Vicarious Visions, the Activision studio most recently responsible for bringing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 to life, is being merged into the Blizzard side of Activision Blizzard, and will become “fully dedicated” to contributing to Blizzard titles.
All 200+ employees at Vicarious Visions have shifted over to be under Blizzard, with a merge effective today. In a statement to GamesIndustry.biz, Activision Blizzard said that Vicarious Visions will be “fully dedicated to existing Blizzard games and initiatives.” If more Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games are on the way, Vicarious Visions won’t be leading the charge.
An Activision Blizzard rep further explained, “”After collaborating with Vicarious Visions for some time and developing a great relationship, Blizzard realized there was an opportunity for [Vicarious Visions] to provide long-term support.” GamesIndustry notes that its unclear what projects Vicarious Visions has been collaborating on with Blizzard so far, nor what exactly “long-term support” means and which games that might be attached to, and when asked, the representative didn’t clarify further.
Vicarious Visions was formed in 1990 and worked on a number of licensed titles and ports before being acquired by Activision in 2005, where they continued to develop licensed titles and ports. They gained notoriety for their work as a support studio with the Skylanders and Call of Duty series throughout most of the 2010s before being tasked as a support studio for Bungie to make additional content for Destiny 2. They then developed the extremely well received Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2, cementing their place as a studio that can develop on nostalgia, bringing classics to the modern era. Except that cement wasn’t allowed any time to dry before they were shuffled off to Blizzard.
Vicarious Visions studio head Jen Oneal was promoted to Blizzard executive vice president of development with the merge, reporting directly to Blizzard president J. Allen Brack. The Studio Head role at Vicarious Visions will be filled by former COO Simon Ebejer. The studio’s headquarters will stay in Albany, New York, and it seems like, at least for the time being, Vicarious Visions will retain its name and unique identity under Blizzard.
Looking at upcoming Blizzard games that Vicarious Visions may be helping support long term, the two most obvious ones are Diablo IV and Overwatch 2. Their familiarity with working on Destiny 2 content may make the studio a shoo-in for helping to support Overwatch 2, another first-person shooter, but the extensive history of the company working on a multitude of games and genres says they could really be helping out with just about anything under Blizzard. Only time will tell what the studio is working on under this new umbrella. It was rumored last year that a Diablo II remaster was in the works at the studio.