Vicarious Visions is a long-time subsidiary studio of Activision. For more than a decade, Vicarious has acted as either the lead developer or a supporting studio for several Activision games. In recent years, Vicarious received massive praise for its work on Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2 Remaster, as well as Diablo II: Resurrected.
Earlier this year, Activision Blizzard confirmed that merger with Vicarious. As a result, Vicarious will become a studio "fully dedicated to existing Blizzard games and initiatives". Now, it appears that the studio isn't just merging with Blizzard, it's going to lose its name as well.
Vicarious Visions loses its status as an independent studio
According to Polygon, Vicarious employees believed that the studio would remain independent despite the upcoming merge. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. Employees told Polygon that they were advised, out of the blue, that Vicarious would lose its name.
One employee claimed that they were saddened by the name change. However, for the most part, the studio's employees expected this to happen. An employee told Polygon that the "writing was on the wall" already. Most employees still felt "blindsided" though, especially since there wasn't any clear prior communication.
The employees were not made aware as to what name Vicarious will go under following the merger. Some employees told Polygon that Activision Blizzard might rename the studio to Blizzard Albany.
If it's any consolation, all Vicarious employees will retain their jobs following the merger.
It's sad to think that such an iconic studio such as Vicarious Visions will effectively become a supporting studio for Blizzard going forward. Before its acquisition by Activision, Vicarious was known for releasing titles such as 1999's award-winning title, Terminus. Vicarious also developed 1999's Spider-Man. Even after the Activision acquisition, the studio remained some semblance of independence. Now, it's going to be a full-time support studio.
Vicarious isn't the only Activision subsidiary studio that the publishers have relegated to support duty. It will join the likes of Toys for Bob and Beenox. However, of the three, only Vicarious has been absorbed by one of the publisher's bigger studios.