Ubisoft Picks up Anno Publisher Sunflowers

Ubisoft today announced that it plans to acquire German publisher Sunflowers, the owner of the Anno brand of historical empire-building strategy games for PC. Most recently, Sunflowers released Anno 1701, developed by Related Designs. Anno 1701 was released in North America as 1701 A.D. by Aspyr Media. It has also been announced as in development for Nintendo DS (screenshots). Past games in the series, including Anno 1602: Creation of a New World and Anno 1503: The New World, were also released in North America with the "A.D." naming convention.

"I'm glad to confide Anno to Ubisoft, a company known for the innovation and creativity of its development teams," commented Sunflowers co-founder Adi Boiko. "The brand will benefit from Ubisoft's global strength, allowing new audiences to discover the pleasure of empire building through new Anno games."

Having seen great success in European markets, particular Germany, the Anno franchise has sold over five million units worldwide. "With the acquisition of Anno, Ubisoft reinforces its position in the real-time strategy market," said Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot. "Anno, along with Ubisoft's The Settlers, is one of the most well known franchises in Germany, reaching a wide audience that includes not only traditional gamers, but also women and families. We are proud to add another top-quality brand to our rich portfolio and we are looking forward to bringing the brand to an even wider audience."

Related Designs is currently working on a new Anno game, making it the first developer to head up two consecutive main entries in the series. As part of the deal, which is expected to close in the fiscal quarter ending June 30, 2007, Ubisoft will also take a 30% stake in Related Designs.