possibility and  make their own decision. 
    Oh, by the way, the artisans of the cities I run, who are the largest constituency, are complaining about the pollution of the chemical plants constructed due to the boom of the tourist industry. Many are saying they don’t understand why a lemonade, shampoo and souvenir factory is putting out so much pollution and heavy smog. Many of them also believe that the job of making such goods should go to artisans, not engineers. And I don’t know what else to tell them! 

    • F FHackner August 20, 2021

      the tools used to make islands are third party programs like Autodesk 3DS Max. They can’t provide this to the player.

      • S Sad0x_ August 21, 2021

        Yeah but they could provide some more islands, also more varieties. And I would like it that you could maybe make the map a bit bigger, which could be used for bigger islands where you would have some more space to work with. Greetings

  9. S STAR_LORD_x August 19, 2021

    Is it technically impossible to add more regions to the game? Remember 2205…
    This might be the best DLC of ANNO 1800, but there is not enough room for these large production lines. For many of us, the main objective of a sand box game is to maximize the population, I’m already running out of space because of TS DLC. At least add new regions (New world & Old World) as paid DLC.

    • S Sad0x_ August 20, 2021

      Yeah i have the same problems. Those new buildings which arent that small must fit somewhere. These 3 monuments on one island are covering to much space. Greetings Sad0x_

  10. c chris24111981 August 19, 2021

    Please add som more huge Islands to all worlds

  11. F FHackner August 19, 2021

    Loving all those additions based on feedback! So happy with items, new items and cross DLC synergies

  12. A Acidello August 19, 2021

    Such an amazing DevBlog! Greetings to the Narrative Designers for that terrific intro 😀


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