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Video Game / Anno Domini

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A.D., or simply Anno, is a series of 4X city builder games, originaly by the Austrian studio Max Design and later by Related Designs / Ubisoft Blue Byte Mainz when the former went bankrupt. The series is focused primarily on the colonisation and development of a variety of islands, but also has aspects of trade, technological progression, war and conquest. It consists of (in order of release):

  • Anno 1602 (released in 1998)
  • Anno 1503: The New World (released in 2002)
    • Anno 1503: Treasures, Monsters & Pirates (expansion, released in 2003)
  • Anno 1701 (released in 2006)
    • Anno 1701: The Sunken Dragon (expansion, released in 2007)
    • Anno 1701: Dawn of Discovery (Nintendo DS spin-off, released in 2007)
  • Anno 1404 (released in 2009), known as Dawn of Discovery in North America
    • Anno 1404: Venice (expansion, released in 2010)
  • Anno 2070 (released in 2011)
    • Anno 2070: Deep Ocean (expansion, released in 2012)
  • Anno 2205 (released in 2015)
  • Anno 1800 (released in 2019)
Each game has a "Continuous Mode" wherein you can play as long as you want, competing with A.I. players (or other humans over multiplayer) for territory and resources, and a number of scenarios, often-times with several arranged to form a storyline. Players begin with a ship (or in some scenarios, a warehouse on an island) and a negative income. You have to build houses to collect taxes, but then your peasants want fish, and then they want something to occupy them and so on.

Most of the games offer a way to trade with the AI, whether other Empires or civilian trade ships. Due to general scarcity of certain critical resources until those can be produced, the latter has to be relied on to buy those resources, though other resources can be sold as well. Technology Levels ensure a progression from simple pioneers and settlers to citizens and even aristocrats, each with their own set of demands and power to pay taxes in return.

War is not the biggest factor, but it does happen, as AI players can be allies and trade-partners, or non-trade opponents and enemies to fight. In many scenarios across the various games, the human player will have to eventually defeat the AI players with weapons and conquer their islands to proceed, typically via sending ships to their islands and bombard the city walls, then unload soldiers. Alternatively, but more difficult, one can try settling on the enemy island(s) and produce soldiers there directly. Later titles introduced additional options for economic warfare, like buying up shares of the enemy's island until the whole place switches owners non-violently via hostile takeover.

Anno Domini 1257 is not related to this series.

This series of Video Games provides examples of:

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  • Action Bomb: Starting with 2070, ships blowing themselves up one way or another have become a recurring feature of naval warfare. 2070 and 1800 provide socketable items that enable an expensive Suicide Attack for massive damage while 2205 has explosive Attack Drones employed by the villains.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: The game will show messages if you're playing deep into the night. "How about a coffee?"
  • Christianity is Catholic: Implied in dialogue and the style of occidental religious buildings. Justified in 1503, which takes place before the Reformation (and Orthodox nations never did much colonizing the Caribbean). It's even more justified in 1404, a time period in which Catholicism was at its zenith.
  • Command & Conquer Economy: Nothing gets done without your consent. Certain things can be automated, but you're free to intervene at any time.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: There are times where you have just obtained the resources needed to expand to your first oriental island while your AI opponent has already settled two.
  • Continuity Nod: Every game since 1701 has had a Jorgensen. 1701 has Henrik Jorgensen, and 1404 has Leif Jorgensen. Their personalities and appearance are similar enough that one can assume that they are somehow related. 2070 continues with Tilda Jorgensen, who even notes that she comes from the lineage of the "great explorer" Leif Jorgensen. 2205 then continues with Ville Jorgensen. In Anno 1800 Bente Jorgenson makes an appearance
  • Flaunting Your Fleets: You, of course. You need a powerful navy in order to win the games, no exceptions. In fact, the pirate faction leader in 2070 will compliment you if you build a large enough fleet.
  • Global Currency: Gold. By 2070, the world will have switched to Credits.
  • Infinite Supplies:
    • Any resource that comes out of the ground can be refilled with a substantial payment of gold.
    • In the first two games, stone and gold are always infinite. Iron has to be mined with an upgraded mine to get everything, which, depending on the map, can be finite or infinite.
  • Magic Realism: The games are usually more or less realistic, at least until you defeat a native culture in war, upon which that culture will curse you with a strangely supernatural parting gift, like sudden droughts, locust epidemics, pestilence or tempests (worst case scenario in 1602 at least would be a gold mine collapsing, which in some cases will dive the mission straight into Unwinnable by Design territory). It's never touched upon how it's possible, just that it happens invariably.
  • Nintendo Hard: The games in general get increasingly complicated and difficult the further you play. It's one thing to set up a small village, another to turn it into a thriving country without crashing it into the ground.
  • Pirate: They're a bane in 1701, 2070 and 1800, and have a habit of harassing trade ships if you don't play along with their protection racket. It's possible, however, to get on their good side if you yourself are particularly nasty. 1800 dialled this down a bit by making the pirates offer you the same bog-standard quests that any other faction doles out, so keeping them pacified is more a matter of patience until your navy is strong enough to wipe them off the map. Most games that feature pirates also let you disable them completely from the start if you don't feel like putting up with them.
  • Plunder: In later games, enemy ships drop all of their cargo when destroyed, so of course this is in full force. AI ships can also drop special items that can be sold to other AIs in exchange for research/tech licenses as well.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: Most buildings are created instantly. Inverted with Monuments, which can take hours to complete.
  • Settling the Frontier: The central premise of the games is that there are these islands full of resources that need a colonizing. 2205 changes the setting from the ocean to the Moon.
  • Shout-Out: See ShoutOut.Anno Domini.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The games' campaigns lean toward the idealistic side of the scale, ending with peaceful coexistence of all parties. The Sunken Dragon campaign is an exception, as both Grace Bonnet is probably dead although no body was found, and Diego del Torro is captured by Madame Nadasky. 2205 is also generally optimistic. Earth in general is enough of a disaster area that lunar colonization is considered tenable, but the ice caps are kept frozen with technology, organic food is still available, and all technology has been refined to the point that even mining no longer harms the remaining environment.
  • Theme Naming: All titles consist of "Anno" followed by a year, whose digits always sum up to 9 (1602, 1503, 1701, 1404, 2070, 2205 and 1800).
  • We Buy Anything: In later games, the AI will buy anything and everything you sell, regardless of cost or usefulness. In the first installment, however, it will buy only whatever it needs (which may be nothing at all).
    • However, the standard selling price often reflects usefulness. In 2070, you can easily sell sand en masse to AI players (it's also one of the few goods every AI that visits your Warehouses will buy) but it's not going to make you a lot of money.
    • Averted in 2205. The sector trading posts have ever-changing combinations of goods they're willing to buy, so while they technically do buy anything from you, you can't just hawk any surplus stores in your warehouse whenever you feel like it. The upside is that they often pay exceedingly well for things that can be produced en masse fairly cheaply, which makes it very easy to refill your cash reserves after expensive investments, like sector acquisitions or lunar expansions.
    • NPCs in 1800 are back to buying anything you sell, although the four neutral ones have additional, regularly changing sets of goods they specifically request and for which they pay a premium if you sell them directly at their warehouse.
  • A Winner Is You: Missions that aren't part of a campaign end instantly when you meet all the objectives, giving a statement of your victory and a screen totaling your points. It can be very abrupt and disconcerting if you've spent many hours in the mission.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: In addition to basic things like wood, stone, and tools, in the later games, later structures require more advanced building materials with extensive production chains.

    Anno 1503 
  • Torches and Pitchforks: A mob might sometimes attempt to topple your reign. However, they can be beaten down by your soldiers.

    Anno 1701 
  • Anachronism Stew: The doctor travels around on a dandy horse (invented in 1817), and the whaling ship uses a harpoon gun (invented in the mid-19th century). To a lesser extent, both armoured pikemen and masked plague doctors were already fairly outdated (though still in living memory) by the late 17th century.
  • Magic Realism: One mission involves you helping McCrane to retrieve an Artifact of Doom from a volcanic island, despite protests from the natives. As soon as you remove the treasure, the island erupts in flames and earthquakes, and, for the rest of the mission, you must help the native tribal leader prepare an appropriate sacrifice to Appease the Volcano God.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The population can go nuts for three reasons — being roused by a revolutionary, the taxes getting too high, or your tiny island(s) runing out of vital resources, such as clothing, basic nutrition, alcohol, tobacco, or chocolates. Then they will get out their torches, pitchforks and placards (with nothing written on them) and rampage through your towns, to lapidate statues of yourself, and to burn down all buildings they encounter, including vital public institutions, firms, and their own houses. While the Fire Brigade never intervenes. After the crisis is settled, they start revolting, because vital public institutions, firms, and their own houses(!) are amiss all of a sudden. It should be noted, that the higher your population is in the public order, the more they are prone to revolt. While Citizens, Merchants and Aristocrats are the most aggressive, the Pioneers and Settlers are almost always content.

    Anno 2070 
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The central villain of the campaign is the Super AI F.A.T.H.E.R. going rogue after a computer virus corrupts it. After the campaign, however, the Techs repair F.A.T.H.E.R. and continue to use him without incident.
  • The Ark: Arks are mobile bases that serve as the major factions' centers of operations.
  • Attack Drone: Employed by the Viper, an anti-submarine warship, and a Socketed Equipment version can be installed in most other ships as well — though they're often inferior to the Viper's drone. Both kinds are quite handy though, since they can usually attack all targets such as aircraft, not just enemy ships.
  • Bad Boss: Thor Strindberg is more interested in going ahead with the "Two Year Plan" than listening to his chief scientist say the hydroelectric dam will come crashing down if they try to install the new turbine and run it at full speed straight away instead of running tests. Guess what happens next.
  • Bourgeois Bohemian: The Eden Initiative is an entire society of them. Lots of nature-lovers who at the same time benefit from and enjoy advanced technology, most of which is built with inefficient but sustainable methods. But strangely their drink of choice is tea rather than coffee.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive:
    • 2070 has an entire faction of them. The tycoons of Global Trust primarily care about the bottom line and have several unique technologies that let them take advantage of not giving one flaming shit about the environment, like strip-mining coal anywhere instead of wasting one of your precious mining slots for a coal mine. Factory Farming and fertilizers mean they have to spend very little space on agriculture as well and their populace doesn't care about a negative eco-balance. This may come to bite them in the backside when the natural disasters start hitting. Thor Strindberg is the worst of the lot. More pragmatically-minded members of Global Trust do have some eco-balancing buildings available to them later on, although these can only restore ecobalance to 0 whereas Eden Initiative Ecobalance buildings can send it into positive numbers. 2205 shows that Global Trust paid dearly for this culture in the long run. They're no longer a Mega-Corp, in fact they're long since defunct and held as an example of how not to conduct business.
    • The Big Five DLC gives the player the freedom to be one by hiring insiders to infiltrate rivals and perform acts like siphoning rival bank accounts and under-the-table patent exchanges.
  • Cyberpunk: While cybertech is downplayed (besides A.I.s), Global Trust definitely has this kind of aesthetic. 2205 mixes this with Biopunk, with MegaCorps staffed with executives working in shiny corporate towers who use all kinds of neuro-implants and biotech to look good and perform better.
  • Dual-World Gameplay: You can build submarines which allow you to explore and colonize the deep sea.
  • Earth That Used to Be Better: Rising ocean levels have flooded the continents and devastated every previous world government, leaving only Mega Corps to manage the remaining habitable land. Although the ecosystem on virgin lands is still fertile, thrashing it through careless strip-mining and cheap factories will have harsh and immediate (on a climatological scale) consequences.
  • Empty Quiver: The first world event, aptly named "Atomic Terror", deals with a pirate group called the Neo Skullz seizing a number of warheads and threatening to launch them at populated areas because their leader wants to watch the world burn.
  • Enemy Mine: A good way to earn positive influence with Strindberg, who normally hates your guts, is to go beat up on a certain doctor.
  • False Camera Effects: When you zoom into the underwater view the screen is briefly filled with bubbles, as if you had dropped a camera underwater. When you zoom back out, water droplets stream down the screen.
  • Flooded Future World: The game is set in a post-sea rise Earth to justify the franchise's core gameplay concept of settling remote islands within a futuristic setting.
  • Global Warming: The polar ice caps have melted and the world's climate has been altered, hence many locations that were once barren are now fertile. Developing these locations is where you come in.
  • Green Aesop: The Eden Initiative is all about this. Global Trust doesn't care much about pollution, but they can end up paying dearly for it when a nuclear reactor goes boom.
  • Infinite Supplies: The game mostly has finite supplies of ore, coal, oil and sand (and lobster, for some reason), but certain items that can be built by the tech faction or bought from AI players can refill the supplies for a hefty sum. Underwater plateaus have infinite supplies for everything but oil.
  • Mega-Corp: The Tycoons. If you choose to side with them you play as a subsidiary of Global Trust, the world's largest energy supplier.
  • Must Have Caffeine: The basic beverage for S.A.A.T. employees is "Functional Drink", which is made of equal parts coffee and sugar.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Leon Moreau is a computer player character affiliated with the Eden Initiative who prioritizes maintaining perfect ecobalance on all islands, and fiercely opposes anyone harvesting and using large quantities of oil. The computer player character Vadim Sokow is his Arch-Enemy for his focus on the fossil fuel trade, and Leon will attack any of Vadim's oil tankers every chance he gets. Destroyed oil tankers release oil spills, drastically reducing the ecobalance of any island the tide carries them into. Way to protect the environment, Leon.
  • Nuke 'em: 2070 includes nuclear weapons. A World Event involves a group of pirates getting a hold of a bunch of them and threatening to blow everyone to hell. It's also a big part of the campaign. The second chapter ends with finding out that the Super AI mentioned above has been stealing, among other things, the materials needed for nukes. The third chapter deals with the aftermath, with the area heavily impacted by radiation.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: The Global Trust is effectively this, having been forged from various corporations and taken the place of many national governments that went under during the upheavals.
  • Play Every Day: 2070 has daily quests which can be undertaken for the faction of the player's choice, earning 50 career points with that faction. There are also periodic elections which grant career points for anyone who votes. These constitute the main ways to earn career advancement in the game.
  • Real Is Brown: This can happen when the eco-balance level in your island drops at 25 negative and lower. This turns the land and coast around it to turn darker and browner, getting progressively worse as the number goes down. At around 200 negative and lower, your island can turn into a desolate looking wasteland. If your eco-balance is far below acceptable levels, you run the risk of creating a tornado in your map, and there's no way to curb it when it appears. This happens as a result of putting too many buildings that pollute the environment, especially coal plants and resource mines, or having oil spills. However, certain modules can be either bought from your neighbors or researched at your Academy to help curb pollution and maintaining the eco-balance on your islands. Additionally, there are certain buildings that serve the same purpose that modules do at the expense of increased costs and power consumption.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Rufus Thorne sort-of takes this role in 2070 despite his potentially ominous name, recognizing that Strindberg is almost entirely at fault for the dam catastrophe and commending the player's role in containing the situation and helping control the other disasters that strike shortly after. He's not too happy if you side with the Eden Initiative, but he doesn't make any blatant threats like Strindberg. Indeed, his main complaint about you using wind power is its inefficiency. While Strindberg is panicking and raving on about all the money he is going to loose, Thorne directs you to rescue trapped workers, straight out saying they are more valuable than recovering goods and facilities. Thus, his main character trait appears to be a fairly positive form of pragmatism, causing him to value competenct and efficient subordinates greatly.
  • Red Herring: The introduction video has EVE say twice, in her Machine Monotone, "You can trust me, implicitly". Despite setting off every Speculative Fiction red flag in the book, she's telling the truth: she's as stalwart as any of the right-hand man characters in other games.
  • Socketed Equipment: Vehicle Upgrades, Island Upgrades, and Ark Upgrades. Most vehicles hold at least one upgrade slot, some as many as three. Whilst they're mostly used for 'permanent' effects (increased speed, firepower, shields, etc.), these slots are also used for consumables like the Boarding Party or even Detonators. Islands can have three upgrades that can work on only that island. Ark Upgrades have an influence on the entire map and come in three tiers, but three of your slots are locked until you reach certain Career levels in each faction.
  • Terrorists Without a Cause: Among the enemy factions, most of whom are just opportunistic pirates, there are groups like the Neo Skullz, who steal nuclear warheads and threaten cities with them, apparently just because they like spreading mayhem.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • In the campaign, you help the tech faction come into possession of what is described as an intelligent virus. So far, it sunk the prototype of the city-ship arks and may have been responsible for several minor near-disasters. So... let's plug it into F.A.T.H.E.R., the A.I. that rules the tech faction and administrates its city. What's the worst that could happen? Hint: You spend the rest of the campaign finding out. It gets worse. First of all, C.O.R.E. is on an island. Why in God's name does F.A.T.H.E.R. need a complete Ark to house his systems, complete with engines? He's been built into the harbor for crying out loud! Second, why does F.A.T.H.E.R. have complete control over C.O.R.E.'s systems? The airborne drones are perhaps understandable, but you'd think that the shore batteries would need some kind of manual intervention to fire, or at least have an entirely-mechanical analog safety mechanism that could be thrown to prevent F.A.T.H.E.R. from shooting up the city in the event he turned into an insane artificial intelligence. Thirdly, who in their right mind would equip an AI, which is intended to be a fixed installation, not only with an entire ARK capable of carrying him out to sea from a cold start, ripping its way through the seawall to do so, but with the facilities to then create entirely automated armed sailing ships. Is F.A.T.H.E.R. commanding some kind of insane faction of humans who are manning his ships that we never hear about, or are they really that dumb that they either build their ships completely automated, or provided F.A.T.H.E.R. with humanoid drones capable of operating the equipment, performing maintenance and refueling etcetera? It's never explained.
    • Strindberg, again. First he breaks the dam, and when he rejoins you later, he wants to beat you to the punch of building up a strong fleet... only to focus exclusively on ships that are helpless against submarines. Guess what happens to his fleet... and then he seems to go downright rogue, only to be easily captured. In continuous games, he's also the only AI reckless enough about his ecobalance to cause tornadoes.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The pitchforks and torches are replaced with protest signs, as citizens may make demands in the form of an Ultimatum mission. Failure to comply results in fairly peaceful rioting compared to earlier games — you're not going to see anything burning down except the amount of money in your wallet, since you're also losing any tax income... and you're looking at dealing with mass emigration due to unhappiness. Most of these issues can also be avoided entirely fairly easily if you know what triggers them. For instance, citizens may complain about a lack of electricity even if you have a surplus, but keep it above 50 or so and they'll never complain. Same with ecobalance for ecos, and income for tycoons.
  • Transhuman: The Tech faction appears to be heading in this direction. Lower tier tech populations are unmodified humans, but in the Deep Ocean expansion, as they go up into the Genius population class, their material goods needs begin to encompass things like neuroimplants, immune system enhancing drugs, and bionic exoskeletons which preempt or satisfy physical demands of the body. One Genius quote says that thanks to "neuro-optimization", he requires 68% less sleep than normal. Another one says that the new software update allowed the Genius to work better with "standard humans".

    Anno 2205 
  • Artificial Stupidity: Vehicles have horrible pathfinding and even worse combat AI. Your frontline warships operate on No Range Like Point-Blank Range despite being armed with torpedoes (which is incredibly annoying whenever a swarm of Bomb Drones shows up), and your whole fleet has apparently never been taught what a sea mine is and that one should stay away from them. They also don't move a millimeter from their position even when the ship right next to them is under attack, forcing you to issue attack orders on pretty much any single target you want destroyed. And don't even think about assigning target priorization; your ships mostly shoot whatever they they currently feel like shooting regardless of its actual threat level. Nothing like all your heavy hitters concentrating their fire on some harmless submarine while one of the abovementioned Bomb Drone swarms is rapidly closing in from another direction.
  • Attack Drone: The Orbital Watch in 2205 employs swarms of unmanned Bomb Drones armed with powerful warheads for Suicide Attacks on your fleet. They're small and comparatively fragile, but their speed, numbers and sheer damage output make them more dangerous than most actual warships.
  • Bald of Evil: Virgil Drake, the Big Bad, comes with a shiny plate as part of his Obviously Evil deluxe package.
  • Bragging Rights Reward:
    • The Corporate HQ is the game's sole monument, a ridiculously expensive building with incredibly high upkeep costs that covers all citizen tiers' logistics needs to a small degree, but doesn't do anything otherwise except look cool. It basically exists to show off how wealthy you are, with the achievement for building it aptly named "Because I Can".
    • The Madrigal Islands sector project requires unbelievable amounts of resources for a reward that is pretty much useless (see the That One Sidequest entry on the YMMV page for details). Chances are you'll complete it once for the achievement and won't ever touch it again in subsequent campaigns.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • One of the first major bonus missions involves salvaging an "ancient A.I." that is recognizably an ARK from 2070. Other sector projects reveal that Global Trust has gone bankrupt in the intervening years, its assets and territory now controlled by the Big Five. The Eden Initiative pops up with the Tundra DLC installed; they set up the compromised seed vaults in the sector that you need to restore as part of the local project. While Trenchcoat's floating base can be found in another.
    • The Support Fleet ability summons a small fleet of allied Seal-type submarines that look exactly like the dual-mode player ship/submarine from 2070.
  • Cool Boat: 2205 lets the player control a whole fleet of them, from Chain Lightning-shooting Glass Cannons to the Macross Missile Massacre-dispensing command ship. The Orbital Watch counters with their own fleets spearheaded by giant Eradicator dreadnoughts.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: The Greentide Archipelago sector project unlocks Synthetics, a fifth citizen tier above even the formerly top-level Investors. Completing the project is no mean feat to begin with, and upgrading Investor residential complexes to Synthetic complexes requires three rare materials instead of standard construction materials, making Synths a significant investment both in time and resources. What you get are buildings that supply 5,000 workers each (twice the amount Investors offer), but don't generate any revenue whatsoever. Considering how Synths can only settle in temperate regions where manpower is by far the most abundant resource anyway, losing the Investors' massive income boost for more workers you won't need is impractical, to say the least. The only benefit the Synths' higher numbers might offer is a bump in your corporate level, but that doesn't do a whole lot overall, so sticking with the Investors remains the better choice regardless.
  • Deflector Shields:
    • Crisis intervention missions give you access to a range of support abilities for your ships, one of which utilizes energy shielding to make your fleet temporarily invulnerable. A fairly easy-to-acquire upgrade available through the Orbit DLC cuts the fuel cost of this ability in half, enabling you to No-Sell almost any damage coming your way.
    • Settling the Moon is only possible under the cover of shield domes that protect your buildings from the frequent meteorite impacts pummeling Luna's surface. The masts that project these shields have a small footprint while their domes cover a large area, so it's mostly an atmospheric condition for added flair that has little to no actual impact on gameplay.
  • Double Unlock: Nested example. Opening up room for expansion first requires buying out another corporation's sector, which usually drains most or even all of your cash reserves. Once the sector is yours, you need to pay again to construct a warehouse on an island of your choosing. The first warehouse in each sectors is always comparatively cheap, but then the prices increase steadily for each subsequent one until eventually a simple warehouse costs more than what you paid for the entire sector it's in. Would be annoying enough if it was only about money, but warehouse construction also requires rare materials in increasingly insane quantities, which makes late-game expansion a real chore.
  • Dual-World Gameplay: You have to balance temperate, arctic, and lunar facilities together in harmony, with tundra assets thrown into the mix if the eponymous DLC is installed.
  • Earth That Used to Be Better: The world political stage has stabilized since 2070, but the majority of habitable zones are still choked with pollution, and fresh temperate regions are at a premium. Meanwhile, the ice caps have been returned to a healthy state, thanks to the dogged efforts of a corp of hard-nosed scientists who are staunchly unforgiving of any unauthorized development. The overall situation has become bad enough that building settlements on the moon, despite the tremendous expense, starts to look reasonable.
  • Gimmick Level: Settling the Arctic and the Moon imposes some unique building restrictions on the player that have little precedence in previous gamesnote . Arctic residences require heat as an additional resource, something that is supplied by production facilities in a limited radius around them, which radically changes the way you can set up your settlements. Lunar construction can only be done under the cover of Deflector Shields, but these have large diameters and therefore, ironically, give you much more leeway than the Arctic does. Both examples fall short of qualifying as an Unexpected Gameplay Change because the general rules for setting up a viable sector economy remain the same regardless.
  • Infinite Supplies: Even traditionally non-renewable resources like metals can be mined indefinitely.
  • Mega-Corp: Every player controls one, and contends against others in the global council.
  • Nuke 'em: Subverted. Using the Missile Barrage ability in crisis intervention missions has the AI announce "nuclear missile launched", but what actually happens is a normal ballistic artillery strike pounding the target area for a few seconds. Nothing nuclear about it at all.
  • Palette Swap: The Tundra DLC reuses a great many assets from the arctic and temperate regions, with most buildings being recolored copies hailing from one or the other.
  • Recycled In Space: 2205 is the series' standard story of expansion, resource gathering and Settling the Frontier — but on the Moon.
  • Retro Upgrade: Most of the warships operated by the Orbital Watch visibly resemble Red and Black and Evil All Over recolours of various ships from 2070. Including the Orca nuclear submarine (without the nukes), the Atlas aircraft carrier, Keto's warships and Hector's pirate gunboat. Despite their outdated designs, they can hit just as hard one-on-one as any of the cutting-edge Cool Boats the player has.
  • Schmuck Bait: Crisis intervention missions, quite a few of the destructible resource deposits along the coastlines are guarded by hidden ships (mostly submarines) that surface when your ships get close.
  • Space Elevator: One of the tasks is to build such a device in order to facilitate transportation of goods between your earthbound sectors and the Moon. Each sector must be equipped with a separate one if you plan on making full use of their capabilities.
  • So Last Season:
    • Basically any underwater gameplay in 2070 is completely dropped in favour of going to space. Hiro Ebashi's Geothermal energy project was shelved (likely due to all the earthquakes) and instead the world looks to the Moon for a plentiful source of energy. Goods production that initially took place in deep ocean plateaus has either been moved to shoreline production (e.g. tidal power, coral and kelp cultivation) or moved to the Moon for sourcing and production (such as with rare metals for bionics and supercomputers).
    • As the game takes place 150-or-so years after 2070 there are multiple production chains that are cheaper and easier to produce compared to their appearance in the previous game. Directly invoked with Biopolymers, a Tier 4 material in 2070 requiring corn and algae to produce becomes a Tier 1 construction material made using seed-extract bioresin with the flavour text "plastics are so 2070s".
  • Stone Wall: Combining this with Damage-Sponge Boss, Orbital Watch Eradicator dreadnoughts have ludicrously high health but deal surprisingly low damage for something of that size and with so many weapons. It's compounded by their inability to fire their numerous missile batteries at more than a single target at once. Goading them into attacking one of your heavily armored torpedo cruisers is basically the "you win" button in any encounter with them, assuming you got rid of any other Watch fleets in the area beforehand.
  • Terrorists Without a Cause: The Orbital Watch often comes across as this. The only motivation they divulge about why they're so hellbent on destroying you is that they claim the Moon belongs to the First Wave (AKA themselves), and that the Second Wave (AKA you) has no business being there. They never care to mention what exactly their beef is with you or Earth in general, though, but then the Orbital Watch as a whole is a trash-talking Plot Hole to begin with, so it's kind of fitting (in a weird way) that their cause remains just as unclear as everything else about them.
  • Transhuman: Compared to 2070, Enhancement technologies that were previously tied only to the scientist Tech faction have become widespread by 2205. Neuroimplants, rejuvenation serums, bio-enhancing implants and smart clothing become widely distributed commodities among the player's workforce (the first two even are Tier 2 goods for both temperate and arctic populations, so you will be making a lot of them). And that's not including one sector project which unlocks the self-aware Synthetics as a population class.
  • We Have Reserves: Virgil Drake will often boast about this when you destroy Orbital Watch buildings (but not ships). Seeing how it only takes a few minutes for a new Crisis Intervention mission to spawn after you completed the last, there's weight to his claims.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: The Orbital Watch is ostensibly a violent lunar nationalist movement that wants to keep the Moon free of outside interference. The only problem is that there's no water on the Moon, so, in order to maintain Anno's focus on naval warfare, any real battles against the Watch take place on Earth, and their fleets and bases are both highly advanced and absolutely massive in size. It's never mentioned where all this materiel is coming from, especially in light of how suddenly the guys appeared on Earth's radar. One ominous video manifesto out of the blue, and suddenly Earth is being overrun by an endless supply of high-tech warships operating out of enormous, heavily fortified harbor bases.