Edge

‘Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2’ Developer Vicarious Visions Is Merging With Blizzard (UPDATE)

UPDATE: We now know that Vicarious Visions will be working exclusively on Blizzard franchises. A report from Jason Schreier of Bloomberg said that Vicarious Visions has quietly been working on a Diablo 2 remake for months now.

The studio, Vicarious Visions, had been a subsidiary of Activision since 2005 and worked on franchises like Skylanders, Crash Bandicoot and Tony Hawk. It will now focus entirely on Blizzard’s franchises, including Diablo, instead of making its own games. Former Vicarious Visions studio head Jennifer Oneal will take a seat on Blizzard’s leadership team, reporting directly to the president.

A group at Vicarious Visions is also working on the remake, which was known as Diablo II: Resurrected.

This feels like a strong indication that Vicarious Visions will no longer be working on Tony Hawk in any capacity unless they hand that franchise over to Blizzard, although it is unclear if that will end up being the case.

EARLIER: If you enjoyed Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2 in 2019, you were far from alone. Some would argue it’s one of the best games of the year if not THE best. But if you were excited about the possibility of a Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3+4, or maybe a new Tony Hawk title from the makers of last year’s reimagining, Friday brought bad news.

The creators of the modern Tony Hawk game, Vicarious Visions, has merged into the Blizzard umbrella of Activision. This appears to mean that Vicarious Visions will now be working on Blizzard games such as Warcraft and Overwatch. This is potentially exciting news for fans of Blizzard franchises, but what does this mean for fans of series like Tony Hawk? (Via Gameindustry.biz)

“Activision Blizzard has moved its Vicarious Visions studio from the Activision side of the business to the Blizzard side.

The publisher today told GamesIndustry.biz that effective today, it is merging Vicarious Visions into Blizzard Entertainment.

….

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,” a representative explained to us. They declined to specify what the team has been working on with Blizzard, or for how long.

As part of the move, Vicarious Visions studio head Jen Oneal has been promoted to Blizzard executive vice president of development, where she joins the company’s leadership team and will report directly to Blizzard president J. Allen Brack.

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2 was a surprise hit in the sense that many fans of the series weren’t sure they were ever going to make a good Tony Hawk game again. The franchise had felt dormant for a long time and every chance to bring it back was a flop with both critics and fans. It was always going to take a monumental effort to bring the franchise back to prominence and it’s safe to say that Vicarious Visions hit it out of the park. This is also why fans of the franchise have some concern to see it potentially leave their hands.

Of course, this doesn’t have to mean that another game isn’t coming. Perhaps we see Blizzard developing the next Tony Hawk game, or they could be handing the franchise over to a different studio within Activision. But as video game companies continue to shuffle resources and merge, it’s worrying for some that it may impact the chances we see the series continue.

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