Blizzard to absorb Tony Hawk developer Vicarious Visions

Activision made the call to merge the smaller developer into Blizzard.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Vicarious Visions, a game development studio that’s been a part of Activision since January 2005, is merging with Blizzard Entertainment, the company announced today. 

The near 200 employee studio will now be “fully dedicated to existing Blizzard games and initiatives,” rather than working on titles under the Activision banner, such as the recently released Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2

Activision Blizzard saw this move as a good way to help out a developer that’s worked within the company for years in a new way, according to a statement made to GamesIndustry.biz.

“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,” an Activision Blizzard spokesperson told GamesIndustry.biz.

Vicarious Visions has worked with Activision for years on various franchises like Guitar Hero, Call of Duty, Destiny, and both new and old Tony Hawk and Crash Bandicoot games. The developer’s two most recent projects, the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2, were huge hits and revitalized previously dormant franchises. 

Along with the merger, Vicarious Visions studio head Jen Oneal will take over as Blizzard’s executive vice president of development. Her old role will be filled by the studio’s chief operating officer, Simon Ebejer, moving forward. 

There are no details available on what Vicarious Visions and Blizzard have been working on together prior to this move. But now that this merger is official, all of the developer’s staff are employees of Blizzard and will focus on IPs under that brand.

Update Jan. 22 7:28pm CT: After news broke that Blizzard would be absorbing Vicarious Visions, Bloomberg videogame reporter Jason Schreier provided more information about the merger.

According to Schreier, Vicarious Visions was already working on a Diablo II remake before this announcement. This is because Blizzard’s Team 1, the developers responsible for StarCraft II, Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft Remastered, and Warcraft 3 Reforged were “quietly dismantled” last Fall.

Team 1 was reportedly working on the Diablo II remake before it was pulled and given to Team 3, the developers reportedly working on Diablo IV. The remake, allegedly titled Diablo II: Resurrected is being worked on by Vicarious Visions and overseen by Team 3, according to Schreier.