Vicarious Visions is now officially merged into Blizzard

A skateboarder does a cool flip
(Image credit: Activision)

Vicarious Visions, whose most recent games include Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2, 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 now redirects to a Blizzard Albany job list. 

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The merger isn't a surprise: Activision turned Vicarious Visions into a full-time Blizzard support studio in early 2021, after the release of the outstanding Tony Hawk 1 + 2, and reports that it would be fully merged surfaced in October the same year. 

Despite that advance notice, the reaction to the news was not what you'd call broadly positive.

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But mixed in with the disappointment are expressions of optimism: That Microsoft will perhaps resurrect Vicarious Visions once the Activision Blizzard acquisition 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, 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.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.