Blue Byte

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Ubisoft Blue Byte GmbH
IndustryVideo game industry
FoundedOctober 1988; 30 years ago (1988-10) in Mülheim, Germany
  • Thomas Hertzler
  • Lothar Schmitt
Number of locations
2 studios (2014)
Key people
Benedikt Grindel (managing director)
Number of employees
360 (2018)
ParentUbisoft (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 2014, Related Designs became part of Blue Byte.


1988: Startup[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]

1989–1993: First games[edit]

Blue Byte's first published game was the tennis simulation Great Courts, released in 1989 by Ubi Soft.[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]

1994–2000: Major projects[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]

2001: Ubi Soft acquisition[edit]

In January 2001, Blue Byte was acquired by Ubi Soft (later Ubisoft), 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 on 18 June 2014, becoming Blue Byte's first external 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 offices in Düsseldorf and Mainz, and had 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] As of July 2018, the company, together with Ubisoft Berlin, employs 360 people.[15]

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 Online 2013 (Browser) Blue Byte Ubisoft
Anno 1404 2009 (Windows) Blue Byte, Related Designs
Anno 2205 2015 (Windows) Blue Byte
Anno 1800 2019 (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)

See also[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".
  5. ^ "Ubisoft: Ehemaliges Related Designs-Studio ab sofort unter Blue Byte-Flagge".
  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. ^ "Deutschlands größte Spielehersteller 2018". (in German). 2 July 2018.

External links[edit]