New Anno – Not When You Were Expecting

By John Walker on April 4th, 2011 at 5:15 pm.

This isn't full of horses!

So guess which year the next Anno game’s going to be in. The strategy/simulation series began in 1602, jumped ahead to 1701, then went all the way back to 1404. So where next for the city-building RTS? Of course it’s 2070.

From Related Designs and Bluebyte once again, it’s going all futuristic, which is perhaps a somewhat surprising turn for the old-world series. Caroline Stevens, EMEA Brand Director at Ubisoft, said,

“Anno 2070 is a very ambitious game that will feel both familiar and fresh to fans of the series. Due to the game’s futuristic setting, the development team wasn’t restricted by historical boundaries and was able to dream bigger than ever before. It’s a new take on a great franchise that both newcomers and longtime fans will love.”

Here’s the “key features” Ubisoft are touting:

- A new era: while adhering to the fundamentals that made the Anno franchise a success, the near-future setting will bring numerous new gameplay mechanics, architectural breakthroughs, and all new challenges. Additionally, players will be able to build massive cities, the scope of which has never been seen in prior Anno games.

- A dynamic world: the world of Anno 2070 will evolve differently depending on each player’s playing style and choices. Players’ decisions will have an impact on the environment, the architectural look of their world, and the needs of their populations, leading them to refine and better understand the impact of their personal approaches to managing the world’s resources.

- Factions: players will be able to select between two factions when building their empires. Players can choose between an industrial and efficient course by joining the Tycoons or a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly direction by siding with the Ecos.

- Rich and varied game modes:
Single player campaign: a story-driven single player mode with a deep variety of challenges.
Single player “continuous mode”: the renowned endless game mode where the objective is to build the biggest civilization possible without time constraints.
Multiplayer and Online features: Anno 2070 will include innovative online modes offering players brand new possibilities to get in touch with gamers all around the world.

- Outstanding graphics: A new version of the game engine, developed specifically by Related Designs for Anno 2070, allows the game to deliver a breathtaking visual experience never before seen in the Anno franchise.

Ubi says to head to the main Anno site for more details, but there don’t appear to be any. Just a very annoying talking man.

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105 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge Schaulustiger says:

    A bold move and an interesting one, too. I’m especially curious how/if the climate changes caused by excessive resource exhaustion deeply change the environment.

    • Arca says:

      Yeah, If they add that then it will make it much more interesting.

      I’ve never actually played the anno series, maybe I should get one of the older ones.

  2. Bugg says:

    This is certainly unexpected, but I do like the building and vehicle designs. They packed so much character and detail into the last game that I’m looking forward to what they’ll do with this setting.

    Dawn/1404 was my favorite game of the last few years. I’d be afraid to find out how much time it ate up.

  3. Danarchist says:

    Was just playing Dawn of Discovery (thats what we yanks call it, why the hell does it have 2 names?) last night and realized how fast you can lose track of 5 hours when you just need a little more stone to finish that pub….

    I can honestly say I have probably started 50 different games of it, and never finished one. I tend to get annoyed once im building on 4 or 5 different islands and managing the shipping lanes and what resource needs to go where etc. I think of it as “Sims: Accountant Edition”

    • vandinz says:

      I have the same trouble. Started it about 4 times but not got very far into it.

    • omicron1 says:

      “You yanks” (do note I am a resident of the US, too) call it Dawn of Discovery because the gents at Ubisoft decided the Anno/AD label had little visibility on this side of the ocean, so they renamed it.

    • slight says:

      Not for the same reason the 007 film License to Kill was renamed from License Revoked then? ;)

  4. GT3000 says:

    DO IT…

  5. Oak says:

    What a pleasant surprise! Consider it pre-pre-ordered.

    • Commisar says:

      it certainly looks good, but aren’t Anno Domine game know for being crazy hard, or is it the similar looking Settlers series?

    • Oak says:

      Depends entirely on the scenario or the settings (totally adjustable) of your sandbox game. It can range anywhere from a bastard-hard landgrab amongst warmongering pricks to the friendliest, most peaceful strategy game you’ll ever play.

    • Danarchist says:

      I would definitely say Settlers 7 is the harder to play only because if you dawdle at all (say trying to make the perfect city layout etc) the computer will wipe the floor with you regardless of victory conditions. Anno isn’t hard mechanics wise, just keeping track of crap anywhere past the village level can be overwhelming if your not a good book keeper. If it would let you look around the map while paused it would help me allot hehe

    • BAReFOOt says:

      I’ll get it too. I liked the very first Anno, but I can’t stand the primitive medieval times, just as I can’t stand fantasy themes.

      This is the best thing they could do. Finally a Anno for smart, forward-thinking people.

  6. ALJA says:

    This makes me happy.

  7. Xercies says:

    Loved Anno 1404 so am actually looking forward to this, also OOO at futreness!

  8. Scilantius says:

    No embiggen makes me sad :(

  9. The Hammer says:

    Wow, some very pretty screenshots for this!

    And I haven’t played a good city builder in years…

    I always did like them…

    Yeah, I think this is a purchase.

    • Commisar says:

      wait, this is a city builder, and it looks THIS good, might just have to pre order

  10. Sarlix says:

    Ooooooo

  11. Vinraith says:

    Intriguing. I love the Anno series, and while I’ve always enjoyed the setting I’m not opposed to a sci-fi twist on the formula. I’m pleased that they’re making a new one, and that it looks interesting. Here’s hoping that whatever DRM Ubi chooses to slap on this one is something tolerable, I’d hate to have to skip an Anno game because of that nonsense.

  12. Mooedf says:

    The gritty look of this makes it very interesting… Let’s hope it perhaps can sustain that kind of look throughout the game, because honestly, nothing in life looks that pretty like in the first pictures.

  13. Ginger Yellow says:

    Hmmm. Anno 1404 is my favourite city builder ever, and I’d love a good futuristic version. But do I trust Ubi not to screw it up? Not really. On the other hand, Settlers 7 was actually pretty good.

  14. DigitalSignalX says:

    Looking forward to it, and curious how the social structure dynamics will change to suit the modern era. I wonder if patricians will still generate crime without food or religion in 2070.

  15. Moni says:

    This is a shameless hijacking of the franchise. How dare the developers use the name Anno when all they’ve done is just completely changed the setting.

    It just clearly shows their lack of confidence and imagination by simply moving the game to a new location in space/time.

    Sure, the story in the previous games weren’t that great, but the writers clearly have no idea what they’re doing in this one.

  16. tcstyle says:

    You missed the first step back in time to 1503.
    2070 looks quite interesting, but I will probably not get into this like with all the other Anno games. However, my wife loves the Anno series.

  17. Premium User Badge James G says:

    I think more games need to do this, that is, head off in unexpected directions and make something which still fits within the series, but doesn’t end up playing everything straight. I suppose The Sims Medieval is another contemporary example, although I’ve not actually read any of the details as to how that plays, so might be a little out on that one.

  18. Premium User Badge Spork says:

    I haven’t played a city-builder since Pharaoh, but this has got my attention. Looks just the right sort of futuristic.

    • omicron1 says:

      You missed Immortal Cities: Children of the Nile? For shame!

  19. Mr_Hands says:

    This looks pretty neat.

  20. Phinor says:

    This looks and sounds extremely interesting. Anno 1404 was one of those games that was borderline awesome but ultimately.. wasn’t.

    I hope you can disable the bloom.

  21. Memphis-Ahn says:

    Time to rape the earth until it bleeds and suck out its life-force dry!

  22. Premium User Badge QuantaCat says:

    Actually.. Im looking forward to possible assassins creed playability in these island cities.. now THAT would be a big “fuck you, sim city!”

  23. RP says:

    Found a teensy bit more going on at this link: http://anno.uk.ubi.com/anno-2070/

    But not nearly enough still. This looks cool, wonder when it will be out…

  24. squareking says:

    Pretty! And right up my alley, since I’ve been meaning to dive into the Anno series. But sweet vats of petroleum jelly, they’ve set the blur and bloom options to eleventy trillion and broke off the knobs. Looks like something built with UDK.

  25. Eschwen says:

    Super excited about this, I have over 1000 hours of playing time (according to Steam) on 1404. I do hope this one doesn’t have an analogue to the 1404 early-game race-to-the-orient though. Getting beat to the orient and then not having any islands that support date fertility is never fun.

    • Stromko says:

      I’m not sure if 1404 is the same game as Dawn of Discovery, and DoD is the only game in the series I’ve played. That you get a ship suited to colonize the orient just as soon as you give them a single small gift means that there’s no reason for every player not to immediately grab one of the date-bearing islands. Even if that fails, colonization happens concurrently enough that there’s no way they can fully block off an island and prevent you from grabbing a chunk of one of the larger ones.

  26. Outsider says:

    Fantastic!

  27. The Dark One says:

    I was expecting at least one reference to that awful Battlefield 2142 tag line.

  28. Coins says:

    Yes! Yes! This looks fantastic. What a great move!

  29. Jim Rossignol says:

    This looks awesome.

  30. Kakrafoon says:

    I’m so happy about this! I actually live one block away from Related Design’s headquarters, and everytime I passed their offices, I thought that I hadn’t heard anything from them since 1404/Venice.
    Since nothing was known about the next Anno installment, I dreamed up an Industrial Era episode for it, but this is just as good! Maybe even better!

    Also: The cityscape looks like the resort planet featured in Bulletstorm before the mutants took over… And this is a good thing, because Bulletstorm’s architecture looks fairly stunning.

  31. satsui says:

    Like an alpaca out of fucking no where. This looks awesome.

  32. Optimaximal says:

    If 2070 is near-future, at what point do they consider far-future?

    /cue 40k references

    • Outsider says:

      In the grim future of Anno 2070 … there is only surprisingly well constructed ecologically friendly domiciles.

    • Orvidos says:

      In the Grim Future of Anno 2070, there is only. . .SIRE, OUR TREASURY IS ALMOST EMPTY.

      (Sorry, I’ve been on a Majesty 1 kick lately.)

    • Archonsod says:

      Kill the Xenos, Purge the mutant, Sell your sheep at a markup of 50% to the heretic

      In the grim darkness of the far future, nobody sells lumber at reasonable prices.

  33. LMN8R says:

    Ok good, it’s not April 1st anymore :D

  34. Premium User Badge Carra says:

    Well, still sums up to 9 so I guess it’s all fine.

    I’m glad to see they try some new things. I really enjoyed the addition of the Arabs in 1404 but it was still the same game as anno 1602 beneath everything..

  35. Acosta says:

    Mine, mine, mine, MINE! WOHOOOO!

    Really, it´s like one of those ideas that never happens “wouldn’t be awesome if…” Love it.

  36. vandinz says:

    One thing can be said about the Anno games is that they look superb. This is no exception. Looking forward to it.

  37. Dominic White says:

    Those screenshots barely look any better than Anno 1404.

    This is not a criticism of the screenshots, but more a confirmation that Anno 1404 is one of the prettiest games out there, and even a minor improvement will look fantastic.

  38. ulix says:

    My head just exploded…

    I’m a huge fan of the series, and was already curious what they’d do with the next game. Anno 1305, 1800? But no, this is so much more awesome. Might have to take up the opportunity to work for Related Design’s QA team after all, since they’re right arround the corner.

    • Kakrafoon says:

      Really? How far around your corner? I’m based in Mainz, 1.5 street corners from their hq. Where are you?

    • ulix says:

      Marienborn. Not “right arround the corner” per se, but I wouldn’t need that long with public transport.

    • Kakrafoon says:

      Nice to have a fellow reader of the Rock, the Paper and the Shotgun in my area.

    • BenLeng says:

      They are from Mainz? Interesting. Their Headquarters are like 500m from my flat.
      Also: Hello fellow Mainzer.

    • Kakrafoon says:

      What the… ? There seems to be an abundance of RPS followers in Mainz. I never knew! If you want to meet up or something so we can plot the founding of an independent RPS undercover brigade here in Mainz, just leave a message @ Zapp Games in Klarastraße. Codephrase: Stein-Papier-Schrotflinte

    • BenLeng says:

      Zapp Games? War ja klar…:)

    • Kakrafoon says:

      Mit Zapp Games hab ich nur insofern zu tun, als dass ich bei denen immer meine Importversionen kaufe. Ansonsten sind die mir zu konsolistisch. Ich frag aber die Tage mal, ob jemand eine Nachricht unter der Chiffre “Stein, Papier, Schrotflinte” abgelegt hat..

  39. Derpentine says:

    If they can keep the quality feel of traditional Anno, and I think they will, it’ll be an awesome showcase for how you can spice up IP without consoletarding too much :) Also, the setting in some of those shots looks like it could make for a bad-ass Syndicate-esque game… mmmm

  40. Wooly says:

    No Anno Vietnam? :(

  41. spindaden says:

    They phoned in that press release, luckily the game is able to sell itself based on it’s pedigree and premise. The handful of pretty screenshots are just a bonus.

  42. georgemoshington says:

    fun fact: if you individually add each number in an anno title, the total is always 9. it was either this or anno 1800.

    • Coins says:

      They’ve set themselves quite a challenge for the next game, eh? Anno 009?

  43. Urael says:

    Hot smoking damn. I’ve been wondering why there wasn’t a sci-fi city builder for ages now. This looks fantastic – I may even have to set aside my burning Ubi, Soft & Sons hatred (“No, Sir. No.”) and buy the thing!

  44. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    Just to contradict some of the very early “Holy $hit. Awesomesauce” comments:

    That Harbour bay looks positively underwhelming. If you have an engine like this, include huge fucking Supertankers, if you please!

    • Eschwen says:

      I agree, the harbor does look like a reskinned 1404 harbor. But by the time I got down to that screenshot I was so giddy that I really didn’t care.

      Although maybe there IS a supertanker offshore and those little boats are just the tenders. Imagine the ship routing interface for setting that up.

    • Premium User Badge amishmonster says:

      Maybe the supertankers are lurking behind the giant dam in the third screenshot. And good lord, what a stupid place to put a city. That makes New Orleans look high and dry.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I thought of it as a hydropower dam too, at first glance. On the other hand… what if that’s a dike to hold back rising ocean levels with global warming? Could be an interesting game mechanic for coastal cities.

  45. Premium User Badge amishmonster says:

    I just looked on Steam to have a poke at 1404, and it said it’s not available for purchase? Anyone know what’s up?

    • Orvidos says:

      I believe there have been some regional purchasing issues with Anno/DoD on Steam from the get go? The forums, should you dare to go there, might shed some more light on it, as I am far too exhausted to stay up and research. I could be back with information later, however!

    • Premium User Badge amishmonster says:

      Thanks, it’s telling that I hadn’t even thought about the Steam forums

      Apparently Ubisoft is refusing to patch the Steam versions of the game, though no one has said why. Impulse and Gamersgate still have it. I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come – companies shouldn’t be able to shaft a portion of their consumers like that based solely on what platform they bought it on (as if that ever stopped anyone).

  46. DSDan says:

    I really enjoyed Anno 1404/Dawn of Discovery as it had 1) a story campaign that tied the individual scenarios together and 2) individual goals within the scenario that kept things moving. For whatever reason, I don’t particularly enjoy open-ended sandbox scenarios in games, though I can understand why other people do.
    So my question to RPS is, what other city-building or strategy games are like Anno 1404 that I would enjoy? I don’t think the Tropico or Civilization series fit that mold. Settlers?

    • Scilantius says:

      Well, if I remember correctly, the Settlers hmm,… 6, I think, did a good job of providing you city building with a campaign that tied the scenarios together (even branching paths, if memory serves), and goals in the individual scenarios. But I haven’t played it in ages, nor have I tried the newer Settlers 7.

      Would be interested in hearing about other such games myself!

    • Archonsod says:

      Settlers 7 has a campaign which does indeed tie the scenarios together.

      It hits the happy middle ground once it gets to “proper game” mode (as opposed to the “teaching you the basics” bits of the first few missions); scenario’s are won by accumulating victory points. Some are free form (have the biggest army, most gold etc) while others are quest related (complete the cathedral for the local bishop, hunt down or befriend a werewolf). Even the individual scenario maps tend to follow the same form.

      I’d highly recommend picking it up if you get the chance. It’s certainly the best of the series so far. It still requires you to be online while playing, though I can’t say I’ve had any problems with it.

    • katinkabot says:

      @DSDAN Settlers 7 is great. It can be a bit unforgiving, though, especially if you’re trying to make everything perfect. The computer, obviously, is not going to care so you have to pretty much hit the ground running at the start of every mission. If you do fail, however, you’ll easily see where you went wrong and what you need to do on the replay.

      These RTS games have begun filling the massive void that the great city-building games of yore left in my life i.e. ‘Pharaoh’.

    • DSDan says:

      Thanks! I’ll pick up a copy of Settlers 7 when one of those crazy Steam sales comes up.

  47. Swiss says:

    Wait what? It’s not April 1st anymore guys….

  48. mwoody says:

    Thoroughly amused and intrigued by this change. Well done, Anno.

  49. Jake says:

    This looks great. I’ve never played an Anno game – do you have to kill things like in Settlers or can you just spend 15 hours perfecting your one-way system like in Sim City? I don’t like having to kill things, but will if I must.

    • Archonsod says:

      Either route is possible for the most part (campaign/scenario conditions not withstanding of course). Cities require you provide certain goods to develop, each island only has a limited selection of goods you can produce there. To get the other goods you need you can either colonise unclaimed islands, conquer claimed islands or trade with the owners of islands that produce what you need.
      Each AI character is also ranked by preferred tactic too, so you can decide how important military is by including or excluding the more martial characters. Even the pirates can be bought off if you don’t particularly want to fight (or for extra fun, paid to focus on your rivals …)

  50. mejobloggs says:

    Looking forward to this. Will probably buy