Vicarious Visions, the studio behind some of the best remasters of recent memory and plenty of other great games, just experienced a major paradigm shift. Activision confirmed to GI.Biz that the studio and its team of around 200 employees are being absorbed into Blizzard and will be “fully dedicated to existing Blizzard games and initiatives.” Will Vicarious Visions get to keep its name in the wake of this shake-up? Who knows, but I’m betting fifty bucks that it’ll be renamed to Blizzard Albany or Blizzard New York since it’s not changing working locations.
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.
It’s the end of an era for one of gaming’s most consistently excellent studios. Founded in 1990, Vicarious Visions would make a name for itself as a leading developer of handheld games, with Activision eventually rocking up to its front door in 2005 with a fat sack of acquisition cash. In the years that followed, the studio would be put to work on Guitar Hero, Tony Hawk, Crash Bandicoot, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, Skylanders, and support work on Destiny 2 back when Bungie was still cashing a paycheque from the house of Bobby Kotick.
So what’s next for the studio’s staff? According to a report by Bloomberg, the infusion of talent into Blizzard will be put to good use, with development on a Diablo 2 remaster having been in the works for quite a while already. That remake was reportedly being handled by the Blizzard team responsible for Warcraft 3: Reforged, a game that went down with fans about as well as a glass of blended thumbtacks when it first released. BlizzCon Online is around the corner, so next month would be as good a time as any to announce an updated version of the 2000 classic.
Blizzard has naturally remained cagey about what its new talent is working on, only stating the studio had been supporting Blizzard “for some time.” If anyone needs me, I’ll be pouring a kickflip 40 out for Vicarious Visions, because my dream of a Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3+4 remaster is now officially dead.
Last Updated: January 25, 2021