Back in January, it was announced that Vicarious Visions, the studio famous for its work on the Tony Hawk remakes and a whole library of excellent licensed games, was going to be merging with Blizzard. Now it’s emerged that this corporate move means the developer will be changing its name as well.
As Polygon reports, Vicarious employees “were initially under the impression the merger meant their employer would continue to operate as its own studio,” an understandable assumption seeing as the brand name is so synonymous with so many great games.
But during a town hall meeting on Wednesday morning, staff were informed that as part of the merger the Vicarious Visions name—which has been around since the studio’s establishment 30 years ago—was going to be removed. What it’s being changed to wasn’t disclosed, but since Blizzard names pretty much every studio after the city it’s located in, then Blizzard Albany seems as good as any other guess.
This sucks! This is a storied, veteran development studio, whose name is well-known and evokes all kind of fond memories. It was only last year I wrote a whole thing on their GBA ports, which gave us unique and beloved versions of Jet Set Radio and Tony Hawk Pro Skater that we as a civilization simply did not deserve.
Of course, the change isn’t a surprise. Vicarious aren’t being merged so they can keep doing their own thing, it was with so they could be “fully dedicated to existing Blizzard games and initiatives.” Aligning their name with that task makes perfect corporate sense if you’re someone who works at Activision Blizzard and cares about branding.
Then again, if you work at Activision Blizzard and care about branding, maybe you have more important things to be worrying about right now than erasing the name of a studio that people had loved for 30 years.