Ubisoft Blue Byte

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Ubisoft Blue Byte GmbH
Formerly
Blue Byte (1988–2017)
Subsidiary
IndustryVideo game industry
FoundedOctober 1988; 30 years ago (1988-10) in Mülheim, Germany
Founders
  • Thomas Hertzler
  • Lothar Schmitt
Headquarters,
Germany
Number of locations
3 studios (2019)
Key people
Benedikt Grindel (managing director)
Products
Number of employees
520 (2019)
ParentUbisoft (2001–present)
Divisions
  • Ubisoft Berlin
  • Ubisoft Düsseldorf
  • Ubisoft Mainz
Websitebluebyte.ubisoft.com

Ubisoft Blue Byte GmbH (formerly Blue Byte until 2017) is a German video game developer based in Düsseldorf. Founded in October 1988 by Thomas Hertzler and Lothar Schmitt, the company is best known for developing the Anno and The Settlers series. The studio was acquired by Ubisoft in 2001. Today, Ubisoft Blue Byte consists of three studios branded as Ubisoft Düsseldorf, Ubisoft Mainz and Ubisoft Berlin, with the Blue Byte name serving as the legal umbrella for all three studios.

History[edit]

Foundation and first games (1988–1993)[edit]

In 1988, Thomas Hertzler and Lothar Schmitt left Rainbow Arts, a German video game developer, and founded their own, Blue Byte, in October that year.[1] To do so, Hertzler and Schmitt used a starting capital of 10,000 Deutsche Mark borrowed from Hertzler's parents and established an office in the attic of Hertzler's home in Mülheim.[1]

Blue Byte's first published game was the tennis simulation Great Courts, released in 1989 by Ubi Soft (later renamed Ubisoft).[citation needed] Blue Byte's first big success in Germany and Europe was the turn-based strategy game Battle Isle, completed in 1991. Inspired by the Japanese game Nectaris for the PC Engine, Battle Isle spawned numerous add-ons and sequels.[citation needed] The company's next big success followed in 1993 with the release of the managerial game Die Siedler, marketed internationally as The Settlers. The Settlers also had numerous sequels and became the most well-known of Blue Byte's products.[citation needed]

Major projects (1994–2000)[edit]

Over the years, Blue Byte developed and/or published numerous innovative titles including Chewy: Escape from F5 and Albion, but most of them were not successful internationally. Efforts to break into the American market, usually aided with publishing by Accolade, failed and success was limited to Germany and parts of Europe.[citation needed] In 1995 a Chicago-based entrepreneur named Julian Pretto travelled to Germany and convinced the founders to open a North American office. Following the successful release of Battle Isle 2020 in the United States, Pretto left the firm to pursue other interests. Three years later, Blue Byte moved from Chicago, Illinois, to its new facilities in Austin, Texas.[citation needed]

The popular turn-based strategy Battle Isle series from the early 1990s achieved cult status similar to Settlers. However, when it was revised in 1997 as a 3-D tactical game Incubation similar to UFO: Enemy Unknown and later in 2001 Battle Isle: The Andosia War, which tried to bridge the gap between turn-based strategies and real-time strategies, it alienated many players who came to expect that the Battle Isle brand would represent traditional turn-based strategies.[citation needed]

As a subsidiary of Ubisoft (2001–present)[edit]

In February 2001, Blue Byte was acquired by Ubi Soft and tasked to focus on Blue Byte's two most popular series. At the time of the acquisition, Blue Byte had a staff of 64 people and was active in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States.[2]

Around 2013, Blue Byte worked with Related Designs on two of its titles including Might and Magic Heroes Online.[3] Related Designs was acquired by Ubisoft in April 2013, from which point on the company would develop projects in tandem with Blue Byte.[4] Related Designs was merged into Blue Byte in June 2014, becoming Blue Byte's second internal studio.[5] In 2014, Blue Byte developed The Settlers: Kingdoms of Anteria.[6] In 2015, the studio worked on Anno 2205.[7][8] In 2016, the studio worked on Champions of Anteria, replacing The Settlers: Kingdoms of Anteria. The new game was a change from the original The Settlers series, with new gameplay.[9] In 2017, the studio helped on the development for the game Skull & Bones.[10][11] By late 2017, it had also worked on For Honor and Rainbow Six: Siege.[12] In 2018, the studio announced The Settlers, the eighth game in the series.[13] Blue Byte is also developing Anno 1800.[14]The studio is also working on Beyond Good and Evil 2 together with Ubisoft Montpellier.[15]

In 2017, Blue Byte was rebranded Ubisoft Blue Byte, with a new logo introduced just prior to the Gamescom event in August.[16] A third Blue Byte studio in Berlin was announced in April 2017.[17] The studio was formed out of a building formerly occupied by the Berliner Bank.[17] Ubisoft Blue Byte's studio operations manager, Istvan Tajnay, became the new studio's studio manager.[17] Although part of Ubisoft Blue Byte, the Berlin-based studio was intentionally named "Ubisoft Berlin".[16] Ubisoft Berlin began operating in early 2018 and held its official opening on 25 September 2018, then employing 60 people.[18] At the same time, Blue Byte's Düsseldorf and Mainz studios had 230 and 100 employees, respectively.[18] At Gamescom in August 2019, Ubisoft Blue Byte revealed a new corporate identity in which its self-branded studios were renamed Ubisoft Düsseldorf and Ubisoft Mainz.[19] The move primarily aimed at attracting further employees as Ubisoft Blue Byte expected to expand from 520 staff members at the time to 1,000 by 2023.[19] All three studios remain under the Ubisoft Blue Byte legal umbrella.[20]

Games developed or published[edit]

Battle Isle series[edit]

Title Year Developer Publisher
Battle Isle 1991 (Amiga, DOS) Blue Byte Blue Byte
Battle Isle Data Disk I 1992 (DOS)
Battle Isle Data Disk II 1993 (DOS)
Battle Isle II 1994 (DOS) Accolade
Battle Isle II Data Disk I 1994 (DOS) Blue Byte
Battle Isle III 1995 (Windows)
Incubation: Time Is Running Out 1997 (Windows)
Incubation: The Wilderness Missions 1997 (Windows)
Incubation: Hidden Worlds 1998 (Windows)
Battle Isle: The Andosia War 2000 (Windows) Cauldron

Settlers series[edit]

Title Year Developer Publisher
The Settlers 1993 (Amiga), 1994 (DOS) Blue Byte Blue Byte
The Settlers II 1996 (DOS), 1997 (MacOS), 2007 (DS)
The Settlers III 1998 (Windows)
The Settlers IV 2001 (Windows)
The Settlers: Heritage of Kings 2004 (Windows) Ubisoft
The Settlers II (10th Anniversary) 2006 (Windows)
The Settlers: Rise of an Empire 2007 (Windows)
The Settlers: Rise of Cultures 2008 (Windows)
The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom 2010 (Windows)
The Settlers – My City 2010 (Windows)
The Settlers Online 2010 (Browser)
The Settlers 2020

Anno series[edit]

Title Year Developer Publisher
Anno Online 2013 (Browser) Blue Byte Ubisoft
Anno 1404 2009 (Windows) Blue Byte, Related Designs
Anno 2070 2011 (Windows)
Anno 2205 2015 (Windows) Blue Byte
Anno 1800 2019 (Windows)

Other[edit]

Title Year Developer Publisher
Great Courts 1989 (Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, C64, ZX Spectrum), 1991 (DOS), 1992 (SNES), 1993 (Atari Lynx) Blue Byte Ubisoft
Twinworld 1989 (Amiga, Atari ST), 1990 (Acorn Archimedes, C64, ZX Spectrum)
Great Courts 2 1991 (Amiga, Atari ST, DOS) Blue Byte
Tom and The Ghost 1990 (Amiga, Atari ST, DOS) Ubisoft
Atomino 1990 (DOS), 1991 (Amiga, Atari ST, C64), 1994 (MacOS), 2002 (PalmOS, J2ME) Blue Byte Psygnosis
Apidya 1991 (Amiga), 2002 (Windows) Kaiko Play Byte
Ugh! 1992 (Amiga, C64, DOS) Egosoft
History Line: 1914-1918 1992 (Amiga, DOS) Blue Byte
Yo! Joe! Beat the Ghosts 1993 (Amiga, DOS) Scipio
Albion 1995 (DOS), 2015 (Windows) Blue Byte Blue Byte
Dr. Drago's Madcap Chase 1995 (Windows)
Chewy: ESC from F5 1995 (DOS), 1997 (Windows) New Generation Software
Archimedean Dynasty 1996 (DOS), 2015 (Windows) Massive Development
Extreme Assault 1997 Blue Byte
Game, Net & Match! 1998 (Windows)
Star Trek: Starship Creator 1998 (Windows, MacOS)
Stephen King's F13 2000 (Windows, MacOS)
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013 2012 (Wii U) Ubisoft
Silent Hunter Online 2013 (Browser)
Panzer General Online 2013 (Browser)
Might & Magic: Heroes Online 2014
Assassin's Creed Identity 2014 (iOS), 2016 (Android)
Champions of Anteria 2016 (Windows)
For Honor 2017 (Windows)
Beyond Good and Evil 2 TBA

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gössling, Jonas (18 August 2013). "Die Geschichte von Blue Byte – Vom Dachgeschoss nach Düsseldorf". Gamestar.
  2. ^ Ho, Jennifer (8 February 2001). "Ubi Soft acquires Blue Byte Software". GameSpot.
  3. ^ Sarkar, Samit (11 April 2013). "Ubisoft takes full ownership of Anno developer Related Designs". Polygon.
  4. ^ "Ubisoft completes Related Designs acquisition". gamesindustry.biz.
  5. ^ "Ubisoft: Ehemaliges Related Designs-Studio ab sofort unter Blue Byte-Flagge". gamezone.de.
  6. ^ Prescott, Shaun (24 June 2014). "The Settlers: Kingdoms of Anteria confirmed for 2014 release". PCGamer.
  7. ^ Sykes, Tom (29 October 2015). "Anno 2205's modular buildings detailed". PC Gamer.
  8. ^ Newhouse, Alex (23 June 2014). "Ubisoft Promises Next City-Building PC Game Settlers Will Offer a "New Game Experience"". GameSpot.
  9. ^ Tiongco, Santiago (25 April 2016). "'Champions Of Anteria' Is The New PC RTS From Ubisoft: Release Date, Gameplay And More". Tech Times.
  10. ^ Zhang, Lim Min (15 June 2017). "Made-in-Singapore Skull & Bones: All you need to know about online pirate sea battle game".
  11. ^ Takahashi, Dean (19 June 2018). "Ubisoft's Skull & Bones is a surprisingly good pirate naval battle game". TechCrunch.
  12. ^ Chang, Stephanie (16 November 2017). "Ubisoft Berlin will open in early 2018 and help on Far Cry series". VentureBeat.
  13. ^ Skrebels, Joe (21 August 2018). "Ubisoft Announces New Settlers Game". IGN.
  14. ^ Takahashi, Dean (20 August 2018). "Anno 1800 hands-on — being a capitalist in the age of industrialization". VentureBeat.
  15. ^ Beyond Good and Evil 2: Space Monkey Report #4 Live Stream | Ubisoft [NA], retrieved 21 August 2019
  16. ^ a b Fröhlich, Petra (31 August 2017). "Ubisoft Berlin: Was wird aus der Marke "Blue Byte"?" [Ubisoft Berlin: What will become of the brand "Blue Byte"?]. GamesWirtschaft (in German).
  17. ^ a b c Fröhlich, Petra (26 April 2018). "Ubisoft Blue Byte: "Potenzial für 1.000 Jobs in Deutschland"" [Ubisoft Blue Byte: "Potential for 1,000 jobs in Germany"]. GamesWirtschaft (in German).
  18. ^ a b Fröhlich, Petra (26 September 2018). "Ubisoft Berlin offiziell eröffnet" [Ubisoft Berlin official opened]. GamesWirtschaft (in German).
  19. ^ a b Fröhlich, Petra (19 August 2019). "1.000 Jobs bis 2023: Ubisoft will Belegschaft verdoppeln" [1,000 jobs by 2023: Ubisoft wants to double workforce]. GamesWirtschaft (in German).
  20. ^ Valentine, Rebekah (20 August 2019). "Ubisoft rebrands its German studios". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 20 August 2019.

External links[edit]