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Month: August 2017

DevBlog: Our Vision

With a nearly 20 year history for the Anno franchise and 6 games in the series, creating the vision for Anno 1800 was not an easy task. We would like to take you on a journey with us, showing where we are coming from, our promise for Anno 1800 and how we want to achieve our goals for the game.

For almost 2 decades now, the Anno name has been synonymous with deep, high-quality city-building games made in Germany. While the first four games in the series all took place in historic settings, we took a step to the future with the release of Anno 2070, exchanging beloved series staples like fishing huts for futuristic metropolises on land and even under the sea. And in Anno 2205, we allowed players to settle simultaneously on various points around the globe as well as on the moon.

While many of our players enjoyed the new technological possibilities that these futuristic settings allowed for, others were asking for a return to the series historical roots, and the classic Anno gameplay of titles like 1404.

When working on the first concept, we created a list of all the beloved Anno features, based on our experience and especially the feedback from our community. The new Anno should combine the strength of classic titles with all the new possibilities coming from our experience with the latest games. We build the foundation for Anno 1800 out of these features and decided, that these features have to be in Anno 1800 from day one to create the game our fans are waiting for and possibly the biggest Anno game in the series.

Many of you stated that you enjoyed first hours of Anno 2205 but that you were missing complexity, replayability and the challenge for veterans of the series. Because of that, it was clear to us that we need to focus on rich and complex gameplay while making the game still accessible for new fans. With Anno 1800, the series not only returns to its historical roots, but also delivers the full Anno package on day one, including many of the features that long-time fans missed in Anno 2205, such as sandbox mode, physical goods, classic Anno multiplayer, randomly generated maps, trade routes and a military fully integrated into the main game. Third party AI, an in-depth diplomacy and trading system will allow you to engage characters as allies, enemies or partners while competing over different islands and trade routes together on one big map. We will furthermore explore the 19th century with a story rich campaign, which will touch in many of the important aspects of that era. We cannot wait to give you more details about the story next year.

With the next articles on our Anno Union hub, we will dive in to certain aspects of these features and will give you insights about the current state of the game. While we have a clear vision about the complexity and features of the game, we want your experience and feedback to make a truly great Anno game. Please keep in mind that the game is over a year away from launch and that means that many of the features we mentioned here are all work in progress. It was important for us to show you the game as early as possible but that also means that a lot of content we will show is not representative for the final game, and that we won’t be able to show you new trailers or screenshots every week.

That said many of you are curious how we will use and implement your feedback. With upcoming blogs, we will talk about certain features and aspects we are working on and that is a good way for us to gather your ideas and input. We frequently mentioned live feedback sessions via voice chats such as Discord or Skype, that we will answer your questions in frequent video updates an invite you to talk to us in live podcasts and streams directly from our studio. As some of you might know, all that requires a lot of tech and organization in the background, so bear with us when it needs a bit more time until everything is ready to go.

What we would like to know from you now is what kind specific development insight would you like to see in future Anno Union blogs?

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Let’s talk about feedback!

To be honest: the vast amount of detailed feedback with the start of the Anno Union blew us away. We knew that you would be as passionate as resourceful but we underestimated the extent of your passion.

While we work to improve the final bits of the website and prepare ourselves to share videos and streams with you guys, we decided to answer some of your first comments at the same. For that, we pulled Creative Director Dirk Riegert and Community Developer Bastion Thun out of their offices and gave them a printed version of your comments. The weight of the ideas, comments and suggestions was breathtaking.

With over 1000 comments in the Anno Union already, it wasn’t easy to pick a first set of comments. As we will explain development relevant topics in near future, we decided to concentrate on a few general questions about the Anno Union and Anno 1800. We will to react to your feedback more frequently in near future.

t_picklock
The Anno Union is a good idea in general.
But I think that the focus on communication via comments is not really optimal.

Basti: We got some feedback regarding the comment section. We will implement a few improvements soon and in addition, will offer different ways and formats to keep discussions going and to collect your feedback. From the general comments to voting’s, questionnaires, the Ubisoft forum and media content such as live streams and video updates. There is always room for improvement so keep the ideas coming.

xTopsy
I am with the previous comment: Please don’t make it too easy. I think it is an important part of Anno that you have to pay for mistakes being made and that one click shouldn’t be an easy way out to revert everything.

Dirk: We are aware that Anno 2205 did not met all the expectations of our players. Especially the missing of some key features, which were relevant for the long-time motivation, was a problem for some of you. We analyzed exactly that feedback and checked all internal factors which lead to that situation. For that reason, we will set the focus for Anno 1800 on the essential elements of the game, such as a multiplayer mode or AI characters. Furthermore, it is of very importance for us that the game experience is as flexible as possible to ensure that new players are not lost in the sea of possibilities, while experienced players have a variety of options, ways to configure the game and freedom to create their perfect Anno experience.

jdredd62
Please dear developers, you have a vast amount of options but please don’t forget new players in such games.

Dirk: The Anno series has many passionate fans, some of them sunk hundreds of hours in every single title. We want to bring a satisfying experience to all of them. But it is also important for us to win new players over to the Anno series. Especially Anno 2205 had, when we are talking about an easy first step into the game, excellent features but we want to improve that further. But it is important to say that we don’t want to cut down the depth of the game for that.

yeti1962
This blog reminds me about the various „forumblogs“ in AO, where they ensured us that they read every comment, but feedback to the suggestions came rarely, even less in the form of direct answers.
With that in mind, a frequent „Questions and Suggestions“ would be a big improvement. At least I am allowed to dream here.
  

Basti: We will do our best to meet your expectations. But at the end of the day, actions will be more important than promises. Give us just a bit of time to catch up with everything. With nearly 1000 comments on the Anno Union alone, our team had a lot of work to through all Union comments, forum posts and other reactions on channels such as Twitter and Facebook. We cannot promise that we will be able to catch and answer everything. But our whole team is incredibly interested about your feedback. Nearly every day, co-workers stop by at my desk and ask for the current state of the union and read posts on their own during breaks. We want to use anything possible to get in contact with you. For that reason, will bring as many interactive formats as possible, from hangout feedback sessions to livestreams. While we cannot talk about the cadence of each content yet, we want to ensure that we are in a constant dialogue with our Union members.

Dorimil
Surprising announcement of a new Anno and even a new website. Seems like that Ubi/BB learned a lesson thanks to 2205. I hope that you take is serious and will follow that path tot he end (sorry but too many not fullfilled promises in the last years…)

Basti: We understand that you guys are skeptical. But we also hope that the future and our current activities for the Anno Union initiative show our passion and commitment, as we share the same passion for the Anno series as you. With the 2205 frontier DLC, we had the chance to invite players before the actual release of the content and the result was incredibly valuable feedback. For that reason, we want to get player feedback as early as possible. And we want that feedback for Anno 1800 as well as the Anno Union. So please, feel free to share all your thoughts and ideas with us.

Annothek
A small suggestions for the comments.
Wouldn’t it be better to limit the amount of comments to maybe 10 per page before the Site creates another page? Currently, we are spending a lot of time scrolling on the page.

Basti: We understand that it is a too much scrolling right now and will perform ongoing improvement on the site such as limiting the comment section. We will try out several options for page size until we find the one that works best.

eroark79
I am the owner of ALL the Ubisoft Anno games starting with 1602. These games are AWESOME!!!!!! I would love to be in the Alpha and Beta testing phases of the game. I cannot wait til this one is released

Basti: Playtesting is a crucial part of the Anno Union initiative. These playtests are an important part to test the game in an early stage. With that said, if you are an active member of the Anno Union and if you share your feedback frequently, there will be a good chance that you get to test the game early!

philriggin
I read on Game Spot that “Winter” means first quarter 2018. So not too far off!

Dirk: That was a misunderstanding. We are not talking about this winter as more about the winter coming next year. It wouldn’t make sense to invite players to join us becoming a part of the long-term development of the game if it would be almost finished. 6 month up to the final release wouldn’t give us enough time to take your feedback into account. We are more than one year away from the final release and Anno 1800 is currently in the so-called “Pre-Alpha” state, where the various game elements getting build to come later together as a complete game. We have enough time to check your feedback, share our progress and to discuss about the game itself.

Bre2d

Waiting for it.
Like the other.
My first ship will be called Titanic.

Dirk: Titanic? Then we are lucky that there are no icebergs in the game!

27 Comments

That was Gamescom 2017!

On Tuesday 21st of August, we raised the curtain to reveal Anno 1800 on the first day of the world’s biggest gaming convention. Moreover, we kicked off the new Anno Union community initiative with an overwhelming amount of positive feedback. We would like to provide some details about the big reveal and the Anno 1800 talks in the Gamescom Ubisoft lounge.

First things first: a big thanks to all of you from our whole Ubisoft Blue Byte!

When we pushed the button to announce the game on Tuesday morning, we could not grasp the amount of positive reactions from Anno players around the world. From all the fans registering and commenting on the Anno Union, to all the players out there on Social Media and other channels.

From Tuesday to Saturday, fans had the chance to visit us at the Ubisoft Lounge for exclusive first hand presentations of Anno 1800. During the presentations, our Community Developer Bastian Thun gave detailed insights about Anno 1800, especially our concept, the game itself and plans for the future. We explained where we are coming from, what we have learned from previous titles and presented our vision for Anno 1800 as well as the Anno Union. For anyone who was not able to attend, we will share these details with you all on the Union pretty soon.

With our surprise announcement of the new game, we were uncertain how many reactions we would get and how many people would attend. It is safe to say that it was a blasting success: Over 600 Anno players visited the presentations, got their first look on Anno 1800 and after that, had the chance to ask many questions during the QnA panel. We got incredibly positive feedback and expert question about game and the Union. While we were able to answer many of them, we hope that it is understandable that with over one year away from launch, some answers had to be vague with the game being in such an early stage of development.

While presenting Anno 1800 and talking to so many long time and new Anno fans, the Anno Union website left the harbor for its maiden voyage. With thousands of people registering, commenting and voting, we even had to close down the comment section for a brief period. Rest assured that we are not done with the website yet as we are already setting up a list for improvements based on your comments and our observations.

So what is next? We know that you guys are hungry for more details. To give you a short teaser for upcoming content: There will be more details about the game and plans for the Union coming as early as this week, so keep a close eye on the Anno Union. While we are preparing the new content, our team is also busy going through the crazy amount of comments and we can tell that we will address some of your feedback as soon as possible! This will not just happen in the form of new blogs, we can tell that we are currently also busy tinkering on our new streaming setup to provide the Union with interactive streams, videos and hangouts.

In the meantime, happy commenting on Anno Union and before we forget, had anyone of you the chance to attend to Gamescom 2017? Say hello and feel free to share your thoughts about the Anno 1800 presentation!

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Vote your favorite NPC into the game!

It’s about time to kick off our first Anno Union community vote. When creating a game, tons of creative ideas are flying around the studio but during the development process, we have to make hard decisions. That means some ideas have to go on hold, and eventually go out in order to ensure that the best one goes big.

A diverse cast of AI Characters has been an important part of Anno games for a long time. They help to immerse yourself in our game world and are your ally achieving victory or your bitter opponent during a session. With that said, we would like to introduce you to six interesting candidates for our last AI character for our NPC roster, and it is up to you who will make it on the ship when Anno1800 sets sail.

Find a short description below to make your choice easier, or maybe even harder. You will be able to vote for one of the characters (yes, only one) in the big voting highlighted at the right side of the Anno Union page. We will keep the voting up for a while and when it is time to make the decision of which character we will further develop, we will make that choice based on your actions.

Furthermore, we want to give you the chance to become a part of the characters journey. That means that with weeks and month to come, we will give you frequent updates about the development, from final artwork to 3D animation, classic Anno style.

A) Artur Gasparov – The Visionary
Descending from a noble bloodline, Artur studied mathematics, art and architecture to become the single most influential architect of the Empire. Artur strives for perfection. His works are breathtaking, sometimes even provocative. He dreams of creating the perfect utopian metropolis one day. Many call him the greatest visionary of modern times, still some voices question his inability to compromise, and point out Artur’s highly neurotic nature.

B) Hafsa Sultan – The Ambassador
A hookah pipe-smoking princess of the near-east, Hafsa revels in her wealth – loving jewelry and clothes best of all. She is a talented, enigmatic lioness, yet finds her duties as ambassador lack challenge. She only seems to have a vague interest in keeping her family dynasty alive, despite the fact it crumbles at home. Nevertheless, through her charm an ulterior plan appears, a plan she is keeping extremely secret.

C) Jacob “Jake” Turner – The Gambler
Regardless of his razorblade smile and shiny suits Jake is in desperate need of money. Always. He is extremely charming, wasting his talent on being a notorious gambler, con artist and dazzler. His enterprises are as expensive as they are risky, and in the end a lot of people lose a lot of money. Maybe that’s the reason why Jake, as he calls himself nowadays, changes his face like other people change their underwear.

D) Florence Morel – The Occultist
Florence Morel began her fascination with the occult as a morbid little girl, when she claimed to have found a mirror between worlds. Inheriting a vast fortune, her gothic search for truth now unfolds on a grander scale. Her army of acolytes seem bewitched, letting no one and no thing obstruct their leader. They say it is Morel’s destiny to set loose universal mysteries – for good or ill – and in doing so, change humankind forever.

E) Silas Grendel – The Mobster
Grendel is a vicious and ruthless racketeer, commanding his army of rats to get things done. He began running cutthroat carnivals, until his was the only circus in every town. Now his brutal concern only grows, with him king elect of the underworld. With dark nexus behind him, grander schemes are afoot; a man like Grendel wants to tattoo his name into the forearm of history.

F) Dr. Hugo Mercier – The Anarchist
Dr. Mercier did not spend five years reading politics at a great University just to toe the party line. No, his grand vision is anarchy – absolute freedom for everyone! It was a mistake of the Empire then, to think Dr. Mercier might make a suitable ‘governor’. Only in hindsight is it clear he is the definition of rebellion – a man with such conviction in his beliefs, he is willing to die for them.

42 Comments

Come and see Anno 1800 at gamescom 2017!

Visiting gamescom 2017? You can be among the first in the world to see Anno 1800! Being based in Germany, the team at Ubisoft Blue Byte has always loved gamescom, as it gives us a chance to meet face-to-face with our players, and we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to show some of you attending the show this year an early first glimpse at the game in action.

Three times a day, our Community Developer Bastian will be in the Ubisoft Lounge at the Ubisoft booth (Hall 6.1, booth B20) for an hour to present the game to you, and answer some of your most pressing questions.

When?

Seats are limited and strictly first come, first serve- so make sure to be there on time!

What we are showing

So what are we gonna show you during these presentations? As the game is still in an very early pre-aplpha phase (keep in mind that we are aiming for a launch in Winter 2018), it will be a hands-off presentation very similar to what we show press and partners behind closed doors in the Business Area, so it’s a cool opportunity for players to take a look behind the curtain. We will explain our reasons for picking the 19th century as our setting, our goal to deliver the ultimate Anno experience, and how you – the communities out there – can help us make this the best possible game!

Afterwards, we will have around twenty minutes set aside for your questions (if we can already answer them), and to chat.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Cologne this week!

 

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Jump aboard the Anno Union

The Anno Union sets sail and we need you in Anno’s new community initiative.

Join the team at Ubisoft Blue Byte here in picturesque Mainz in the creation of Anno 1800. Get the latest news, development insights, behind the scenes content and help us shape the future of the franchise, as we regularly invite gamers to share their feedback, vote on features, create content and test the game during its development.

You are not only at the right place to get all Anno 1800 information and updates to come, we also will actively look out for your input in order to use the vast knowledge of our Anno Union member to shape and test our game. Our most dedicated and active Anno Union member will get the chance to play the game as early as 2017, one year before our release.

While there is still a vast ocean to cross before the release, we decided to invite you early. We want to create the ultimate Anno experience together, because your passion is what always drove us. With the long history of the Anno franchise, taking the next step side by side with our veteran players and new strategy fans alike was the logical step to create the game both we and our fans want.

Keep in mind that all the material we will share in the upcoming weeks and months are of a game in a very early development state. We are currently in so called Pre-Alpha and with upcoming blogs, we will update you on the current state of the game as well as explaining what the lifecycle of a game in development actually means.

More details will follow soon, so keep a keen and sharp eye on new content on the Anno Union and jump right away in our comment section to share your thoughts, questions and ideas!

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Anno 1800 announcement

Choose your strategy for victory! Welcome to the next installment in the beloved PC-exclusive strategy city-building franchise.

This is the dawn of the industrial age and the path you choose will define your world. Are you renovator or exploiter? Suppressor or liberator? It’s up to you how the world will remember your name.

In Anno 1800, players will take charge of their own fortune as they navigate the rapidly evolving technological and malicious political landscape of the 19century in their quest to build an empire that will stand the test of time.

Combining beloved features with innovative gameplay in a memorable new setting, Anno 1800 marks the beginning of a new era for the Anno series.

23 Comments