Well, this blows. Nope – no jokes, no exaggerations, no puns. Contain your disbelief if you can. It’s very rare that I’ll open one of these stories with anything other than a good old-fashioned lighthearted jape, wisecrack or some other such frivolity, but that’s only because I can usually see the humour in them. Twisted individual that I am. This one? It just straight-up sucks, absotively posilutely sucks, and it ain’t funny for those involved.
Gaming studio Vicarious Visions has a long and storied history, dating back 30 years; that’s three decades’ worth of creative output that’s about to be tossed down the toilet. Okay, context. You probably know the good folks at VV for their work on the Tony Hawk series, their contributions to the Skylanders franchise (their entries into which, Swap Force and Superchargers, being among the best) and, most recently, their role in reviving a certain crazed marsupial.
Yep, Crash’s N. Sane Trilogy was their handiwork too, and their stellar efforts in bringing the box-bashing bandicoot bang up to date cannot be understated – especially given that its success launched a whole new wave of adventures for Crash and Coco, including an excellent racer and a tough-as-nails fourth outing.
On top of all this, they’ve worked with such globally beloved names as Star Wars, SpongeBob, the Muppets, DreamWorks, Barbie and more. If you played a licensed game in the 2000s and found yourself thinking ‘huh, this is actually somewhat playable for a brand tie-in’ then there’s a good chance Vicarious Visions had something to do with it.
Things took a turn for the substantially less rosy earlier this year, however. Amid the swirling dark clouds of harassment allegations that have dogged Activision-Blizzard for the better part of 2021, several drastic changes were made within their corporate structure. One of these was to reassign VV and Toys For Bob – another Skylanders alumnus who performed a similar re-animation with the Spyro series – onto the perennially popular, and unfathomably repetitive and tiresome, Call of Duty games. This already began to spell doom for the studio, and now, as Kotaku reports, the final blow has been struck.
Vicarious Visions Final Thoughts
Vicarious Visions will soon no longer even be Vicarious Visions. Their name is to be scrubbed wholly in favour of – as many suspect – the more generic, and commercially homogenous, ‘Blizzard Albany’ in line with the rest of the company’s studios. As mentioned, this really, really, really sucks. Putting aside the obvious pain we feel when any brand with ‘Visions’ in it goes kaput, this change will serve to dispel any remaining sense of individuality the devs had been able to hold onto, and by extension, any chance of them disassociating from the now-tarnished Blizzard label.
All of their legacy, all the cherished childhood memories they’ve been responsible for, all their hard work on the Crash series; all scrapped in an effort to bolt all remaining assets onto a rapidly sinking ship. Kotaku appear to agree: “this is a storied, veteran development studio, whose name is well-known and evokes all kind of fond memories. Vicarious aren’t being merged so they can keep doing their own thing, it was so they could be fully dedicated to existing Blizzard games and initiatives.” Well, when you put it like that, it feels even worse. Thanks, lads.
Do you share in the disappointment we’re feeling surrounding this news? Any memories with a VV game that we missed? Let us know!