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Month: February 2020

Changing of the Guard

Hey Anno Community,

As we are getting ready to reveal our 2020 plans for Anno 1800 next month, we want to inform you about some changes in the Anno development team. At the end of last year, we said goodbye to two long-time veterans of the franchise, Burkhard Ratheiser and Dirk Riegert. While we are sad to see them leave Anno, we can appreciate that working on the same gaming series for over 15 years is a long time and that the huge success of Anno 1800 makes this the perfect time to hand the scepter over to our new leadership. Rest assured that both are staying with Ubisoft Mainz, exploring new ideas for future projects!

Burkhard is not only one of the co-founders of our studio here in Mainz but has been instrumental in Anno’s transition to full 3D as the Lead Programmer of our game engine during the development of 1701. Following that, he worked on Anno 1404 and 2070 as the Head of Graphics and R&D, before moving into game production with Anno 2205. Over the last years, he led Anno 1800’s development as Executive Producer. Of course, many of you know also know him from the eponymous “Burkhard’s Trail” easter egg from Sunken Treasures.

Burkhard on staging presenting Anno 1800

“I’m very thankful that I had the chance to contribute in several different roles to this great franchise. For the last 15 years Anno has always played a big part in my life and with Anno 1800 being the fastest selling Anno ever and for many also the best installment so far, the time has come for me to move to new ventures, handing over the baton to a new team. I would like to thank the Anno community for their great support and feedback over all these years, knowing that the fruitful collaboration will ensure that Anno has a bright future, continuing in providing countless hours of joy and excitement to our fans.” – Burkhard

Dirk probably needs no introduction to Anno devotees, given the number of interviews and live streams he has participated in over the years, earning him the loving nickname of Karrenschieber (“cart pusher”).  He is one of the driving forces behind the Anno games developed in Mainz, starting as Lead Game Designer on Anno 1701 and 1404, before taking over as the franchise’s Creative Director with the Venice add-on. He then took the franchise into the future and even space with Anno 2070 and 2205, before leading the Anno team and franchise into the age of the industrial revolution with Anno 1800 as Senior Creative Director.

When I started as Lead Designer on ANNO 1701, I wouldn’t have dared to dream that I would help shape five Anno games over the coming 15 years! It is said that one should quit while they are ahead, and after the great success of ANNO 1800 last year this moment has finally come for me. I am already working on new, exciting projects within Ubisoft. The baton with the golden nine engraved in its knob has been passed on to Manuel. I for sure know that he will take perfect care of it.” – Dirk

Dirk across the ages

Which brings us to our new Game Director, so please welcome Manuel Reinher!

Manuel is a true strategy gaming veteran, having first started his career as an artist at Phenomic on Spellforce in 2004, before filling a variety of art related roles on games such as Spellforce 2 and Battleforge (by then as EA Phenomic, as the studio had been acquired by Electronic Arts in 2006). He has now been with Ubisoft Mainz for over 6 years, starting as Lead Artist for the futuristic cityscapes of Anno 2205, before leading the art team responsible for the detail-obsessed 19th century world of Anno 1800. As Game Director, he will oversee the overall future of the Anno franchise, both for future Anno 1800 content and beyond.

“Hi Anno Union, I’m Manuel, and extremely honored to follow in the footsteps of Burkhard and Dirk. Working on Anno for the last years has been a fantastic journey: After our adventures in space we brought the game back to a historical setting and we are extremely proud to kick off 2020 with new ideas and full of energy.

But, before we head into a bright ANNO future, I want to take the opportunity to say thank you: The success of Anno is just possible because of our hard-working team and the fantastic support we have from our community. So, I grab the baton: we have more opportunities than ever and I’m very excited to take the next steps together with all of you.” – Manuel

Manuel hard at work

And that’s it for today! Please give a round of applause to Burkhard and Dirk for their many contributions to Anno, and a warm welcome to Manuel! And as always, keep an eye on the Anno Union, as we get ready to unveil our plans for Anno 1800 in 2020!


 

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Union Talk – Plans and Challenges

Episode 6 of our Union Talk show is here, with Community Developer Basti and Brand Manager Marcel talking about the differences and challenges of Anno 1800’s first year and what is to come. They also address the unusual quiet on the Anno Union in early 2020 and might even know a thing or two about when things will pick up again…

Watch Union Talk – Plans and Challenges.mp4 from ubisoftbluebyte on www.twitch.tv

Our Union Talks aim at providing you insights into the work of our developers and certain processes behind the scenes as well as news about the most recent developments for Anno 1800. Is there a topic you always wanted to know more about? Are you curious about a specific aspect of game development or an ingredient of the Anno series? Let us know in the comments below for future episodes of the Union Talk!

Anno Afternoon – Scuba Diving Cows

Since they were not able to save all cows from the flood last time, Ubi-Hanabi and Ubi-Thorlof return to the world of Anno 2070. With their priorities set and the heart-shaped city completed, it’s time to explore the ocean and build an underwater base. Tune in for a fun and relaxed Anno Afternoon on Friday, 28. February, at 4PM UTC over on twitch.tv/ubisoftbluebyte

We also want to use this opportunity to thank you for sending us save games of your Anno 1800 playthrough! We will showcase them in the next Anno Afternoon (March 13th) – Ubi-Hanabi is already looking forward to getting her hands on them.

And of course, feel free to also send us YOUR save game for the stream! Just send them via mail at anno-community@ubisoft.com

Podcast – Environment Sounds in Anno 1800

There’s always something going on in the world of Anno 1800, but all the activity on the roads and sea is not just visual. Listen to the latest Game Makers podcast with members of Anno 1800’s audio team and learn about how sounds adapt based on camera zoom or jumping from one end of the map to the other. Audio Director Stefan Randelshofer and Lead Audio Designer Tino Schleinitz from Ubisoft Düsseldorf talk about how they developed a brand-new environmental sound system for Anno 1800. Give it a listen!

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Union Update: Anno 2070 Afternoon and Community Spotlight

The New Year is already over one month old – about time to share a Union Update with you, feature some great Anno 1800 creations from our community and let you know about our upcoming live streams.

Anno Afternoon Stream

This Friday our community team is traveling into the future for another Anno Afternoon. On this Anno 2070 adventure, Ubi-Thorlof invited his colleague Ubi-Hanabi – the goal: brew some tea, hug a few trees and save everyone from drowning.
Join them on their adventure over on twitch.tv/ubisoftbluebyte

And if you want your Anno 1800 city to be featured, judged and most likely also devastated live on stream, send us your save games at anno-community@ubisoft.com! When we have gathered a few, we will show off your layouts, parks and fleets in a future Anno Afternoon. *

*We can only accept unmodded save games

Community Spotlight

As usual, we want to share some of the cool creations and stories from the community here on the Anno Union.

Let’s start with jasperwillem’s blog, a great source for tutorials and tips&tricks for Anno 1800. You can find detailed blogs and videos about all phases of the game, the different population levels and more. Worth checking out!

If you instead prefer some entertainment, Normul8or’s new video series could be for you. The goal: creating a city purely dependent on imports. To follow him on his journey, head on over to his YouTube channel.

Now, we all know you love creating beautiful cities with massive parks and impressive zoos and museums. And we never grow tired of looking at your creations and sharing them here.

Bootlegsoldier went all-in and hid something in his city – can you see it?

And since working in a team gets things done a lot quicker, Smeerwolf teamed up with some friends to beautify his city – the result you can see here:

We know you’re all waiting for what exciting things we have planned for Anno 1800 this year.
Right now we’re still very busy creating new content for you to enjoy and are looking forward to sharing more with you, soon.

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