DevBlog: I want to be anarchy
The class struggle in the 19th century was a clash between capital and labor, between the money aristocracy seeking profit and the working people yearning for their individual rights and a sustainable way of living. To break the chains of the ruling class, many of them organized in unions and opened their minds to new ideas, preaching a more humane and progressive evolution of society. Naturally, some of those visions of what this new and better world could look like were more radical than others, stoked by agitators whose tongues were as sharp as any sword…
Dr. Hugo Mercier, the infamous Anarchist, will be the newest addition to Anno 1800’s diverse cast of characters. While ruthless robber barons like von Malching or visionary architects like Gasparov build their magnificent Metropolises on the back of the populace, the Anarchist is a true man of the people, breaking the chains of indentured servitude and freeing his citizens from capitalist oppression. At least that is what he will happily tell you, and anyone else willing to listen to his manifesto.
Us humble game developers, on the other hand, are happy to tell you how exactly he differs from other characters and what this means for you as the player, before we end with the cold hard numbers of content included with the Anarchist.
corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought
Unlike other NPCs in Anno 1800, Hugo Mercier does not bend to the rules of capitalism, and many of his political beliefs are also reflected in his gameplay. While he will follow the general game rules that other NPCs (and human players) have to with regards of production of good etc., his islands will deviate from his competitors in some major ways. One such drastic exception is that as a vowed opponent of capitalism, the Anarchist will not allow any investors to set foot onto his island, capping his progression at engineer level instead. He also has strong feelings about the monetary system and religion, so do not expect to find any banks or churches throughout his empire.
The same is true for tourism. While Mercier is happy to welcome any new believers to live on his island, he despises the notion of hordes of idling tourists dallying around his utopian cities.
With all of those missing buildings, you may be wondering how Dr. Mercier keeps his citizens happy and following his party line? Those problems are nothing that a little bit of propaganda won’t fix. To this end, the Anarchist’s islands will have a unique look, as he will deck out his buildings with lots of banners, flags and posters to inspire his citizens’ love for the cause. To do so, he goes beyond just visuals- you will also see him constructing lots of speaker towers, which will play recordings of his teachings to his loyal subjects. You can of course listen in on them yourself to see whether you agree with his political leanings.
The Revolution devours its children
As it turns out, not all of his citizens do, which brings us to the defector feature. As Doctor Mercier’s grip on his islands tightens, many of his not-so-loyal-after-all subjects will be looking to leave his anarchistic experiment behind. To this end, they will offer you quests to accept them onto your islands. If you choose to do so, they will express their gratitude with rewards like new items or money.
At a certain point however, Mercier won’t accept you taking on all these defectors anymore, and may start to spread unrest among your own citizens with his agents. You will have to be very careful to manage this threat, lest anarchy and unrest can quickly engulf your own islands! To represent this in the game, we are introducing a new quest type related to his threat. For these, your citizens will make their demands known, leaving you with the choice whether you want to give in to their demand, or face the (sometimes dire) consequences, such as fires and riots in your city. Defectors will require players to constantly balance the benefits of receiving their rewards with the risks of anarchic mayhem spreading in your empire. Long-time Anno fans may recognize the conceptual similarities to the beggars in Anno 1404 (or Dawn of Discovery, as it was known in many regions).
Friend or Foe?
Of course, the defection mechanic is not the only way that players will be able to interact with the (fully voiced) Anarchist, who is a medium-difficulty opponent. Similarly to our other NPC opponents, he will also offer players a range of voluntary quests to undertake, during which they will learn more about the character and the beliefs driving him.
As part of that, he may occasionally ask you to print special propaganda articles in your newspaper on his behalf. These special marked texts will not cost you any influence to print and will provide you with powerful buys, though there will also be associate downsides for them.
Another aspect setting him apart from his peers is how trade-happy he is. Not only is he very easy to come to a trade agreement with, but he will also offer to sell you items, which is usually reserved for third-party characters like Madame Kahina. One of these items you will be able to acquire from him are the new sea mines, which speak to his defense-focused nature.
The Anarchist content and Game Update 3 (Release Notes on this coming next week) are planned to be released on June 5. He will be available to all owners of the Digital Deluxe and Pioneers Editions. Should you have bought the Standard Edition at launch, you can now upgrade to the Digital Deluxe Edition to not only gain access to The Anarchist once he is released, but also the digital art book, digital soundtrack and 4 unique company logos.
The Anarchist at a glance
New medium-difficult AI opponent: Dr Hugo Mercier, the Anarchist
New defection system to keep players on their toes
Over 50 new quests
Over 50 new items
Unlock his portrait and logo for your own profile
6 new Achievements to challenge players
2 new ornaments you can unlock via Ubisoft Club to build in your city