Colonists, rejoice!

Ubisoft has unveiled the latest in its long-running series Anno series: Anno 2205. Set in the year 2205, it is a beautiful, 3D-animated city and economic simulation game. I saw a PC demo of — but didn’t play — the game at a Ubisoft press briefing at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.

It is the sixth entry in the series, which has sold more than 5 million copies to date. Ubisoft’s German game studio, Blue Byte, is the developer; it previously worked on Anno 2070 in 2011 with studio Related Designs.

Once you build your big colony on an island on Earth, you can take off in a space ship to get to the moon. Then you can create a whole new colony. You have to go there because there has been a breakthrough in fusion energy, and the isotope this requires is only available on the moon.

Ubisoft built the engine this new Anno uses. You can lose yourself in the details, zooming in on an individual farm and its workers. You can see drones watering your rice farms and watch cars flying through the air in aerial traffic jams.

You can mine silicon as a basic resource, using robotic diggers. You upgrade it to suit your demands for resources. You can create solar electricity, but you can also make your buildings more energy-efficient, reducing the energy required. Your people also want entertainment, so you have to build “media” buildings and sports complexes. That makes your people happier and more productive. Everything is interconnected in that way.

The moon has a different feel. It is a hostile environment, with no atmosphere. The colony is subject to asteroid bombardment, so you use expensive technologies to shield it. You have to hide buildings in craters in order to protect them. You can eventually grow food in greenhouses, and you can mine the resources that you have to send back to Earth.

I found the controls to be intuitive. You can create roads and homes next to them. You have to supply your city with energy, water, and food. When something is in short supply, the game tells you exactly what you need to build. That makes it every accessible.