Lower the gangplanks and drop anchor. The Anno History Collection has arrived, bringing four of Ubisoft’s colonial city-building strategy sims into the publishers’ digital harbour. Remastered editions of Anno 1602, Anno 1503, Anno 1701, and Anno 1404 have been brought together under one tidy collection on Uplay, with a scattershot of standalone releases spread haphazardly across three different stores.
Announced last month, the Historical Collection bundles together the first four Anno games – from 1998’s Anno 1602 to series high-point Anno 1404 – cleaning them up for a fresh start on modern hardware.
These are some proper old games mind, with the oldest (Anno 1602) being only a little younger than myself. While Ubi aren’t giving them a dramatic remastering, the “History Edition” rereleases update each game to 64-bit to tidy up stability issues. They’ll also now support up to 4K resolutions, come bundled with all their respective expansions, and had their multiplayer spruced up with Uplay’s matchmaking and desync support. That even includes Anno 1503, a game that didn’t really have proper multiplayer to begin with.
By and large, though, it’s the same old colonial merchant sims you remember, to the point where if you’ve still got an old 1602 save knocking about, it’ll work in the History Edition. Most of these games pre-date the site, but our man Jim Rossignol (RPS in Peace) penned an Anno 1404 review way back in ’09 – finding a “rich, enjoyable, proficient” experience, even if it wasn’t the bravest strategy game going.
The devs have been posting in-depth looks at their approach to the rereleases over on the Ubisoft Blog, placing each game in historical context and explaining how they’ve brought them sailing into the modern age. Rather annoyingly, the competing nation-states of online stores have done a number on these re-releases.
If you’re wanting the lot, the full Anno History Collection is available to pick up right now on Uplay for £33.99/€39.99/$39.99. Standalone “History Editions” of each should go on sale on Uplay soon for £12.49/€14.99/$14.99 – and while Epic Games Store folks will be able to pick up Annos 1701 and 1404, only the latter will find its way to Steam.
Sure, makes sense.