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Major News Just Dropped For Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 Developer

Albany-based developer Vicarious Visions, which recently released Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2, will no longer operate as a development studio for Activision. Instead, the team will join the Blizzard half of Activision Blizzard in a support role.


GamesIndustry.biz reports that Vicarious Visions will be fully merging with Blizzard Entertainment. All of Vicarious Vision's 200 staff members will become Blizzard employees and be "fully dedicated to existing Blizzard games and initiatives." As a result of the merger, GamesIndustry.biz notes, Vicarious Visions will no longer be working as a lead developer on new games.

Vicarious Visions has been in operation since 1991 and was acquired by Activision in 2005. Since that time, the studio has contributed to many of Activision's high-profile brands, including Guitar Hero and Destiny 2. Vicarious Visions' most recent, and apparently last, independent project was the remake of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2, which earned a strong critical reception.


A representative of Activision Blizzard explained to GamesIndustry.biz that Blizzard had been "collaborating with Vicarious Visions for some time" before realizing there was "an opportunity for [Vicarious Visions] to provide long-term support." The announcement does not include any specifics on which teams Vicarious Visions will join or support, but Blizzard has several high profile titles with large player bases currently live, such as World of Warcraft and Overwatch.

Blizzard also has numerous triple AAA in development, including Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2. Only days before Activision announced the merger, Blizzard's Career page listed over 40 positions waiting to be filled on the Overwatch 2 team. Merging a staff of 200 veteran developers could certainly help fill some of those vacant job listings.

While few specifics were given as to where most Vicarious Vision's employees would end up, GamesIndustry.biz did include some details on how key leadership roles would be adjusted. Vicarious Vision's former studio head, Jen Oneal, will become an executive vice president of development for Blizzard, while former chief operating officer Simon Ebejer will become the new studio head. In addition, the studio will remain based in the Albany, NY area. 


News of the merger comes at an interesting time for Vicarious Visions. The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 remake was a surprise success and has become the fastest-selling game in the long-running franchise's history. Forbes notes that the game's strong sales "all but [guaranteed] future titles," although it looks like Activision will have to find another studio to develop subsequent Pro Skater games.