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Tony Hawk remake studio Vicarious Visions officially drops its name, merges with Blizzard

Staff was informed last year

Leo Baker grinds along a quarter pipe lip in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 Image: Vicarious Visions/Activision
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Vicarious Visions, the makers of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2, has been fully merged into Blizzard Entertainment, the studio said on Tuesday. The development team remains located in Albany, New York and is focused entirely on Blizzard Entertainment games, it said.

The completed merger means a studio founded 31 years ago will lose its name and original branding. Blizzard announced the merger last year, and workers were informed about the name change in October 2021.

Vicarious Visions was founded in 1991 by brothers Karthik and Guha Bala, who sold the studio to Activision in 2005. Since then, Vicarious Visions developers have worked on ports for titles like Ultimate Spider-Man, Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy. The studio is best known for the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2, and for supporting last September’s Diablo II: Resurrected.

Former Vicarious Visions studio head Jen Oneal became Blizzard’s executive vice president of development after Vicarious Visions folded into Blizzard in January. The following July, when Blizzard president J. Allen Brack stepped down in light of a workplace discrimination and harassment lawsuit brought by California regulators, Oneal and Mike Ybarra took Brack’s place leading Blizzard. Oneal stepped down from that role shortly after, and a Wall Street Journal report later said Oneal told others she had little faith in Activision Blizzard’s leadership under the huge cloud created by multiple sexual harassment and discrimination investigations.

In January, Microsoft announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard in a landmark $68.7 billion deal, which will face scrutiny from regulators with the Federal Trade Commission. Chief executive Bobby Kotick also is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice over potential insider trading, the Journal reported.

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