Ubisoft has shown no qualms with acquiring development houses in the past couple of years. Among its buys in 2007 was Anno publisher SunFlowers, along with a portion of the city-building franchise's developer, Related Designs. Putting its purchase to work, the French publisher announced today as part of its presence at this year's Leipzig Games Convention that Anno 1404 would be released worldwide for PCs in March 2009.
Anno 1404 takes the long-running strategy series to the Far East. As with previous installments in the series, gamers will be tasked with establishing a civilization and then solidifying its position in history. Players will be required to cater to the tastes of their denizens, as well as play politics with other cultures to secure the best lot for their people.
Aside from the new setting/era, the most readily apparent difference between Anno 1701, released in 2006, and Anno 1404 is the game's graphics engine. Ubisoft has tapped like-minded city-building strategy gamers Blue Byte--creators of The Settlers: Rise of an Empire--to create an all-new engine to power this latest installment in the Anno series.
For a full rundown on what's known of Ubisoft's latest strategy title, check out GameSpot's preview from Leipzig.