The studio made the official announcement on Tuesday the 12th of April 2022. The team will continue to operate out of their office in Albany, New York. Blizzard Albany is also the new official name of the studio.
Issuing a statement on Twitter, the development team confirmed that their efforts will be solely focused on Blizzard Entertainment games going forward.
We've officially merged with Blizzard Entertainment. Our development team will remain in Albany, NY and fully dedicated to Blizzard games. We invite you to follow us @Blizzard_Ent
— Vicarious Visions (@VvisionsStudio) April 12, 2022
Although the announcement has only just officially been issued, the team have known about this for a while, as they were informed that the ‘Vicarious Visions,’ name would be dropped in October of 2021. This recent statement also means that the studio will lose the rights to its former name as well as all of the previous branding and logos etc.
Vicarious Visions was originally founded 31 years ago in 1991 by two brothers called Karthik and Guha Bala. The Bala brothers sold the company to Activision in January of 2005.
In the years since, the Vicarious Visions team have contributed work on ports for popular games such as; Jedi Academy, Jedi Outcast, Star Wars Jedi Knight II and Ultimate Spider-Man. However, the developer is perhaps most well known for their work on the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2, and several Skylanders titles.
In January of 2021, (almost one year to the day before it was announced that Microsoft would be acquiring Activision Blizzard,) the decision was made that Vicarious Visions would cease production on Activision games and focus solely on Blizzard titles. Following this decision, Jen Oneal, – the former studio head of Vicarious Visions, – transitioned to become the executive vice president of development at Blizzard.
In July of 2021, former Blizzard president; J. Allen Brack, was forced to step down from his role as a direct result of a discrimination and harassment lawsuit brought about by Californian workplace regulators.
Following this controversy, Jen Oneal took on Brack’s former role along with Mike Ybarra, becoming the joint-leaders of Blizzard. Though, shortly afterwards Oneal also resigned from the position. This was in the midst of the multitude of sexual harassment and discrimination investigations taking place within the company. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, her decision was largely based on the loss of faith she felt in the company due to the nature of the investigations.
In January of 2022, Microsoft made the announcement that it intended to buyout Activision Blizzard in a record-setting deal of $68.7 billion dollars. Although it has since been reported that the Federal Trade Commission will launch an investigation into this deal, if it does indeed go through, it will mean that Blizzard Albany will become the property of Microsoft.
What do you make of this official statement from the company formerly known as Vicarious Visions? Are you sad to see another studio be gobbled up by one of the platform-holders? Does it bother you that yet another studio who formerly lead development on several games is now relegated to being a support studio for a large corporation?
Let us know how you feel about Vicarious Visions officially merging with Blizzard in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @DanBoyd95.