Available: Q1 2003

Interviewed by by Safwat "Helium02"

First of all, please, introduce your self, your role in developing the game and the company you work for.

My name is Jochen "Jo" Bauer. I'm one of the two 1503 A.D. producers and have been working for SUNFLOWERS for 6 years.

This game is based on a story, will you tell us about it?

Right, the campaign is based on a story. Just don't expect me to ruin the suspense by telling it now. Just this: naturally, there's a pretty lady involved.... ;-)

As I've seen, you have focused even on the small details in this game (graphically); do you think graphics is the most important element for attracting gamers?

Graphics are very important, as is the game "behind" the graphics. A balanced mix of the two makes for the most fun for gamers.

Let's say I am a gamer, and I haven't played "Anno 1503" yet, what would you say to convince me to play this game? What's unique about it?

The unique thing about 1503 A.D. is that players can decide for themselves just how they want to play the game. Whether they want to be peaceful or warlike, to try to build the biggest city, to become sole ruler or to gain a monopoly on certain trade goods. There are lots of different ways to play 1503 A.D.! And then there are always times where one can just sit back and enjoy watching their ANNO city grow, quickly giving even "inexperienced" players that ANNO feeling. Last, but not least, there's the ingenious active help system. The campaign offers hardcore gamers even more: An interesting story with full of surprises!

What modes are going to be in this game? And will the gamers be able to play it on-line?

In addition to the tutorial there are a number of different single player missions, an exciting campaign and random generated continuous play games. The multi-player mode can be played over either the Internet or a LAN. This gives players the chance to play against or, in team, with one another.

Where will the main scenes take place, imaginary places or places from real life? Can I expore Europe for example?

The game isn't based on any historical events. We decided not to use historical maps or locations on purpose, as players are supposed to discover and develop a completely new world. The buildings, figures and cultures are familiar just the same, as they are all from the 16th century.

What vehicles will be available in the game? What about weapons?

There are three different trading ships and three different warships. The fundamental differences lie in cargo capacity and armament. Warships carry more cannon while cargo ships naturally have a greater cargo capacity. There are 14 different military units available. From pikemen to archers, cavalry and siege engines such as catapults and siege towers. But you can't just train them and go. Before military units can be used the appropriate supplies such as for example swords, muskets and armor must first be produced.

Is there going to be console versions and when is pc version expected in Europe and North America?

We decided to concentrate on developing Anno 1503 for the PC platform right from the beginning in order to avoid any artificial constraints. If someone were to point out an interesting way to implement the game on a console it would definitely be worth taking a look at.

What are your expectations of this game? Do you think it can get in the top 10 games while games like WarCraft 3 and Neverwinter Nights were released lately?

Absolutely! 1503 A.D. definitely has the potential to be a real hit. We can see that from the intense interest shown by players visiting our website www.1503ad.com daily. Just as most Top-Ten games do, Anno 1503 features a unique concept never before seen in this form. Players still find it quite familiar due to the many RTS and empire building elements. If you add that to the fact that once you start playing, you just can't stop...

As a developer, what was the hardest work (graphics, sounds) while developing this game?

Balancing, figure routines and the AI are the biggest challenges developers face when implementing game ideas. The incredible depth makes it necessary to constantly keep an eye out to see if everything is properly balanced. You can find a great article about balancing here:

Closing, anything else you would like to say about this game?

Just play it, and then you'll understand ;-)

Thanks to Jochen "Jo" Bauer for his time.