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Anno 1800 charts course for a delayed April launch

Fun fact: The digits in any Anno title add up to 9

Anno 1800 - Ubisoft Blue Byte's latest in the resource-shuffling city-building sim series - has gotten a little bit off course, and won't make its original February 26th release date. The developers have announced that it's been shuffled back to April 16th for additional polishing and tuning. Thankfully, this shouldn't affect the game's planned closed beta test next week on January 31st.  You can still sign up for the upcoming tests here, though it oddly requires you to manually submit an application by email. Take a look at a beta trailer below, and some of the game's big new features.

While Anno 1800 is moving away from the futuristic setting of the past two games, it's no less focused on environmental concerns. In order to make money and expand, industry and factories are required, but can harm the health of your workers, look of your cities and how you're perceived in the press. The option to strong-arm the press into writing propaganda for you is an interesting one, too, and I wonder how deep that system goes. It feels like each game in the series is a little more politically minded, and I'm very curious how they'll handle the colonisation of the 'new world'.

Watch on YouTube

Despite still being an Anno game, thus set across a series of small islands, you'll be tasked with running both your bustling 'modern' city on one hand, and also setting up colonies on sunnier and more profitable foreign shores. There'll be new resources to gather, although they're skirting around some of the bigger issues, such as slavery. On the Ubisoft forums, the developers mentioned that slavery "will not play a role in Anno 1800". It may be a little more nuanced than that, though - they mention there are "elements in the game which reflect the topic in a certain way" - curious.

Anno 1800 is now out on April 16th, and is priced at £50/€60/$60. You can find it on Steam here and the Ubisoft store here.

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Dominic Tarason