Vicarious Visions, whose most recent games include Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy (opens in new tab) and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 (opens in new tab), is no more. The studio announced today that it has now merged with Blizzard, and will work exclusively on Blizzard games.
Vicarious Visions was founded in 1991 and released its first game, the DOS-based Synnergist, in 1996. Over the years it became known primarily as a developer of handheld games, particularly for the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS. Activision acquired the studio in 2005 and turned it toward supporting high-profile game series like Guitar Hero, Skylanders, and Destiny 2. Studio founders Karthik and Guha Bala left in 2016, and the studio website at vvisions.com (opens in new tab) now redirects to a Blizzard Albany job list.
We've officially merged with Blizzard Entertainment. Our development team will remain in Albany, NY and fully dedicated to Blizzard games. We invite you to follow us @Blizzard_EntApril 12, 2022
The merger isn't a surprise: Activision turned Vicarious Visions into a full-time Blizzard support studio (opens in new tab) in early 2021, after the release of the outstanding Tony Hawk 1 + 2, and reports that it would be fully merged surfaced in October (opens in new tab) the same year.
Despite that advance notice, the reaction to the news was not what you'd call broadly positive.
The one positive that can come from this is letting these Activision studios be free. So much talent wasted on 3 IPs. It's a real shame.April 12, 2022
I know, it doesn’t make sense why they did this, they weren’t near Bankruptcy, hopefully Microsoft can undo this but it may be too late when they officially joinApril 12, 2022
Don't even say it 😭April 12, 2022
But mixed in with the disappointment are expressions of optimism: That Microsoft will perhaps resurrect Vicarious Visions once the Activision Blizzard acquisition (opens in new tab) is complete and set it loose to go do its own thing again, or that the VV infusion will inject some life and fresh creativity into Blizzard.
Both outcomes seem like a long shot to me, but it doesn't seem entirely beyond the realm of possibility. Xbox boss Phil Spencer said in January that he's eager to bring back some of the Activision games he loved as a kid (opens in new tab), which could easily include some Vicarious Visions classics. Unfortunately for fans, the culmination of that deal is still a long way off: It's not expected to close until sometime in Microsoft's 2023 fiscal year, which ends on June 20, 2023.