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Ubisoft Blue Byte wants to establish The Settlers ‘as a global franchise’

Ubisoft revealed today that its reboot of the Settlers franchise will launch in 2020 on PC, via the Ubisoft store and the Epic Games Store, as well as day-and-date on the publisher’s new subscription service, Uplay+.

Benedikt Grindel

Simply called The Settlers, the new iteration is being developed by Ubisoft Blue Byte, with managing director Benedikt Grindel (pictured right) saying that he wants the new title to become a “must-play game for the strategy fans of today.” He continued: “We want to establish The Settlers as a global franchise. With its unique systemic gameplay, it has fans around the globe, and we want to reach them by offering the classic The Settlers formula combined with modern elements and state-of-the-art visuals.”

It’s the first we hear about the project in a year, after an original announcement for a reboot was made at gamescom last year with a release that was first planned for 2019. The last original release in the Settlers’ series was 2010’s Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom, to mixed success, then followed by mobile and free-to-play launches.

“Since the release of The Settlers 7 and Settlers Online in 2010, we have always thought about the next Settlers game,” Grindel told MCV@gamescom. “Now, with modern tech at hand and the Settlers inventor Volker Wertich back on board, the stars have aligned. The success of The Settlers History Edition that we released for the 25th birthday of The Settlers in 2018 confirms that it is a great moment to move forward with the brand.”

With a wealth of strategy games available on PC, including Ubisoft’s own flagship Anno, there’s only so much money strategy players can spend though. However, Grindel thinks all these titles can co-exist – and that’s thanks to new opportunities outside of the traditional western market, with the top three markets for Anno 1800 being Germany, China and the US for instance.

The Settlers and Anno are the signature games of Ubisoft’s strategy and sim titles. And with the release of Anno 1800 earlier this year, we have seen the potential of these games: Anno 1800 is the fastest selling Anno game ever, with players around the globe and a rising interest on Asian markets. We want to duplicate that success with The Settlers.”

Ubisoft Blue Byte is in it for the long run too, with The Settlers set to be a live game, Grindel added: “The Settlers delivers that ambition for strategy games and broadens the portfolio of Ubisoft. Also, with its very long lifetime and super-dedicated community, The Settlers is an excellent game to embrace the modern games-as-a-platform model.”

Blue Byte is one of the pioneers of the German games industry, founded in 1988 and acquired by Ubisoft in 2001.

“Ubisoft Blue Byte is the oldest developer in the country that is still operating,” Grindel further said. And as a whole Ubisoft has more developers in Germany than anyone else, with “over 520 team members,” he added. That is across three sites: Düsseldorf, Mainz and Berlin, with Ubisoft having a plan to have 1,000 developers in its German studios by 2023.

Ubisoft has officially rebranded the Blue Byte studios in these first two locations as Ubisoft Düsseldorf and Ubisoft Mainz. Blue Byte will be retained as the legal name of the company’s operations in Germany, including third site Ubisoft Berlin.  

Read more of our gamescom 2019 coverage

About Marie Dealessandri

Marie Dealessandri is MCV’s senior staff writer, having joined the publication during its days as a weekly magazine. After testing the waters of the film industry in France and being a radio host and reporter in Canada, she settled for the games industry in London in 2015. She can be found (very) occasionally tweeting @mariedeal, usually on a loop about Baldur’s Gate, Hollow Knight and the Dead Cells soundtrack.

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