Vicarious Visions, the celebrated Activision studio who triumphantly revived Crash Bandicoot in 2017, is no more. The team has now been merged into Blizzard Entertainment where they are rumoured to be working on a Diablo II remake.
As such, you will no longer see the Vicarious Visions name on Activision Blizzard games though the talented team have been absorbed rather than let go, maintaining their headquarters in Albany, New York. Meanwhile, studio head Jen Oneal has been promoted to vice president of development at Blizzard with Simon Ebejer stepping up as the new studio head, according to GameInudstry.biz.
The 200-strong crew that used to make up Vicarious Visions is now “fully dedicated to existing Blizzard games and initiatives”, it was announced though it’s unclear exactly what they are working on.
The persistent rumour is that Blizzard have a Diablo II remake in the pipeline. With Vicarious Visions having nailed two remakes back to back with both Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and last year’s Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2, they appear to be an ideal fit for the project.
Bloomberg reporter, Jason Schreier, reports that this is indeed the case with Blizzard and Vicarious Visions having been previously working together before the merger. According to Schreier, Blizzard’s own Team 1 were originally developing the Diablo II remake (referred to as Diablo II: Resurrected) but were subsequently removed from the project following the release of Wacraft III: Reforged.
Members of Team 1 met to discuss what had gone wrong. Internal Blizzard documents reviewed by Bloomberg pinpointed the game’s failures on poor planning, miscommunication and a rushed release due to financial pressure from management, among other factors. For example, Blizzard announced the game in November 2018 and began taking pre-orders for 2019 without informing most of the development team beforehand, according to several people who worked on Warcraft III: Reforged.
This remake of the popular real-time strategy game was met with middling reviews, picking up a score of 6/10 when we played it at launch. Although one of the best story-driven RTS games out there, Blizzard’s remake felt half-baked. Hopefully, with Vicarious Visions now among their ranks, the Diablo II remake will get the treatment it deserves.