- History Collection
DevBlog: Anno 1701 History Edition
Hey Anno Community,
Welcome back to part two of our in-depth look at the games included in this month’s Anno History Collection. Today we want to tackle Anno 1701, which is a special game to the team in many ways. But before we get into the specifics of 1701, let us recap our general approach to the Anno History Collection and the improvements that have been made across the board on all the games. Should you have missed our first blog on Anno 1602 History Edition, we would encourage you to give that a read first.
Classic gameplay on modern PCs
As outlined before, our priority with this collection and the four games included (History Editions of Anno 1602, 1503, 1701 and 1404) was to maintain the classic gameplay that we have all grown to love over the past two decades, while ensuring that playing these games on your current PCs is smooth and hassle-free. This is of course also true for Anno 1701 History Edition:
The game has been completely ported to be 64-bit only, meaning it can now take full advantage of the RAM in your PC, which helps improve performance and stability.
Online multiplayer is back! Anno 1701 originally used the since deprecated Gamespy middleware, which means that playing the game online has not been easily possible for years. This History Edition will allow you to play via Uplay, with all the previously available options of classic Anno 1701 multiplayer coming back. In addition, there will be an option for quickmatches, and desync recovery (the error that occurs when the game state between the participating players is no longer synchronized), like what is offered in Anno 1800.
Higher resolutions: As with the other three games, Anno 1701 HE will support screen resolutions all the way up to stunning 4k. And of course, the UI will automatically adapt to your chosen resolution to make sure that the game remains easy to play, no matter if you chose 4k or keep it old-school at 1024×768.
Anno 1701: A game of many firsts
As mentioned above, Anno 1701 holds a special place, for two closely intertwined reasons: not only was it the first Anno game to be in full 3D, but also the first one to be made by the team that is today known as Ubisoft Mainz (that’s us!). Time for a little history lesson!
As you may know, the first two Anno games were developed by a small Austrian developer called MAX Design, for their publisher Sunflowers. While both Anno 1602 and 1503 were tremendously successful, the way the industry was going was clear, with most other major strategy game franchises of the day making the jump to 3D graphics. This proved to be an issue, with the tiny MAX Design team being unprepared for the challenges of 3D development. And being based in the small town of Schladming, which is best known for winter sports, recruiting outside talent was not an easy solution either. At the same time, publisher Sunflowers had started conversations with a German developer called Related Designs about a potential collaboration on a military-focused realtime-strategy game codenamed “Anno Wars”.
Eventually, things came to a head between MAX and Sunflowers, with the latter instead opting to contract Related Designs to develop the next full Anno game. This would prove to be a major turning point for the Mainz-based studio, which had previously found some success with its 3D real-time titles Castle Strike and No Man’s Land. If this was a fairytale, we would be ending this history lesson with “…and they lived happily ever after”, but more accurately we should say “while they changed their name from Related Designs to Ubisoft Blue Byte and eventually Ubisoft Mainz, they happily developed all main Anno games ever since”.
So there you have it- Anno 1701 not only brought a beloved mix of city-building, trade, discovery, and warfare into the 3D dimension, but was also the first game from the same core team that is still hard at work on Anno more than 15 years later! In fact, if you were to compare the credits of Anno 1701 and 1800, you might notice that more than a dozen people from then are part of the Anno 1800 team, with even more working on other projects inside the Ubisoft Mainz studio. Finally, this was also the first Anno game to make use of the musical talents of Dynamedion for its soundtrack, with the studio becoming our partner for Anno music ever since.
While the switch to incredibly detailed 3D graphics has of course been the most eye-catching change to the previous games, 1701 also had some noticeable gameplay changes, like the central town square – with its visual feedback showing the happiness of your citizens, and the ability to set individual taxes for each residential tier. Avid Anno 1800 players may recognize how these concepts evolved into riots and tiered workforce in our latest title! As was tradition, Anno 1701 also received an expansion roughly a year after its original 2006 release, with the most notable addition of “The Sunken Dragon” being the single-player campaign that the core game had been missing. All expansion content is of course included in the History Edition as well.
Building upon a classic
Here is what we are doing for the History Edition of Anno 1701:
Higher camera zoom: Zoom out further than ever before to get a better look at your sprawling empire (please note that this has to be optionally enabled by changing the game’s Engine.ini file)
Multi-placement of residential buildings: As with Anno 1800, you can now drag and drop as many residential buildings as you want (or your resources allow for) at a time
Multiscreen support: Extremely rare when the game first released, multi-screen setups are commonplace these days, and now you can make full use of their screens. Anno 1701 History Edition goes even one step further by supporting three different UI styles for multiscreen setups: Compact UI, Split UI or Stretched UI. With these presets, any player is sure to find a style that meets their personal preferences!
Smoother scrolling when moving the camera
Borderless Window mode to make it easier to stream the game online
Anno 1701 History Edition is of course compatible with your existing save games, so you can keep playing right where you left off back when 1701 came out! This compatibility also extends to user created scenarios, as we are also shipping the updated 1701 World Editor with the game.
Finally, Anno 1701 History Edition will be available in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Czech, Polish, and Hungarian.
As mentioned in the Anno 1602 HE blog, we have asked Dynamedion to compose a new History Edition Suite encompassing the main themes of all four games, which you can of course also enjoy with Anno 1701, alongside the rest of the digital soundtrack. Beyond that, buyers of this version can look forward to a special commemorative Anno 1701 wallpaper, and a company logo for use in Anno 1800. Keep in mind that anyone who buys the full Anno History Collection on Uplay will also get an additional fifth company logo, plus a special ornament for use in Anno 1800.
And that is it for today! Let us know about your favorite Anno 1701 memories in the comments and join us next week as we take a look at Anno 1503 History Edition, and the tale of the long-lost multiplayer mode!