Unfortunately, this one has been a long time coming. In 2021, Vicarious Visions was transferred in ownership to Blizzard Entertainment, putting the beloved Albany-based studio on Blizzard’s internal IP. In October of 2021, Polygon reported that the iconic team behind titles such as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 and the Crash N-Sane Trilogy would be merged into Blizzard fully, losing their name and independent identity in the process.
As of today, this process seems to have concluded. In a tweet, shown below, Vicarious Visions indicates that their journey under the VV Banner has come to an end. Henceforth, they are “fully dedicated to Blizzard games”.
When visiting their official website, I was redirected to Blizzard’s own, mentioning a new studio called “Blizzard Albany” with the clarification that it was “formerly Vicarious Visions”. Unfortunately, it seems the name itself is deader than dead, at least in the short run. Job listings indicate the team is currently working in conjunction with Blizzard’s main Irvine campus on Diablo IV.
Thankfully, as of now, layoffs do not appear to have been reported. As for what this means going forward, in the interim, not much. Vicarious Visions will be handling Blizzard IP and may still get to lead projects of their own, only this time under the Blizzard banner. Heck, they may even get to make a few new IPs, if Blizzard’s willingness to pursue it remains. However, it is unlikely we’ll see a Vicarious Visions-led Tony Hawk or Crash Bandicoot game any time soon, leaving those franchises likely within the care of Toys For Bob.
Of course, pending regulatory review, Microsoft is set to inherit the teams and intellectual property of Activision Blizzard, including Vicarious Visions, so there is a chance they chose to undo this decision and return Vicarious Visions to the care of Activision, or maybe even transfer them to Xbox Game Studios. Only time will tell, but for now, I hope you like Blizzard games, because we should see a lot more of them. Hey, at least it’s not the CoD Mines.