Blue Byte

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Ubisoft Blue Byte GmbH
Industry Video game industry
Founded October 1988; 30 years ago (1988-10) in Mülheim, Germany
  • Thomas Hertzler
  • Lothar Schmitt
Headquarters Düsseldorf, Germany
Number of locations
2 studios (2014)
Key people
Benedikt Grindel (managing director)
Parent Ubisoft (2001–present)

Ubisoft Blue Byte GmbH 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. In January 2001, the company was acquired by Ubisoft.


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] The first published game was the tennis simulation Great Courts, released in 1989 by Ubi Soft. 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. 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.

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. In 1995 a Chicago-based entrepreneur named Julian Pretto traveled 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.

The popular turn-based strategy Battle Isle series from the early 1990s achieved cult status similar to Settlers but when 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 breach 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.

In January 2001, Blue Byte was acquired by Ubi Soft, and tasked to focus on Blue Byte's two most popular series.[2]

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 2019

Anno series[edit]

Title Year Developer Publisher
Anno 1602: Creation of a New World 1998 (Windows) Max Design Sunflowers Interactive
Anno 1503: The New World 2003 (Windows) Blue Byte
Anno 1701 2006 (Windows) Related Designs
Anno 1404 2009 (Windows) Ubisoft
Anno 1404: Venice 2010 (Windows)
Anno 2070 2011 (Windows)
Anno Online 2013 (Browser) Blue Byte
Anno 2205 2015 (Windows)
Anno 1800 2018 (Windows)


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)


  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. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 21 January 2010.

External links[edit]