Activision Merges Tony Hawk Dev Vicarious Visions With Blizzard
The studio will cease to exist on its own, now operating as part of Blizzard.
Coming off the success of last year's Tony Hawk Pro's Skater 1 + 2, developer Vicarious Visions is undergoing a major adjustment. Activision Blizzard has confirmed that the company will be moved from Activision's umbrella into Blizzard, pivoting the studio to be "fully dedicated" to Blizzard games going forward.
According to GamesIndustry.biz, the transition is effective immediately, with Vicarious Visions remaining in Albany, New York. The 200-team studio will now be "fully dedicated to existing Blizzard games and initiatives." Starting today, Vicarious Visions, which has led development on a majority of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater franchise, will no longer work on the famed IP.
A spokesperson told the publication that Vicarious Visions would be a great fit to offer Blizzard Entertainment's development studios "long-term support" going forward.
"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," the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson didn't clarify what Vicarious Vision has been working with Blizzard on or for how long, but Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier said the studio has been "working on Blizzard projects for a few months now." What these projects are remain a mystery, though Blizzard's upcoming games include Diablo 4, Diablo Immortal, and Overwatch 2.
As part of the shift, upper management is also being shuffled around. Vicarious Visions' head Jen Oneal has been promoted to executive vice president of development at Blizzard. She will report directly to company president J. Allen Brack. Taking Oneal's place at Vicarious Visions as studio head is Simon Ebejer, who previously served as the studio's chief operating officer.
Founded by two brothers while they were in high school in 1990, Vicarious Visions has had a hand in some big-name franchises, including Crash Bandicoot, Guitar Hero, Spider-Man, and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. The studio's website seems to be a deadlink following the merger.
This news comes at an odd time for Vicarious Visions, which just last year saw Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 set a new record for the franchise, selling 1 million units faster than any previous entry. And following the successful launch of Vicarious's Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy, Activision Blizzard said during a 2017 conference call that remasters of its other IP were likely. Vicarious Visions also served as a Destiny 2 support team before the Activision-Bungie split.
This marks the second Tony Hawk's Pro Skater developer that has been shuttered due to a merger. The last studio handling the franchise, Neversoft, was combined into Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward in 2014.