Developer Vicarious Visions, best known for its work on the recent Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 remake, has been merged with Blizzard, the publisher told GamesIndustry.biz today. Vicarious Visions is a studio under the Activision Blizzard umbrella and will now work on “existing” Blizzard games as a support team, instead of serving as lead developer on projects going forward. The developer has a lengthy portfolio of games to its name, especially ports and remakes.
According to GamesIndustry, a Blizzard rep said “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.” Vicarious Visions — for all intents and purposes — will no longer exist as we know it and its 200+ employees will now work solely on Blizzard projects.
This news comes as a shock since Vicarious Visions' recent projects, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 and Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy were critically well-received, leaving little hope of any other Activision remakes for the future — or at least ones of the quality set by Vicarious Visions. The publisher didn't specify what Vicarious Visions will be working on in the future, but many have speculated that the team has been shifted to help with Diablo IV and Overwatch 2 — two games that have been in the works for quite a while.
The previous head of the studio, Jen Oneal has now been promoted to executive vice president of development at Blizzard. Simon Ebejer will now serve as the head of the studio as part of the merge initiative.
Vicarious Visions has been around since 1990, but was acquired by Activision in 2005. Since then, it exclusively worked on Activision-published projects — nearly all of which were based on licensed franchises like Transformers, Spider-Man, Kung Fu Panda, and Guitar Hero. Most of its portfolio is comprised of handheld or mobile ports of existing games. It also became famous for the Skylanders series, which it worked alongside Activision-owned Beenox and Toys For Bob.