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Changing of the Guard

  • 28.02.2020

Hey Anno Community,

As we are getting ready to reveal our 2020 plans for Anno 1800 next month, we want to inform you about some changes in the Anno development team. At the end of last year, we said goodbye to two long-time veterans of the franchise, Burkhard Ratheiser and Dirk Riegert. While we are sad to see them leave Anno, we can appreciate that working on the same gaming series for over 15 years is a long time and that the huge success of Anno 1800 makes this the perfect time to hand the scepter over to our new leadership. Rest assured that both are staying with Ubisoft Mainz, exploring new ideas for future projects!

Burkhard is not only one of the co-founders of our studio here in Mainz but has been instrumental in Anno’s transition to full 3D as the Lead Programmer of our game engine during the development of 1701. Following that, he worked on Anno 1404 and 2070 as the Head of Graphics and R&D, before moving into game production with Anno 2205. Over the last years, he led Anno 1800’s development as Executive Producer. Of course, many of you know also know him from the eponymous “Burkhard’s Trail” easter egg from Sunken Treasures.

Burkhard on staging presenting Anno 1800

“I’m very thankful that I had the chance to contribute in several different roles to this great franchise. For the last 15 years Anno has always played a big part in my life and with Anno 1800 being the fastest selling Anno ever and for many also the best installment so far, the time has come for me to move to new ventures, handing over the baton to a new team. I would like to thank the Anno community for their great support and feedback over all these years, knowing that the fruitful collaboration will ensure that Anno has a bright future, continuing in providing countless hours of joy and excitement to our fans.” – Burkhard

Dirk probably needs no introduction to Anno devotees, given the number of interviews and live streams he has participated in over the years, earning him the loving nickname of Karrenschieber (“cart pusher”).  He is one of the driving forces behind the Anno games developed in Mainz, starting as Lead Game Designer on Anno 1701 and 1404, before taking over as the franchise’s Creative Director with the Venice add-on. He then took the franchise into the future and even space with Anno 2070 and 2205, before leading the Anno team and franchise into the age of the industrial revolution with Anno 1800 as Senior Creative Director.

When I started as Lead Designer on ANNO 1701, I wouldn’t have dared to dream that I would help shape five Anno games over the coming 15 years! It is said that one should quit while they are ahead, and after the great success of ANNO 1800 last year this moment has finally come for me. I am already working on new, exciting projects within Ubisoft. The baton with the golden nine engraved in its knob has been passed on to Manuel. I for sure know that he will take perfect care of it.” – Dirk

Dirk across the ages

Which brings us to our new Game Director, so please welcome Manuel Reinher!

Manuel is a true strategy gaming veteran, having first started his career as an artist at Phenomic on Spellforce in 2004, before filling a variety of art related roles on games such as Spellforce 2 and Battleforge (by then as EA Phenomic, as the studio had been acquired by Electronic Arts in 2006). He has now been with Ubisoft Mainz for over 6 years, starting as Lead Artist for the futuristic cityscapes of Anno 2205, before leading the art team responsible for the detail-obsessed 19th century world of Anno 1800. As Game Director, he will oversee the overall future of the Anno franchise, both for future Anno 1800 content and beyond.

“Hi Anno Union, I’m Manuel, and extremely honored to follow in the footsteps of Burkhard and Dirk. Working on Anno for the last years has been a fantastic journey: After our adventures in space we brought the game back to a historical setting and we are extremely proud to kick off 2020 with new ideas and full of energy.

But, before we head into a bright ANNO future, I want to take the opportunity to say thank you: The success of Anno is just possible because of our hard-working team and the fantastic support we have from our community. So, I grab the baton: we have more opportunities than ever and I’m very excited to take the next steps together with all of you.” – Manuel

Manuel hard at work

And that’s it for today! Please give a round of applause to Burkhard and Dirk for their many contributions to Anno, and a warm welcome to Manuel! And as always, keep an eye on the Anno Union, as we get ready to unveil our plans for Anno 1800 in 2020!


 

Comments

4 Comments
  1. g greyuria001

    You both deserve all the cudos that can be given
    GREAT job in creating a great, and thoroughly enjoyable game

  2. K KarlosCV

    Thanks for the 500+ hours I spent playing Anno games, from 1701 to 1800. You created one of the most unique, beautiful and damn fun game IPs ever. And good luck to the new guy in charge!

  3. F FerudaFarstaria

    Burkhard and Dirk have done amazing work over the years. They never disappointed me. They have a lot to be proud for. Keeping ANNO going strong for all these years. I am very happy to see that ANNO continues to this day. And I thank both Burkhard and Dirk for their amazing work. Anno has always given me so much joy and happiness over the years with each game. With 1404 being my favorite along with the track “when cultures meet”. ANNO has made me who I am today. A passionate and polite person full of inspiration with great friends and people. Always happy to meet with other fellow Annohoilics and players in the amazing community that has grown to be. If only today’s real world could be like ANNO. Just peace, tranquil, quiet cities/countries with nice people and no conflicts and no wars. ANNO is a prime example of how the world should be. And how people should get along and work with each other rather than be so divided and conflict with others. But I know that is not how life works in the real world. But it’s still a thought. At least in ANNO I will always find peace, calm, and great people. And that’s how it should be in ANNO. And I am very thankful for Burkhard’s and Dirk’s hard work into keeping ANNO going after all these years. If ANNO where to fade and end, it would be a tragedy not just to me but all ANNO players. But I am glad that has never happened. And hope it never will. It is a lot of difficult work to run a franchise. But I am very thankful for the team to continue the series despite the challenges that come with it. And I am very thankful that the team understands and knows the love and passion the community has for them and their game. The ANNO team, developers, and directors are the one true gods of ANNO.

    I have always loved and treasured ANNO. Playing the series since the first game of the franchise. I remember myself being only 3 years old then playing ANNO 1602 back in 1998 when the game first launched. Since then I’ve stuck with the franchise forever enchanted by ANNO’s beauty and city building. The soundtracks and world are so beautiful and beckon for me to always return to the world of ANNO. In ANNO I will always find peace. I was born a Annoholic and I will always be a Annoholic forever. And I will continue to play ANNO as long as I live. ANNO is the one thing that will never change nor fade from me. As well as the fun memories I have from playing the franchise since it and my adventures in it started. It is that one thing that stays with me forever and I am proud of it. That is the one thing that will never change in me is my love and passion for ANNO. And I am very thankful for the team, creators, and directors for keeping ANNO going strong to this day. And I hope it stays that way for many years to come.

    Thank you again ANNO team, Burkhard, and Dirk for an Amazing game franchise. ANNO is truly that one game series that is really special and you all have a lot to be proud for keeping it going after all these years. Thank you for giving us a game series to love, cherish, and treasure all these years. Thank you for creating ANNO and continuing it.

    Best,
    Feruda

  4. b banan1996.1996

    Oh wow! That is what you call a totally unexpected announcement!

    I hope the guys who are leaving realise what an awesome franchise they are leaving behind them. I am grateful for all their work and continuing working on the Anno series. I wish you both to be successful in your new projects, good luck 😉

    I am sure Manuel will be able to takeover the responsibility and as long as he remembers to always listen to the community, I know we’ll get along just fine 😉

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