Activision Blizzard has announced that it has merged the studio Vicarious Visions with Blizzard. Vicarious Visions was acquired by Activision in 2005. Over the years, the studio has worked on franchises such as Skylanders, Crash Bandicoot, Guitar Hero, Destiny, Call of Duty, and Tony Hawk. The last game Vicarious Visions worked on was the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 remake that came out last year. Now, the team of about 200 people will be employees of Blizzard and will be “fully dedicated to existing Blizzard games and initiatives.
“After collaborating with Vicious Visions for some time and developing a great relationship, Blizzard realized there was an opportunity for [Vicarious Visions] to provide long-term support,” a representative told gamesindusty.biz. With Vicarious Visions folding into Blizzard, Vicarious Visions studio head Jen Oneal has been promoted to Blizzard’s Vice President of Development, joining the company’s leadership team and will report directly to Blizzard president J. Allen Brack. Chief Operating Officer Simon Ebejer will replace Oneal as the Studio Head of Vicarious Visions.
Bloomberg reports that Vicarious Visions has been working with Blizzard since last year on the Diablo franchise. They are working on the planned remake of Diablo II, which was under development by Blizzard’s Team 1 until last year. Team 1 was behind Warcraft III: Reforged, which received a poor reception when it was released. Internal Blizzard documents reviewed by Bloomberg say that the game’s failures were due to poor planning, miscommunication, and a rushed release due to financial pressure from management. According to several people who worked on Warcraft III: Reforged, Blizzard began taking pre-orders for 2019 after announcing the game in 2018 without informing most of the development team beforehand.
Team 1 was working on the Diablo II remake and wanted to avoid the mistakes of Warcraft III: Reforged but Blizzard pulled them and put the division behind Diablo IV in charge. A group at Vicarious Visions is also working on the remake. On October 15, 2020, Blizzard informed Team 1 that it was reorganizing the entire division. Over the next few weeks, members of the team were given opportunities to interview for jobs elsewhere within Blizzard. Those who didn’t find positions were eventually cut. Others left to independent studios such as Frost Giant Inc, and DreamHaven Inc.