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Game Update 7.1

Hi Anno Community,

we are currently working on our next Game Update, 7.1, to tackle many of the issues that you have been reporting to us in the past week. We are currently testing Game Update 7.1, and will share details on the release timing with you all in the coming days. Until then, stay safe!

Game Update 7.1 Release Notes

An issue with disappearing infotips while the right-click menu was pinned has been fixed.

An issue that could cause ships to remain stuck in transition mode after entering a session while new DLC was being activated has been fixed.

Fixed a multiplayer desync caused by selecting a blueprint building while owning a Palace.

Fixed an issue with certain menu windows (such as transfers, options etc.) preventing players from scrolling all the way to the bottom.

Fixed an issue where policies slotted in the Palace could be reset when reaching a new optimization level in the influence system.

Fixed an UI issue where Old Nate’s transmutation system could break if the menu was closed while the crafting animation was playing.

An issue that could cause the trade routes menu to get stuck when rapidly clicking the X button to close the menu while setting up a new trade or oil route has been fixed.

Fixed an issue in the statistics menu where some buildings could be displayed twice if buffed with an additional similar output.

Fixed a display issue issue where the difficulty level of expeditions could be shown incorrectly if the menu to assign a ship to an expedition was opened and closed again.

Fixed some additional randomly occurring crashes.


Game Update 7

Game Update 7 will release Tuesday, March 24 at 6pm CET.

The download will roughly be 2.2GB.

Game Update 7 adds support for our first Season 2 DLC, “Seat of Power”, for all Season 2 Pass owners. “Seat of Power” will also be available as a stand-alone purchase from March 24 onwards.

Added three exclusive ornaments – the “Palatial Column”, “Ploughman’s Glory” and “Elephountain” – for owners of the Anno 1800 Season 2 Pass to the game.

We are introducing three separate difficulty levels for the influence system, which dictate how much influence can be earned. Easy has you earning more, medium remains the same and hard less influence. This can be selected during game creation, or when loading an existing save game for the first time. Please note that this selection is permanent and cannot be changed after.

Improved the multi-copy feature so that streets can now also be copied in the same manner as buildings.

Introduced the ability to block needs supply in the Marketplace object menu.

Specialists related to the diving bell system from “Sunken Treasures” have been removed from most item pools, such as Eli Bleakworth’s and the Visitor’s pool, and are now exclusive to Old Nate’s sold item pool and quests. Additionally, we adjusted the chances to receive the Legendary Diving Bell Specialists to fit this new distribution.

Improved the main menu to give you a better and clearer overview of available and owned DLCs.

Improved the visualization of street connection when placing blueprint buildings next to streets. Now, a blue overlay will be visible over affected areas.

Various performance improvements to the overall gameplay experience have been made.

The statistics menu has been improved to also take bonus production due to buffs into account.

We made some adjustments to a total of 9 items that give a bonus to attractiveness. You can find our thoughts behind these changes in this blog post.

Cabinet of Curiosities Pamphlet Attractiveness reduced from +10 to +7
Piano Concerto Billboard Attractiveness reduced from +10 to +7
Boys’ Choir Flyer Attractiveness reduced from +10 to +7
Art and Craft Festival Poster Attractiveness reduced from +10 to +7
La Condesa Del Amor’s Majestic Dance Billboard Attractiveness reduced from +15 to +10
The “Valley of Death” A Treatise on the Upper Kingdoms Attractiveness reduced from +15 to +10
Crimbles Choral Society Poster Attractiveness reduced from +15 to +10
Inma’s International Trade Fair Billboard Attractiveness reduced from +15 to +10
Sarah Bartok, The Golden Voice Attractiveness reduced from +14 to +7 and Range from +20 to +25 

Improved overall performance for extremely large save games with a huge number of buildings and residents.

Adjusted behavior of trade menus so they don’t close automatically after a purchase is done, as requested by many in the community.

Adjusted the right click menu so that it’s adaptable to session-specific buildings. 

Improved info tip visualization for the statistics screen’s filters. 

Improved the visuals on the expedition captain for “The Passage” expeditions.

Improved copy mode so that quay is selectable now.

Adjusted some words that triggered the profanity filter incorrectly. 

Made the upgrading of blueprint modules such as wheat fields and cultural modules via shortcuts more consistent.

Improved the city decoration category in the construction menu for alternative sorting. 

Adjusted the way fields for text react when hitting ENTER key after entering some text.

Improved text in info tips where values could be very high,  such as influence or population in the top bar menu.

Improved the way railways interact with streets in the New World.  

Improved automatic rotation for the residence buildings of engineers and artisans so that they connect better with each other when placing them.

Improved the behavior of keyboard input for values when setting minimum stock.

Improved icon for the engineer displayed in the top bar menu.

Improved the usability of the “ESC” button when interacting with items such as “Father’s Diary” in the campaign mode.

Improved usability of “jump to” buttons and texts in the statistics screen.

Improved the animation for upgrading a building from a blueprint.

Improved the visibility of ships in Trade Routes scrolling menus when the player owns many ships.

General Bug Fixes

Fixed an issue where the game could crash while assigning ships to the zoological expedition while using DirectX12.

Fixed a stability issue when attempting to open expedition screens. 

Fixed a stability issue which could occur upon closing the game on Windows 7 and 8.1 operating systems. 

Fixed an issue with multi-copy for module blueprints. Previously, some farms with modules could be copied with only the modules, while “forgetting” the main farm.  

Several random crashes and desyncs have been fixed. 

Improved relocation of the harbor building when attempting to move it to the other side of the island.

Previously it could happen that some areas would incorrectly appear to be blocked.  

Fixed an issue where the treaties menu could appear empty if the player was in an alliance from the beginning of the game in multiplayer mode. 

Fixed an issue where repeated clicks on residences could disable the “Esc” shortcut.

Fixed an issue with newspaper happiness effects not being properly applied.

Fixed an issue with some monument progress being reset after a save and reload in the middle of construction.

Fixed an issue that could prevent the copying of railway tracks under certain circumstances.

Fixed an issue with ships escorting other ships on trade routes without being ordered to do so. I am going to have to ask you to calm down, escort ship!

Fixed a situation where goods could be incorrectly reserved in case an expedition ship would have been destroyed while loading goods and before leaving for an expedition. Please note that this fix will not apply to save games where this issue already exists, though you should be able to reset the activations by starting and preparing another expedition at the affected harbor.

Fixed an issue in the “Botanica” DLC where Botanical Gardens do not receive maintenance reduction influence bonus.

Solved an issue where the Taiga set bonus would incorrectly reduce the consumption of Goulash.

Fixed an issue where feedback ships (such as the workforce transfer ones) could get stuck in rare occasions.

Fixed a performance issue where opening a save game menu with a lot of save games could get the menu stuck for a few seconds.

Fixed a rare occurrence where too many riots would trigger too many NPCs simultaneously.

Fixed a rare issue with trade routes where a route could break due to an improperly removed connection.

Fixed a rare occurrence where a ship tried to continue loading goods after the trading post on the target island was destroyed. Sorry ship, they are all gone!

Improved behavior for firefighters so that they don’t extinguish fires out of the range of their fire station.

Graphics and User Interface

Fixed an issue with additional construction options not displayed correctly in the shipyard object menu. Away with you, “wharf bug”!

Various UI fixes for the trading system in expeditions. Feedback should be smoother and info tips should have better visibility now. 

Adjusted some edge cases where the “Join Game” invitation in multiplayer could incorrectly block some slots.

Fixed the visualization of cargo slots for ships with more than 3 slots in Expedition screens and trade menus.

Adjusted the way construction menu pins work for buildings and ships after reloading a multiplayer save file.

Fixed the display of the voice chat panel in multiplayer which could overlap object menus when playing with more than six players.  

Fixed an issue with vanishing propaganda articles in the newspaper menu in co-op mode.

Improved UI visualization for the time of day menu. 

Improved visibility of steam ships at night.

Fixed an anti-aliasing issue in the statistics screen for the production line graphs.

Fixed missing resource bar indicator in Oil Tanker’s object menu. 

Fixed a graphical issue with mine ruins.  

Fixed minor UI issue with the missing “back” button in the profile creation screens. 

Improved visibility of third-party icons.

Improved text visibility of low-resolution displays like 4:3 screens. 

Improved open and close animations for the quest book. 

Changed the icon in New World’s construction menu to properly show the paved street in the Obrero section.

Fixed an issue with disappearing info layers after reloading a game.

Fixed an edge case where the character would not show up when opening the competitor selection menu in the Multiplayer Lobby.

Fixed placement of the icon displayed next to the mouse cursor when dragging items and resources.

Fixed an issue with the flyout displaying incorrect costs when upgrading a Malthouse from blueprint.

Fixed an issue in co-op with “Jump to Player” buttons being visible after loading a save game alone. 

Fixed an issue where switching pages in the Portrait/Color window of the multiplayer lobby using the top buttons doesn’t update the arrows accordingly.

Fixed  visual issue which could occur on uncommon resolutions with object menus.

Fixed visual issue for banners that display influence achievements for new newspaper propaganda effects.

Improved quality of UI elements in the DLC selection screens in the profile creation flow.

Solved an issue where ships such as Battlecruisers which have 4 item slots break the UI when opening a trade menu with second or third parties.

Solved a graphical issue where paved road crossing sections would not match in color.

Fixed a postcard mode issue where the camera could be moved out of the playable area in rare circumstances.

Improved the visibility of item slots in the trade menu for ships such as the Clipper which have only one item slot.

Fixed a minor graphical issue present in the Steam Shipyard building.

Removed the carts from ruined mine buildings.

Adjusted the placement of feedback units for certain buildings like the Church to remove clipping issues.

Fixed a minor UI issue present in the shares overview menu.

Improved the UI behavior for closing a hostile takeover screen.

Improved the header of the Airship Hangar menu in “The Passage”.

Added the info tips for the Save/Load buttons in the difficulty levels menus during the game creation flow.

Adjusted the positioning of the info tip displayed for “Workforce assignment” in object menus such as shipyards.

Adjusted the info tip text for the unlock conditions of the Paved Street in the New World.

Fixed a graphical issue with feedback units still doing their duty on destroyed harbor guns.

Improved the visuals displayed in the marketplace when only one tier type is present.

Improved the visibility of the airship from a distance.

Fixed minor graphical issue present on Archibald Blake’s island.

Improved button states for the toggle buttons present in the statistics screens.

Adjusted altitude for the airship when passing through tall buildings such as Madame Kahina’s Harbor.

Adjusted the info tip to display correct information in the Oil Harbor when not all trains are unlocked yet.

Adjusted filter highlights when switching between UI elements in the Warehouse and Harbor.


Fixed the Anarchist DLC quest “Collectivists” in multiplayer mode.  

Fixed a situation in the “Sunken Treasures” DLC where “The Great Exhibition” quest could be triggered twice.

Fixed background display in the quest book for the quests “The fellowship”, “A novel proposal of Captain Nobody’s” and “The Nameless Author”. 

Fixed an issue with “Beyond the Horizon 2 – A different Point of view” which could have triggered without meeting Isabel Sarmento. 

Adjusted text for “Wonders of the Arctic” quest from the “The Passage” DLC. 

Fixed a situation in the “Sunken Treasures” DLC where Vasco’s ships would not move to the quest location in the “Sound of the Sea” quest

Fixed the position for the demolitions expert in campaign mode to prevent him from spawning in water. 

Localization and Texts

Adjusted text for “Special visits” in Public Mooring.

Fixed text display issues on info tips for some items such as the “Heated Jacket”, info tips of the construction menu and influence top bar info tips in several languages.

 Adjusted info tips in the quest book.

Fixed loading tips which were too long for some localizations.

Fixed text for several expeditions in the Spanish and Polish localizations.

Fixed localization issues for some cut-off text in the influence menu.

Fixed text issue in “Aarhant Proposes A Battle Plan” campaign quest description in the quest book.

Adjusted text for the “Frogman” article in the newspaper. 

Fixed a text issue present in the exhibit object menu of cultural buildings when an item is equipped. 

Fixed a text issue present in the info tip in the diplomacy screen. 


DevBlog: Seat of Power

“Be thine own palace, or the world’s thy jail,” wrote poet John Donne, an idea many a royal and tyrant appear to have refigured over the centuries, constructing extravagant and self-aggrandizing Palaces as an extension of the self— a demonstration of the power and freedom of divine privilege. The masses would look on in awe of what beauty and grandeur was possible, while they themselves grew ever more miniscule.

By constructing vast and lavishly-adorned palaces, rulers presumed they had the personal heft and prestige to fill the yawning emptiness within. Their gold oozed along every rim and chamfer, their Objet d’art cluttered the mantelpieces, and the oil paintings of their illustrious ancestors gussied up the walls. But mere appearance of power and status will never be enough.

Any such seat of power must also have some connection, no matter how moot, to the important business of state. Such an immoderate edifice as a palace must be more than the oppressor’s great white elephant— it must appear to the people to serve a purpose in their lives. It must be the constitutional heart of government, from which grave and meaningful decisions come to pass under the gavel, in chambers puffed full with the nation’s great political minds. An illusion of democracy. The Palace is the nexus of legislative limbs that reach out and touch every corner of the empire, where, as no leaping lord will admit, all of the real business is conducted…

The palace is as classic an Anno element as any, having been first introduced all the way back at the franchise’s birth in 1998 with Anno 1602. From then on, it would go on to serve in several other Anno games as something to aspire to in the late game, once you had mastered all other challenges. In this way, it would serve as the ultimate projection of your city-building prowess.  Now, the palace is ready to make its triumphant return in Anno 1800, kicking off Season 2 and living up to its predestined role as your “Seat of Power”.

A Seat of Power fit for any industrial ruler

Flexibility both majestic and modular

The first thing players will notice about Anno 1800’s palace is its visual opulence. The palace joins the ranks of the botanical garden, museum and zoo as 1800’s latest modular building, giving you a lot of freedom on how to arrange the 6 different modules (straight, gate, corner, junction, crossing and end pieces, plus some cosmetic variations on the straight pieces) to your liking. As with our other modular building projects, it all begins with the main building, which you will unlock once the first investor calls your empire their home (assuming of course you can afford the associated significant building cost). You will also be able to build an initial number of modules, based on your profile level. As you attract additional citizens and raise your profile level, you will unlock the ability to place even more modules. And guess what- there is no hard limit on the number of modules you can unlock, with one community member reaching more than 130 modules in a recent playtest! Now before your mind starts drifting off with visions of an all-palace empire, there are some limitations we have to talk about- namely that you can only build one palace in your empire, and it can only be placed on an Old World island (so either the original session, or Cape Trelawney from our “Sunken Treasures” DLC).

Beyond this limitation, you have a lot of flexibility when it comes to building your palace, and we have already seen a variety of impressive setups in our tests- from extravagant gardens to museums and even a world fair constructed within a sprawling palace’s inner courtyard! And of course, both streets and railway tracks can be placed inside the gates to make sure that whatever you want to construct inside the place grounds is properly connected to the rest of your city!

Entering the halls of power…

Projecting your power, one buff at a time

But what about those players who don’t care pretty looks you, I hear some of you ask? Very well then- let us talk departments and policies! Once you construct your palace, you immediately gain access to one or more departments (based on your city attractiveness), with additional departments unlocking over time as your island increases its attractiveness. So, what do they do? For starters, each unlocked department immediately gives you access to a permanent buff, such as +200 tons islands storage per Harbormaster’s office on that island (each department is specialized on one aspect of your city, such as administration, culture or trade). In addition – and this is where things get really interesting – each unlocked department gives you a choice of several policies, of which only one can be active at a time (though you can switch them out). These give you a lot of flexibility to make sure that whatever the situation on your island currently is, you have full control of what boon you want to use.

The departments you can unlock over time

Of course, it would not be Anno if there was not also a logistical element to it all- these boons only work in a certain radius around the palace, and only along the street network (though only the palace main building has to be connected to the streets, rather than every module). And, to bring everything full circle and ensure that future palace builders will have to make some tough choices, the radius of these effects increases with each additional palace module constructed. Do you want a minimal palace to leave as much room as possible for the rest of your city? Or are you looking to construct enough modules to have the effects of your policies reach across all of Crown Falls? As always, the choice is yours!

There is one more piece of the palace puzzle, and that is the local department. These are essentially outposts of the palace that you can construct once per Old World or Cape Trelawney island to select a single policy (out of al your unlocked departments and policies) to enact locally. Beyond this limitation, local departments follow the same rules as the main palace- they give a passive buff (based on the active policy you selected), and buildings must be both within their radius and connected to the street network to benefit from them. And yes- more palace modules also increase the range of the local departments. Happy city-puzzling, everyone!

Start ruling from March 24

And there you have it! Seat of Power combines a lot of flexibility for building the modular palace of your dreams with some tough choices when it comes to which buff to select for which island and local department. On top of that, you can prove your mastery with five new achievements, and two new sets of ornaments you can unlock with the Ubisoft Club. You can start constructing the “Seat of Power” of your dreams when the first DLC of Season 2 becomes available on March 24th for all Season 2 Pass owners. Starting on that day, you can also buy the DLC individually for 9,99€/ $, or your local equivalent. However, please note that due to the current government advisory on the Covid-19 pandemic, we will have to skip our traditional release stream for “Seat of Power”. Please take care of yourself and the people around you, and as always, keep an eye on the Anno Union for the latest news.

An illuminated palace at midnight

Announcing the Anno 1800 Season 2 Pass

Prior to the release of The Passage last December, we excitedly announced our plan to deliver even more Anno 1800 to our 1 million+ pioneers of industrial revolution throughout 2020. This presents a unique opportunity for the Anno team, as it means that Anno 1800 will be receiving more postlaunch support than any previous game in the series! In the past, development of content has ended a year or so after the release of an Anno game, with the team moving on to the next title. With Anno 1800, we are excited to have the chance to flesh out the world of the industrial revolution even further, with new systems, citizen tiers and yes, even a new continent. Enter stage right: The Anno 1800 Season 2 Pass, which will be adding three exciting new DLCs to the game this year!

Seat of Power (March 24)

It all begins later this month with our next DLC pack, Seat of Power, which allows you to construct a magnificent palace fit for the ruler of an industrial empire. And while we know that our modular buildings like the zoo or botanical garden are big hits with beauty builders, the palace has an altogether more profound impact on life in your capital. As the eponymous Seat of Power, the palace will house several departments, each giving you not only a passive bonus, but also the pick of several policies that you can use to influence different aspects of life in your city.

A majestically illuminated palace at night

Game Update 7 (March 24, free for all players)

Speaking of influence, we would be remiss if we did not mention our free Game Updates. As with Season 1, each of our three Season 2 DLCs will release alongside a free Game Update that will further improve and enhance the game for all Anno 1800 players. With Game Update 7, we will tackle one of the most discussed game systems by adding three separate difficulty tiers for the influence system. With this change, you can select whether you want to earn more, less or the same amount of influence as you currently do. And yes, this will also apply to existing save games, asking you to pick a difficulty the first time you load up your save game!

Bright Harvest (Summer 2020)

With our second DLC, we are taking the technological marvels of the second industrial revolution to the countryside, allowing you to boost your farms’ productivity to unknown heights! To do so, you will place new tractor modules on your farms, which will increase the overall productivity of the farm, while also lowering the required workforce. Depending on how many farms you have, this could mean a whole lot more space on your islands, and we can’t wait to see what you do with it! Of course, you will have to make sure that your tractors don’t run out of fuel along the way…

Early technical test of a tractor

To round out the theme of industrialization, Bright Harvest will also include a new selection of farming-and-industry-themed ornaments, to make your cities feel even livelier.

Land of Lions (2020)

We bet you didn’t see this one coming, eh? Jokes aside, we know that the community has been clamoring for an African-inspired session in Anno 1800 ever since we first announced that the game would be using the Session system, way back in 2017. Good things come to those who wait, and we are happy to say that Land of Lions will be the biggest DLC for Anno 1800, including a new session and continent, new citizen tiers, buildings, production chains and quests. In a new storyline, you will travel to the drylands to join up with Emperor Ketema, as he works to turn his lands green.

Discover the Land of Lions later this year

You will do so using the new irrigation system, making smart use of what little existing water there is on the map to construct a network of canals and fertile patches of soil. Anno veterans will notice similarities to Anno 1404’s Noria, though Land of Lions puts an all-new spin on the timeless fantasy of making the desert bloom. We also listened to your feedback regarding the Passage, and rest assured that Land of Lions will have a deeper impact on things in the old world! We will have much more information about all the new content later this year.

The Season 2 Pass is now available!

In addition to these three DLCs, buyers of the Season 2 Pass will also receive three exclusive new ornaments when Seat of Power launches on March 24th— so enjoy your first look at the appropriately-themed ‘Palatial Column’, ‘Ploughman’s Glory’ and ‘Elephountain’.

The Palatial Column and majestic Elephountain

The Season 2 Pass for Anno 1800 (including Seat of Power, Bright Harvest, Land of Lions and the three ornaments) is now available for purchase from Epic Games Store, Steam (Update: The Season 2 Pass sadly won’t become available on Steam until Seat of POwer and Uplay, for a price of 24,99 $/ €, which will represent a saving of 9,99 $/ € versus individual purchase of the three DLCs. We can’t wait to show you more about all three DLCs, and our free Game Updates over the coming months!

The Ploughman’s Glory is a monument to your farming prowess

Celebrating more than 1 Million Anno 1800 players

Hey Anno Community,

happy Monday. And what a great Monday it is! Not only did we just reveal our plans for Season 2 of Anno 1800 (which begins in just two weeks with our next DLC, Seat of Power!), but we also want to share and celebrate a special milestone with all of you.

2019 was an incredible year for the Anno 1800 team. From seeing our game becoming a hit on Twitch during the Closed Beta in January and the game’s launch in April, to three DLCs and lots of improvements throughout the following months, it was quite the adventure. We even won a lot of awards (and were nominated for even more)! The last highlight of the year came in December, when – thanks to all of you! – Anno 1800 reached the milestone of more than 1 million players after less than nine months on the market, confirming its status as the fastest-selling game in our beloved 21-year-old series! 

1 million is obviously a huge number, but how does that translate into the world of Anno’s gameplay? To give you a better idea of all the shared achievements of the Anno community, we have put together this handy infographic, showing some of the mind-boggling numbers that can be reached when over 1 million Annoholics get down to business. 

Of course, we could not have reached this milestone without the passion and support of the Anno Union community, who have been with us every step of the way for the past two and a half years. As a special “thank you” for the love and support of the Anno community, we are releasing this free ornament with Game Update 6.3, which is out today.

Test Anno 1800 for free from March 12-15

Of course, it would not be a proper celebration if we did not invite everybody! So, if you have to yet take the plunge into the industrial revolution, you can test Anno 1800 for free from March 12-15*. The Anno 1800 Free Weekend will give you access to the first three tiers of Sandbox Mode, as well as multiplayer and co-op mode. The pre-load is now available via Epic Games Store and on Uplay, and you can see the exact times of the Free Weekend on Uplay below.

Here is to an exciting Season 2! 

The Anno 1800 Team 

*Play a free demo of Anno 1800 from 12th March, 2020 3pm UTC to 16th March, 2020 2pm UTC on EPIC PC and from 12th March, 2020 11am UTC to 16th March, 2020 2pm UTC on Uplay. The game is provided AS-IS, may not function as expected, and may crash. Please note that maintenance may also occur at any time during this period, rendering you unable to access parts or all of the game. Internet access and Ubisoft Account registration required.  

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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!



Game Update 6.1 is coming next week

We are currently working on Game Update 6.1, which will fix the issues you can see below. We will share more informaton on the releasem timing and download size once they are available, so keep an eye on this spot!

Bug Fixes

Fixed a potential crash that could occur at game start.

Fixed an issue that could cause performance drops when a lot of ships were simultaneously switching sessions, which would have especially affected larger save games.

Fixed an issue with the fog of war returning to islands after loading a save game.

Fixed an issue that could cause performance issues in co-op games specifically.

Fixed a visual issue with fire effects not being correctly aligned on the affected ships.


The Future of Anno 1800

As we get closer to next week’s update hattrick of The Passage (available as part of the Anno 1800 Season Pass or as a stand-alone purchase), co-op mode and new statistics system (available as a free update to all players), one question has become prevalent within our communities: “What`s next for Anno 1800?” Does The Passage mark not only the end of our Season Pass, but of development overall? Or can Annoholics look forward to more industrial adventures in 2020? Today, we want to answer that question by raising the curtain just a little bit…

Bring the Holiday Spirit to your cities on December 10

First, we have one more surprise in store for next week- the release of our “Holiday Pack”. This standalone DLC Pack (not included in the Season Pass or any editions of the game) adds a total of 23 new ornaments to the game, allowing players to build their very own Christmas Markets in their cities- including huts, Christmas trees and even a carousel featuring some vehicles from the game!

If all this sounds familiar to you as Anno fans, you are right; we did similar content packs for Anno 2070 as well, like the “Eden Series Package”. So why bring them back now? We know that Anno players love few things more than having new buildings to add to their cities, and there can never be enough variety when it comes to decorations and ornaments! At the same time, feature-rich DLCs like The Passage take several months of development, making it impossible for us to release them as frequently as we would like to deliver new content to you all to keep Anno 1800 exciting and fresh.

As a compromise between these aspects, our talented art team has created this pack of Holiday-themed ornaments to see if this is a content format that will appeal to the Anno community. Should the Holiday Pack prove popular with players, we would love to create more such themed packs in the future. Who knows, we could even run a vote on the Anno Union to decide on future themes to give you all something to look forward to as we work on new gameplay content!

And speaking of which…

There is more Anno 1800 on the way!

Enough teasing, here is what you all wanted to hear: The Passage is not the end for Anno 1800, and we are working on new gameplay content and features to further expand the world of the industrial revolution in 2020!

There is however a caveat: The team has been busy finishing The Passage and Game Update 6, and it will be some time before we will be able to share more concrete information with you all.

With that said, we hope you are as excited about this news as the team is, and we look forward to talking more about the future of Anno next year!


DevBlog: Day & Night

The invention of the light bulb was more than a mere boon to comfort and luxury. This new way of illuminating the darkness was also an inspiring force for creative minds and a motor for the industry, unshackling them from the natural rhythm of day and night. With electricity playing such an important role in Anno 1800’s economy, there was a strong desire from our community to have a true day and night cycle in the game. Finally, this wish became reality with Game Update 4. As the days are getting ever shorter, what better time to shine a light on this major visual update than in today’s DevBlog!

A true passion project for the players – the beginnings

Since the early days of development, we had been toying with the idea to add a day & night cycle to Anno 1800, similar to the one from 2205. In reality, game development often means throwing a lot of ideas onto a wall and then deciding which ones may be a crucial must-have features, while others end up on a potential “nice to have later” list. While the day & night originally did not make the cut, many Union members told us repeatedly that they would love to see a return of that feature to the series.

Therefore, when some members of our art team had a bit of time available after launch, they immediately set out to realize this previously scraped idea from the early days of Anno 1800. This plan was quickly validated by the modding community jumping on the topic, which showed the big interest in having this functionality in Anno 1800.

Let there be light – developing the Day & Night feature

As is often the case, our artists are perfectionists once they have their hearts set on a topic.So it was clear from the get-go that an official day & night cycle could not simply be about adding a dark night, and sun and moon cycles. Instead, almost every asset players can build would have to be reworked to make sure they look their best, no matter the time of day. Ranging from new glowing textures for illuminated windows to tons of new light sources to ships sailing the nocturnal oceans, we added over 1000 new light sources and changed more than 200 existing assets to provide the intended ambience during the night.

We also had to ensure that the new light sources would start shining during specific times of the day and account for the additional gloom of our dusk and sunset scenarios. In the 19th century, cityscapes started to change drastically with the introduction of the lightbulb. We depicted this in the game world with a more blueish tint to our electric light sources, as opposed to the warmer, yellowish light of candles and fireplaces; this way, a heavily industrialized metropolis will look and feel notably different from a rural hamlet’s atmosphere.

Here you can see how we manually setup a new light source!

Our modern cities are awash with artificial light during the night but back then, they were comparatively sparsely illuminated. Once more, we decided for a tradeoff: we wanted to create an appealing contrast to the darkness while we also did not want to outright dismiss that feeling of a gone century in the midst of transformation into the modern world.  

Players would also expect that their city would appear much quieter during the night, but Anno’s cityscapes are normally famously bustling with life. As a result, we had to send our feedback units through another development pass, where we had to reduce the overall amount of residents following their daily business while again, adding and altering light sources. As a result, the streets are less crowded during the late hours. You may also notice some other subtle changes, such as removing the kids from the schoolyard during the night or adding more musicians to the pub to let it appear livelier in the after work hours. 

Our tools allowed us to precisely define the tinting of each time of day.

Finally but crucially, we wanted to give the player full control over the scenery. For that, we had to program the functionality to allow them to change the time of day at their convenience or to go for one of our presets, such as daylight, dusk, dawn or midnight. While we decided to make the night hours shorter than the actual day for gameplay convenience, players would also be able to decide to stop the cycle altogether to enjoy their sunset for as long as they like.

It’s not always style over substance – Impact on Gameplay

While changing hundreds of assets manually was a huge albeit worthwhile task, there was more to it than just adding another layer of visual fidelity.
In a game like Anno, readability is an important factor to provide a satisfying gameplay experience.

While various tooltips and windows help you to keep an overview about events in your empire, the game also transmits a lot of information through visual feedback happening in your city. A night setting naturally makes it much harder to read what is going on, which necessitated the addition of all these new light sources to make sure that you could still identify all buildings, and not lose track of your ships.

We also played around with ideas how the shift from day to the midst of the night could affect gameplay, and while it would open many possibilities, we realized that doing so would simply add a lot of unnecessary micromanagement, without actually benefiting the overall game experience and player fantasy.  

Day & Night, a joint effort

While we have primarily talked about our artists, the day & night update was a collaborative effort from the whole Anno team, drawing on all disciplines from art and engine R&D (research and development) to programming and interface. Judging by the countless of majestically lighted nocturnal cityscapes we have seen online, we are very happy with the results of this effort, and hope you agree as well.

What is your preferred time of day for your empire? And do you make extensive active use of the options available, or do you just roll with the natural rhythm of night and day? Let us know in the comments below!