When it comes to developer studios that have had a long-standing positive relationship with their publishers, few have enjoyed such a history as Vicarious Visions. Working with Activision since its 1998 Game Boy Color port of Vigilante 8, Vicarious Visions played a pivotal role in porting and developing several of Activision's flagship titles to handheld and previous generation consoles. Their partnership led to Activision purchasing the company in 2005. After 15 years with Activision, Vicarious Visions begins a new chapter as a part of Blizzard Entertainment following the merger of the two companies.
Perhaps what Vicarious Visions was best known for was its delicate handling of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series. It was responsible for porting every major release in the Pro Skater series, beginning in 2001 with the release of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 on the GBA and ending with Tony Hawk's Proving Ground on the DS in 2007. In 2017, it would attain breakout success with Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and again in 2020 with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2, both games being remasters of the first several games in their respective series.
When Activision and Vivendi, the then-parent company of Blizzard, merged in 2008 to form Activision Blizzard, their assets became mutually exclusive. Following their independence from Vivendi in 2013, the two entities remained separate with Blizzard working on its titles and Activision working on its own IPs. It was announced today that the Vicarious Visions studio, from Activision's side, would move to Blizzard's side, effectively merging the studio into the company. It will remain in its headquarters based in Albany.
Moving forward, Vicarious Visions will "fully dedicate" itself to Blizzard and the development of its titles, no longer as a lead developer. The merger between Vicarious Visions and Blizzard isn't as peculiar as it appears. Throughout 2020, there were rumors of a Diablo 2 remaster titled Diablo 2: Resurrected in development. According to the rumors, Vicarious Visions would take the helm as the lead developer of the project.
What this merger could mean is the full-time development of the Diablo 2 remaster alongside several other projects that Blizzard has in store. With Blizzard being in hot water recently for its mismanaged handling of the remastered Warcraft 3: Reforged, Blizzard is seemingly pulling out all the stops to ensure that its future titles are of quality. With the development of Overwatch 2 remaining stagnant, it is assumed that Vicarious Visions will assist in its development within Blizzard.
Unfortunately for fans of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2, further plans of future DLC involving content from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 are now stuck in limbo. Hope is not lost for the future development of Tony Hawk as Activision still has its Beenox studio. Beenox has been on a roll with its Switch port of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and contributions to the widely-acclaimed Crash 4: It's About Time. As Beenox co-developed Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 alongside Vicarious Visions, it's a solid guess that they will be in charge of further developments.
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