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Ubisoft Blue Byte facts for kids

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Ubisoft Blue Byte GmbH
Blue Byte (1988–2017)
Industry Video games
Founded October 1988; 35 years ago (1988-10) in Mülheim, Germany
  • Thomas Hertzler
  • Lothar Schmitt
Headquarters ,
Number of locations
3 studios (2020)
Key people
Benedikt Grindel (managing director)
  • The Settlers
  • Battle Isle
  • Anno
Number of employees
780 (2023)
Parent Ubisoft (2001–present)
  • Ubisoft Berlin
  • Ubisoft Düsseldorf
  • Ubisoft Mainz

Ubisoft Blue Byte GmbH (Blue Byte until 2017) is a German video game holding company owned by Ubisoft. It was founded in October 1988 by Thomas Hertzler and Lothar Schmitt as a developer and was best known for developing the Anno and The Settlers series. The studio was acquired by Ubisoft in 2001. Related Designs was merged into Blue Byte in 2013, and a third studio in Berlin was established in 2018. Since 2019, Ubisoft Blue Byte acts as the parent company of Ubisoft's three German studios, which became branded as Ubisoft Düsseldorf, Ubisoft Mainz and Ubisoft Berlin. By 2020, the "Blue Byte" name was phased out.


Foundation and first games (1988–1993)

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. 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.

Blue Byte's first published game was the tennis simulation Great Courts, released in 1989 by Ubi Soft (later renamed Ubisoft). 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, such as the World War I game History Line: 1914-1918. 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.

Major projects (1994–2000)

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 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.

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 X-COM: UFO Defense 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.

As a subsidiary of Ubisoft (2001–present)

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.

Around 2013, Blue Byte worked with Related Designs on two of its titles including Might and Magic Heroes Online. Related Designs was acquired by Ubisoft in April 2013, from which point on the company would develop projects in tandem with Blue Byte. Related Designs was merged into Blue Byte in June 2014, becoming Blue Byte's second internal studio. In 2014, Blue Byte developed The Settlers: Kingdoms of Anteria. In 2015, the studio worked on Anno 2205. 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. In 2017, the studio helped on the development for the game Skull & Bones. By late 2017, it had also worked on For Honor and Rainbow Six: Siege. In 2018, the studio announced The Settlers, the eighth game in the series. Blue Byte is also developing Anno 1800. The studio is also working on Beyond Good and Evil 2 together with Ubisoft Montpellier.

In 2017, Blue Byte was rebranded Ubisoft Blue Byte, with a new logo introduced just prior to the Gamescom event in August. A third Blue Byte studio in Berlin was announced in April 2017. The studio was formed out of a building formerly occupied by the Berliner Bank. Ubisoft Blue Byte's studio operations manager, Istvan Tajnay, became the new studio's studio manager. Although part of Ubisoft Blue Byte, the Berlin-based studio was intentionally named "Ubisoft Berlin". Ubisoft Berlin began operating in early 2018 and held its official opening on 25 September 2018, then employing 60 people. At the same time, Blue Byte's Düsseldorf and Mainz studios had 230 and 100 employees, respectively. 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. 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. All three studios remain under the Ubisoft Blue Byte legal umbrella. By December 2020, the "Ubisoft Blue Byte" branding was mostly phased out, with the previously stale social media channels deactivated. However, Ubisoft Blue Byte remained the legal parent to its three studios.

Games developed or published

Pro Tennis Tour series

Title Year Developer Publisher
Pro Tennis Tour 1989 (Amiga, Atari ST, DOS), 1990 (Amstrad CPC, C64, ZX Spectrum) Blue Byte Ubisoft
Pro Tennis Tour 2 1991 (Amiga, Atari ST, DOS)
Jimmy Connors Pro Tennis Tour 1992 (SNES)

Battle Isle series

Title Year Developer Publisher
Battle Isle 1991 (Amiga, DOS) Blue Byte Blue Byte
Battle Isle Data Disk I 1992 (Amiga, DOS)
Battle Isle Data Disk II 1993 (Amiga, 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

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) Ubi Soft & Gameloft
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: New Allies 2023

Anno series

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)


Title Year Developer Publisher
Twinworld 1989 (Amiga, Atari ST), 1990 (Acorn Archimedes, C64, ZX Spectrum) Blue Byte Ubisoft
Tom and The Ghost 1990 (Amiga, Atari ST, DOS)
Atomino 1990 (DOS), 1991 (Amiga, Atari ST, C64), 1994 (MacOS), 2002 (PalmOS, J2ME) 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 (DOS) Blue Byte
Game, Net & Match! 1998 (Windows)
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
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege 2015 (Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One), 2020 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S)
Assassin's Creed Identity 2014 (iOS), 2016 (Android)
Champions of Anteria 2016 (Windows)
For Honor 2017 (Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One)
South Park: The Fractured but Whole 2017 (Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch)
Far Cry 6 2021 (Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Luna)
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora 2023 (Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S)
Beyond Good and Evil 2 TBA

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Ubisoft Blue Byte para niños

  • List of companies in Germany
  • List of video game developers
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