Developer Vicarious Visions, which is owned by Activision Blizzard, has been merged into Blizzard, per a report from GamesIndustry.biz. From this point forward, the approximately 200 people in Vicarious Visions will be Blizzard employees “fully dedicated to existing Blizzard games and initiatives.” In other words, Vicarious Visions is finished leading game development projects like Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy or the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 remake. It will just be supporting Blizzard on its own franchises now, which would include the likes of World of Warcraft and Overwatch.
It’s a bizarre fate for a developer that has created or supported such a vast library of games across the past three decades. It worked on a hefty amount of Guitar Hero and Skylanders in recent years, before delivering the highly well-received Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy or the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2, which both sold millions of copies. It doesn’t make a lot of sense why Activision Blizzard would make this move with Vicarious Visions, but Activision Blizzard is already known for unsavory business practices and ranks among the most disliked video game publishers.
But to be clear, this merger — from the outside, at least — is not being treated as a negative thing. Vicarious Visions studio head Jen Oneal has become Blizzard’s new executive vice president of development, and Simon Ebejer, who was previously Chief Operating Officer of Vicarious Visions, will replace Oneal as studio head.
In fact, maybe it really isn’t all bad. Jason Schreier of Bloomberg reports Vicarious Visions has been working on a Diablo II remake, but that sounds like its own can of worms as far as development goes.
Blizzard's Team 1 was responsible for StarCraft II, Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft Remastered, and Warcraft 3 Reforged (which was the product of — surprise! — unrealistic deadlines created by financial pressures). Its next project was going to be the Diablo 2 remake.
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) January 22, 2021