Anno 1404 is a city management game that takes in a fictional setting that evokes the 15th century without being overly specific. This is probably where the alternate title 'Dawn of Discovery' comes from as the Age of Discovery is said to have started in the late 15th century. The main campaign of the game follows the player character as they try to stop the evil Cardinal Lucius and his underling Guy Forcas. Beginning in a occidental setting a large portion of the single player campaign takes place in an oriental, but not specifically named, region as well. The player must build both oriental and occidental buildings to advance. The oriental buildings are unlocked in the single player campaign by currying favor with the local oriental faction by completing missions.
The gameplay of Anno 1404 is based around the taxation of citizens. There are four tiers of citizens from peasants to noblemen. To elevate your citizens, and thus to gain more tax revenue, certain needs must be met which become more and more complicated. It is often necessary to have multiple cities and to set up trade routes between them as most islands only have a certain number of resources. To satisfy the higher level needs many base resources must be refined as various different buildings to create the final product.
For example to create wine for nobleman you need:
- Wood from a lumberjack hut
- Iron ore from a mine
- The iron must be smelted at an iron smelter
- The wood and iron must go to the barrel cooperage
- There must be a vineyard to produce grapes
- Finally the grapes and the barrels are transported to the wine press
All these items must be transported between the various buildings by market carts which is done automatically, but there are a limited number of them. Thus creating a efficient supply chain between and inside the players cities is key to success.
Also there is a sub group that the player controls that consists of oriental buildings and citizens. Though not as complex as the occidental citizen system, there are separate needs and different products that can be produced. An example is spices which can only be produced by oriental settlements, but are necessary to advance occidental cities. Thus both types of settlements must be created and managed by the player.
Sea trade plays an enormous role in Anno 1404 as cities are usually situated on islands. To gain access to unavailable resources trade routes can be set up by the player to automatically transfer goods between their own cities or to automatically purchase necessary goods from other factions.
A demo was released on June 18th 2009. It contains two game modes with a one hour time limit on each. It is 1.67 GB in size.
PC requirements and DRM
While this may change before release the current planned DRM for the game had a three install limit, no revoke tool and the PC must have an internet connection. Changing critical PC parts uses an install. However, you can play without the DVD.
As of patch 1.1 they have removed the install limit for all installs from DVDs. Install limits on digital download still exist.
- OS: Windows® XP (SP3), Windows Vista® (only)
- Processor: Pentium 4. 3 GHz or comparable (dual core recommended)
- Memory: 1 GB (3 GB recommended)
- Graphics: DirectX®9-compatible graphics adapter with 128 MB RAM (DirectX®10 with 512 MB recommended)
- DirectX®: DirectX®9/10
- Hard Drive: 6 GB free space
- Sound: DirectX®9-compatible
- Peripherals Supported: Windows-compliant mouse, keyboard, gamepad, headset
Supported Video Cards at Time of Release:
- ATI® Radeon® 9600–9800 / X300–850 / X1050–1950 / HD2400-2900 / HD3400–3870 / HD4300–4890
- NVIDIA GeForce® 6100–6800 / 7100–7950 / 8200–8800 / 9200–9800 / 120–140 / 250–295
- Laptop versions of these cards may work but are NOT supported. These chipsets are the only ones that will run this game.