So Anyway, Dawn of Discovery Looks Intricate

By Jim Rossignol on June 16th, 2009 at 1:33 pm.


I just realised that we’ve barely paid any attention to Dawn Of Discovery, which is the historical city-forging management sequel ANNO 1404 for us Europeans. Presumably Americans need something that ties into the whole colonial history/discover of America thing to make sense of it, eh? [This bit is where I am poking fun at pointless rebranding exercises, HAHA.] Whatever the naming foolery, it’s looking rather splendid, with some remarkably intricate city-building going on. The core campaign of the game is based around interaction with Eastern cultures, including what is apparently fairly complex trade and diplomacy, as you settle a chain of islands. What looks most satisfying is the visual wealth of the cities themselves: I can easily imagining sinking weeks into creating the bustling little economies. That should be made easier by the game apparently being a bit more sandboxy than the previous ANNO titles.

No US release date yet, but it should be out by the end of the month in Europe. Check out the four videos below for a mildly amusing juxtaposition of smooth-voiced American narrator, and the German developers.













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35 Comments »

  1. Gurrah says:

    Ah yes, Almonds, the cornerstone of every happy society :D.

  2. DennisK4 says:

    Looks great! the previous game, Anno 1701, was great and hopefully the gameplay in this one will be even better. With this and the Cities XL game/MMO it looks like that city builder itch will be scratched!

  3. psyk says:

    Looking good any news on a demo at some point?

  4. Echo says:

    Although I loved 1701, is it just me, or does the engine look quite bad for this? The buildings take a while to update when you zoom in, and the draw distance is really small. Oh well, graphics are definitely not the most important thing about this game, so I can live with that.

  5. MonkeyMonster says:

    Uhoh, I spy a time eater for me. A big scary time eater. Settlers mixed with a bit of civ and caeser? Looks good.

  6. unclelou says:

    Recent hands-on reports from the press here in Germany as well as naughty beta testers ignoring the NDA have been downright enthusiastic, calling it not only the best Anno, but the best citybuilding game they’ve played.

    I like the Anno games a lot (but always feel they’re a little too rigid in what you can do and how), and will most certainly pick this up – it helps that it looks so spectacular.

    Didn’t know it was called Age of Discovery in the US – I thought that would only be the title for the Wii and DS versions.

  7. unclelou says:

    Uff, the edit function is gone again. Doublepost time:

    Looking good any news on a demo at some point?

    Pretty sure they have already announced a demo, yes.

  8. TotalBiscuit says:

    1701 was incredible. I do hope Dawn of Discovery has actual functional multiplayer (1701′s didn’t seem to work for most people), if that’s the case I forsee many hours of my life disappearing in the quest to stop my colonists rioting over lack of Pottery.

  9. Clovis says:

    Presumably Americans need something that ties into the whole colonial history thing to make sense of it?

    No, I think American marketers do. I really like city builders and I can live with the setting being completely in the dirty non-American parts of the world (even if the location is in super-dirty South America). I would even play a game that took place before Jesus created America!

    Seriously though, the kind of person who enjoys ye olde “city builder” is hardly going to pass on it because it doesn’t have a US connection.

    Shooters obviously need to involve US soldiers though, or maybe even somehow take place in the US. The US guys get the BIG GUNS. If I’m stuck playing a British soldier I have to fiddle with some goofy contraption. And if I have to play as Russian I get like 2 bullets….

  10. Some Guy says:

    That narrator sounds incredably patronising.

  11. jarvoll says:

    Clovis’ post makes this *slightly* unnecessary, but yeah, American != USAnian.

    Also, not only is ‘British’ an anachronism for the first game (1701), a HUGE anachronism for this game (1404), but it’s pretty much the world’s worst misnomer ever, since the real rulers of the not-actually-British-empire were the English, who were certainly not a branch of Brythonic celts.

    Yes, terminology for those islands hanging off mainland europe can be confusing, but thankfully there’s a wiki article that breaks it all down pretty well.

  12. Sonic Goo says:

    If you think being British is confusing, imagine being Dutch, from Holland, The Netherlands, in the Lowlands.

  13. Lucas says:

    1701 was great, and this was exactly what I wanted to see this morning. Nice job RPS! Anyone interested should definitely grab 1701. Here’s hoping 1404 is a worthy successor.

    Also, I hate the trend to re-label series for US release (Outfront XYZ anyone?). “Dawn of Discovery” is more Wii friendly sounding or something. Only marketing knows.

  14. Super Bladesman says:

    Could they have found a bigger microphone? Oh dear.

    Still, I knew nothing about this until now, and now I’m quite intrigued :)

  15. Bema says:

    Whey! I was hoping there’d be another one of these just around the corner. Thanks for the update :)

  16. Jim Rossignol says:

    Clovis

    I would even play a game that took place before Jesus created America!

    Me. Too.

    Also, I’ve made it clearer that I’m mocking pointless rebranding exercises, rather than Americans, for the people who missed that.

    And, yes, a demo is confirmed for this.

  17. Clovis says:

    Thanks, Jim. At some point when I wrote that i realized that was probably what you meant.

  18. MonkeyMonster says:

    I too being a huge fan of settlers/caeser had never heard of the anno games… Which was odd.

  19. Vinraith says:

    The Anno games are superb, even if they do feel compelled to rename them strangely to sell them in my country. I can’t imagine not picking this up when it comes out, though I still have so much left to complete in the 1701 expansion…

  20. ulix says:

    Concerning a multiplayer mode:

    There (sadly) WON’T BE ANY in the retail release. Seems like they had to many problems with multiplayer in 1701, so they’re leaving it out for now.
    They’re hoping to introduce a functional multiplayer with an eventual expansion, though I wouldn’t take any wagers.

  21. MacBeth says:

    Tiny footnote to the ‘Britishness’ or otherwise of the British Empire – it wouldn’t have got anywhere without its Scottish engineers! Apparently Scotty from Star Trek was a nod to the fact that steamships around the world had Scotsmen in the engine room…

  22. IvanHoeHo says:

    Excited! Even though I’m Canadian/Chinese, and nobody ever makes games about Canada: the 51th state :(

  23. Jeremy says:

    Wow, that game looks amazing. I’ve been craving a city building game for like 9 months, but haven’t had anything to fulfill that. This looks to be the game, and I can’t even emphasize how glad I am that the military aspect is more about building infrastructure than controlling units. Every city building game that had a military aspect in terms of units, well it just didn’t seem to mesh well. This looks to be a lot more in tune with the concept of building a city.

    You say no US release yet? Son of a b. The naming is a little weird to me too. Anno 1701 came out as such, without the need for marketing to snazz it up for us obese capitalists. I recently discovered that America isn’t the fattest country by the way, we’re the 8th fattest… by percent. Which unfortunately still gives us the highest concentration of fat people in the world.

  24. Serondal says:

    I’ve never even heard of ANNO before O.o how could I have missed this I normally love these types of games.

    Actaully looking at the box art for Anno 1701 I think I did see his and thought to myself “wtf does anno mean? moving on . . ”

    How does Anno compare to other city building series? I think the last one I played was The Guild II or some game called Civlizaiton : Rome or something like that O.o The Guild II is actually more of a medevil life simulator though so . . I dunno. I’ve read nothing but bad reviews about city buildings games lately The new Simcity spin off and Casevar IV were suposed to be pretty bad.

    Mainly right now I play Patrician a lot :P

  25. Plopsworth says:

    Serondal:

    I’ll just repost my contribution from the forum where someone was asking whether it was worth $15.

    “+ 1

    Not bad at all for that price, especially as it apparently comes with the Sunken Dragon expansion-pack that adds a more traditional linear campaign and some more fun stuff.
    One of those stress-relieving (mostly) games, not stress-inducing.
    * Very pretty. Filled with charming little details, beautiful water effects and natural disasters.
    * Pretty good voice-work, especially for an originally German game (except for trading vessel ahoy!). Soundtrack isn’t bad either.
    * In general, fine production-values across the board.
    Crucially: significant other-friendly (or at least mine likes it).

    The one minus I can think of is the combat, but that’s very similar to the Caesar-series, as it’s more about the numbers and amassing concentrated firepower than flanking, terrain or line-of-battle tactics.

    That doesn’t matter so much as in general it’s not so much about the combat either. Like Tropico/Caesar/Settlers, it’s more about competing for resources, setting up lines of production for finished goods, optimising settlement layout, completing tasks and satisfying the ever-increasing demands of your tax-payers/populace.”

  26. Carra says:

    Ah, anno 1602 is one of my alltime favorite games. But both sequels didn’t seem to add a lot. I hope this game will add some novelties, the culture does look interesting. And maybe a decent combat system. Or maybe no combat system.

    And the anno series are some of the best city building games. One of their best features is the need to colonize multiple islands to develop your main city. Whales for lamp oil live in the cold north, spices are made in the warm south. So you need to settle multiple islands and start trading routes.

  27. Geoff says:

    I’m another American who loved 1701. Marketing was practically non-existent here, I think I had to actively search to find a copy, but I loved it.

    For those wondering if it’s worth a go, I’d say a hearty “yes!”, as long as your expectation is more like Sim City than Age of Empires. Combat just barely exists, but the city building is excellent.

    The premise is that by providing them with gradually more “civilized” goods and services (say alcohol, nearby church, jewelry) your citizens gradually upgrade themselves from pioneers, to settlers, eventually to aristocrats. At each step up, they become more dense and produce more income, but the things you needed to promote them are now necessary just to keep them satisfied. If you lose your shipment of ale, everyone starts to riot.

  28. Pod says:

    It hink Anno _NEEDS_ to be rebranded. It has the stupidesty sequel naming system ever — they just randomly assign dates.

    1602->1503->1701->1404. What next, 1305? 1806?!

    “ANNO 1″
    “ANNO 2: Anno Domini”
    “Anno 3: Anno Tronimi”
    “Anno 4: More Anno”.

  29. goodgimp says:

    No, all the dates always add up to 9, so 1806 would not work :)

    1305 on the other hand… possibly!

  30. Railick says:

    how about Anno 9 , a game about building a city in the year 9, that’d be F@#$@# AWESOME!

  31. DSX says:

    This is a superb game, US customers could get the DE version since it’s release online (gamersgate etc), which had an English language option in the install. Not sure why the delay/rename.

  32. realcals says:

    so what is the multiplayer like in 1701, given there is no mp in this sequel?

  33. Vinraith says:

    It’s a city-builder, it doesn’t really lend itself to MP anyway. You spend 95% of a the game playing by yourself whether there are other humans present or not, since other players aren’t a central preoccupation of the game mechanics.

    Frankly, if they were looking for something to cut in 1404, they could have done a LOT worse IMO.

  34. Alienstout says:

    Amazon has this shipping on June 23rd here in the States.

  35. GregP says:

    The names of the games in the series do have a logic to it – it’s not just that the numbers add up to 9, but rather that each game is separated from the rest by 99 years.