Long-time fans of classic Anno multiplayer now have something to look forward to, as Blue Byte have committed to adding a classic Anno 1404 mode to the upcoming Anno 1800 as part of the first post-launch content update free of charge.
A bit of clarification is required here, since it's Anno 1404's Venice DLC that actually brought multiplayer diversification to the release.
If you are unsure what exactly the fuss is about, Anno games of old used to have a multiplayer mode where multiple players would have their hands at the helm of a single faction in a match. Imagine it as if you had two sets of controls wired into the same side of a game.
Speaking to Anno 1800's community developer Bastian Thun, we found out that Blue Byte are currently working on the feature, but can't quite divulge an exact release date.
"Post-launch, we have first committed to a classic 1404 style core multiplayer that will come as a free update. This will allow two players to play as one character - so you can share the islands. You can have one person who takes the care of the steel factories and the riot going on in the streets, while the other player takes care of ships etc.," Thun explained.
Apparently, player interest in Anno's multiplayer component has seen a dramatic increase when compared to previous entries.
According to the studio, about 10 per cent of players were usually invested in playing with other humans in the past, and recent Twitch activity has shown that number experience a considerable boost.
In any case, Anno 1800's combat and PvP systems seem to be designed as an optional feature, and the developers assured us that players will be able to tailor their play to their own appetites.
Personally, we feel that having a two-seater multiplayer option to be the perfect fit for enjoying Anno with a spouse or younger sibling not as well versed in strategy games.
Pre-loads for the Anno 1800 open beta should already be live at the time of writing for some regions, so you can at least dip into the microtransaction-free city-building experience before you commit to purchasing.
A full PC release will go live on 16 April 2019. Existing Steam pre-orders will still be honoured and compatible with all future content, while acquiring the game after that day will require you to get it from the Epic Games Store or Uplay.