Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 developer Vicarious Visions is reportedly dropping its studio name and merging completely with its Blizzard Entertainment. Management announced the decision to studio staff earlier this week. Some contributors have criticized the studio’s lack of transparency for failing to announce the name change would take place during its first merger with Blizzard earlier this year.
Activision originally acquired Vicarious Visions in 2005. The studio is best known for its work developing the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2. Both games were very well received upon release. The studio also helped develop games in the Skylanders and Duty series, but also as a support studio Lot 2.
Following the success of its two major reboot titles, Activision Blizzard made the decision in January 2021 to merge Vicarious Visions with its Blizzard division. At the time, Blizzard stated that Vicarious Visions would be “completely committed to existing Blizzard games and initiatives”. and it was further reported that the team was working on Diablo II: Resurrected. While Vicarious Visions transferred its 200+ employees to work on Blizzard games, there was no indication that the studio’s identity would change in any way.
Apparently the employees of Vicarious Vision felt the same way. Speaking to Polygon, an employee of the studio expressed disappointment at the lack of transparency from management. Others revealed that the “scripture had been hanging on the wall for a while”. Management announced the name change – or rather complete name deletion – during a brief city council meeting on Wednesday. Funnily enough, some employees dressed up in Halloween costumes.
The concern is understandable given Activision Blizzard’s ongoing controversy with allegations of workplace abuse, sexual harassment and discrimination. Recently, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick even cut his own salary in an effort to show that the company was determined to solve its problems. Activision Blizzard is also facing multiple lawsuits, some of which are spearheaded by government organizations.
While Activision Blizzard and Blizzard Entertainment have yet to comment on the reports, it certainly appears that Vicarious Visions is no more, now just additional development staff for Blizzard Entertainment.